California's State Bird at Richardson Grove State Park
Our recent journey took us across a wide swath of the Pacific Northwest, our desperate (and successful) effort to find cooler places. One of our first stops was beautiful Richardson Grove State Park on Highway 101 on the South Fork of the Eel River. It was a rest stop on a long drive so we didn't have much chance of sighting birds, but we did come across a rather beautiful California Quail (Callipepla californica) at the edge of the forest.
I have wondered at times why the California Quail was selected as our state bird. Yes, California is in the name of the bird, but they are found all the way from Baja California to British Columbia. I would have picked the California Condor, although the fate of the bird was still in question. Even today it is functionally extinct in the wild (there are several hundred that were bred in captivity, but they haven't developed a sustainable population in the wild yet). They could have picked our endemic, the Yellow-billed Magpie. What do you think?