This is a male Gambel’s quail. Specifically it is the lookout. A covey of quail will often post a sentry. One of the birds will be posted on top of a shrub or brush pile so that it can see danger coming and warn the others.
When I saw this bird perching on top of the scrub, I took several pictures of it, and then decided I wanted to find the covey. After all it is the time of year they have chicks with them, and a line of babies would make a great picture.
I stepped out of the car without spooking the bird, then I used my camera to scan every likely hiding place. I continued scanning until I decided I could give up. It would be just as easy to walk towards the sentry. It would call out an alarm, and then join the others for a mad dash out of harm’s way.
My plan worked to a point—a point followed by failure. The reason my plan did not succeed was because I had made a faulty assumption. The vast majority of quail are in coveys, but there are always a few unpaired birds.
This particular bird when it did fly down and take off running, crossed a golf course where I could see with great certainty that it was alone. There would be no pictures of chicks, because there were no chicks. It was a false assumption.
Believers also commonly make false assumptions. We tend to think the people around us are already Christians. But some of them are not. The last thing we want is to have people we thought we would see in heaven never show up. The bad part will be realizing we had missed many chances to talk to them about it.
“Your speech should always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person.” Colossians 4:6 (HCSB)