PHOTO: Mischievous marmots watch quail chicks on the move

Published on June 12, 2023 by David Wylie

Two marmots watcch a mother quail lead her many babies in front of their manor made from apple bins.Photo: David Wylie/OJ
How many quail chicks do you count?

It’s been a busy spring for wildlife around here.

I’ve become a little obsessed with the local marmots who take over the tower of apple bins in front of my house every spring and summer. (They get evicted in the fall when orchard workers pull down the bins to pack with apples.)

There’s Big Daddy who throws his weight around when the little ones start fighting a little too aggressively. He regularly chirps a shrill alarm when he senses danger; sometimes up to six or seven of them scurry back from wherever they were—in the orchard, brush, or lawn. Mrs. Mommy Marmot has a watchful eye and makes herself known on top of the crates as lookout. The kids have all grown chubbier this year it seems than last, fattening from furry little balls into waddling wide butts.

It’s fun to watch their antics and interactions with other wildlife.

Here are a few more of my shots so far this spring, usually from the window because they’re a little skittish.