One summer whilst vacationing in Maui, I noticed a mother quail leading a half-dozen baby quail across the back yard of our condo. Suddenly, the neighbor's cat (named "Neko," which is kind of a cool name for a cat if you speak Japanese) appeared. Almost instantly, each of the baby quail ran to a shrub and stuck their heads in. Meanwhile, the mother quail created a nice distraction for Neko to divert his attention from the poorly-hidden chicks.
Eventually, Neko got bored and wandered off, at which time the mother quail called the chicks out and it was back to business as usual. Such a unique approach to danger was not lost on me (baby quail are really cute, and that wasn't lost on me either).
Most everybody would write this off as instinct. They would say the mother quail is programmed by "Mother Nature" to protect her chicks, so that the species will survive. This may be true. But every time I think back, all I see is a mother putting herself in danger so that her children would be safe. The fact that she happens to be a bird doesn't make it any less remarkable to me.
I am thankful I'm not a turkey today.
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