Friends of the Quail

Two sharp-eyed passers-by saved a passel of baby quail that fell into a storm drain on June 11.

Merilee Farrell of White Salmon was on her way to Dr. Mark Crompton’s dental office at Sixth and Sherman streets when she heard loud chirping from the street. She went to the edge of the street where she saw a quail family in trouble. She quickly realized that mother and father quail were crying out for their chicks — the plum-sized fluff balls had fallen through the metal storm drain grate, into the catch basin below.

“Over half of the chicks fell in. I think the parents were herding the chicks up the road, not realizing the babies were smaller than the grate holes, and they started falling in,” Farrell said.

“As soon as the mama realized it, she shooed them back, but too late for many of them. She was crying and hovering and circling the grate when I saw her.

“As I watched, two or three more fell in, and that’s when she called City Public Works,” who did respond a few minutes later, said Farrell. She also called the Hood River News.

Farrell flagged down Katherine Sears, who was riding by on her bike, and they were able to raise the grate and save the chicks.

They leaned down into the storm drain to check for extra chicks. The birds they rescued had fallen about 18 inches onto soft material.

Farrell and Sears moved around the street, dragging their feet as several chicks tried to run to the far side. But once the birds met up with a shoe, they tended to sit still, or flit back to the nearest curb. Sears and Farrell then gently picked each one up and placed it under nearby juniper, and the birds disappeared, their parents’ loud chirps beckoning from the green shelter.

“A truck from City Works came after everyone left, and as I was exiting the dentist office, I let him know they were okay,” Farrell said.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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