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Gambel's Nesting Biology Reminder:
Nesting Biology Reminder:
The beginning of the monogamous reproductive year is announced by male "caw" calls. The ovulation and reproductive cycle is started in spring with a diet of greens and succulent vegetation high in Vitamin A -- especially Filaree and Indian Wheat. Hens will lay approximately one egg a day and then begin incubation after the last egg is in the nest. Youngsters hatch 21-23 days later. The usual clutch is 10-12 eggs. Nests in dry years may contain 5 or fewer and as many as 20 have been recorded. However, nests with more than 15 are usually the result of more than one hen -- called "dump nests." The Peak of the hatch is usually late April or May but can be as late as Sept. If a nest is lost or destroyed, hens have been known to re-nest, but late "second hatches" by the same hen are rare and are of minor importance. The male has a strong parental interest. Should something befall the hen, he will incubate the eggs and adopt the orphaned chicks. Food , for the first few days of a chick's life, is entirely animal matter: beetles, small worms, caterpillars, and grasshoppers. David E. Brown, "Arizona Game Birds", 1989.