There is a herd of quail living in my back yard. Herd is probably not the correct term. Perhaps a coven? Maybe a gaggle? Either way, they have chosen our back yard/parking lot as their place of residence. Every time I come flying around the corner of the house, like 12 quail-lings go scattering in all directions in a mad panic. They are usually hanging out under the porch awning near the grill, or under a parked car. I am waiting, just waiting for one of them to panic in the wrong direction and run under one of my spinning tires.
I also have a mental image of this one stolid quail, who just doesn't give a damn about anything. When all the rest are scampering off for the bushes, their tiny backwards knees pumping so fast they appear to be spinning, he just stands there. "Run you fools," he thinks. "As for me and my head plume, I dare that spinning tire to smash us into oblivion." And one day it will. Then all the rest of the quails will realize that, rather than being brave, he was probably just retarded.
But I'll know the truth. He was the bravest quail of them all.
Speaking of birds, I once lived in a house infested with pigeons. They would nest in our roof, and veritably wake the dead with their ungodly cooing. Damn necromantic pigeons.
Anyways, my roommates and I grew rather sick of their infernal cooing, and thus began to plot their destruction with an air-pump pellet gun. I am not a big hunter, mind you. I come from hunting loins (actually that may be false, as I am adopted, but he who bought me, raised me, and loved me as his own was/is quite a hunter) yet I have little desire to destroy animals with my own hands. This however, was a different situation. Pigeons, in case you weren't aware, pass toxic feces. Like, really toxic. Full of viruses, disease, and acids. Add in that horrible cooing, and you have the perfect avian villain. So began the great hunt.
They were always there in the morning, dumping on our roof. So out we would sneak, fire a shot, miss, and send them frantically flapping towards the heavens.
They were also always on the roof of the female's house next door. Often right on the crest. They were fair game too, as they likely haunted both roofs. One morning, after being awakened by some particularly acute cooing, I stealthily headed out side and peered at the neighbor's roof top. There perched a pigeon, at the loftiest point. I took aim, and fired. The flying devil burst into a wild frenzy of flapping, and subsequently rolled down on to a balcony. Mad flapping continued, thus causing the pigeon to flop down onto the front porch, were it lay still, in a bleeding, feathery mass. As soon as I hit it, I mostly thought "Shit," because I never truly expected to hit one after so many failed attempts. One minute I'm asleep, and then suddenly there is a bleeding pigeon on the girl's front porch. Shot through the neck, so a rather quick demise.
So I ran into the house, gathered a Wal-Mart bag, and went and picked up the vile thing, really hoping that no girl suddenly walked out to see me fetching a blood drizzling pigeon off of her porch. After that, my blood lust was pretty much satiated and I really had no desire to blast another one. And I moved like a week later. So really I just didn't care about them anymore.
The point of all this; Quail are good. Pigeons are bad. I would feel bad about slaying a quail. Not so much a pigeon.