The Gray Partridge

By Dave Hanks

Of European origin, this Hungarian import
    Its plump, gray body trimmed in rusty-red 
        Rusty face and tan wings
            But especially the tail
                Those rusty tail feathers, unmistakable as they fly away

So hard to find
    And so wary and difficult to observe
        A scratchy low squeak 
            May be heard
                As they sneak along in the grass

Wheat stubble, so natural to this bird 
    That feeds on grain seeds that litter the ground
        Especially in those flat fields
             Bordered by bushes

A prolific egg-layer of twenty or more
    The most of any bird
        Laid in a well concealed nest 
            Upon the ground
                And often shared by two 

This highly social one
    Unites in coveys
        And “flushes” 
            As a group

How often I have sought
    This elusive animal
        Only to view their back end
            As they flee away

(Perdix perdix)