Food for Quail
Someone recently contacted the nursery where I work interested in buying plants that will improve her habitat for quail. This is what I came up with for her:
I am assuming you are referring to California Quail.
Habitat in general is the most important thing to consider. Quail eat tender leaves in late winter and spring, but rely mostly on seeds. They will also eat insects such as ants, beetles, grasshoppers & crickets. I always recommend that people who want to create habitat for wildlife should not be neatniks, because many of the plants that wildlife depend upon are considered weeds by people. And of course, as you mentioned in your email, they need shrubs for protection (cover) and access to water, too.
I am attaching scanned pages from American Wild life & Plants, A Guide to Wildlife Food Habits, by Alexander C. Martin, Et.al. (1951) (It is a Dover Publication published by agreement of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, so is not under copyright.) It lists weeds that you may want to encourage in your yard.
In addition, food plants that we have at the nursery would include:
Deerbrush, Ceanothus velutinus
Redstem Ceanothus, Ceanothus sanguineus
Pacific Mock Orange, Philadelphus lewisii
Coast Silktassel, Garrya elliptica
Nootka Rose, Peafruit Rose, Baldhip Rose, Rosa sp.
Salmonberry, Thimbleberry, Blackcap Raspberry, Dewberry, Rubus sp.
Redtwig Dogwood, Cornus sericea
Soapberry or Buffaloberry, Shepherdia Canadensis
Twinberry, Lonicera involucrata
Coast Strawberry, Wild Strawberry, Wood Strawberry, Fragaria Sp.