State symbols are often adopted after a collaborative effort by citizens to have something significant recognized for its importance to the state. States such as California, and many others began to adopt some of their own official state symbols several decades ago, and in some cases, over 100 years ago. A state symbol can come in the form of state animals, birds, flowers, fruits, amphibians, nicknames, state seals, and much more.

Citizens, children, and educational institutions often research a particular symbol that they feel is indicative to the state and make a request for a bill, tracking it all the way through the legislative process with the hope that it is enacted, and a new state symbol is announced for California. Like all other states, there are many California state symbols. The California state bird and flower are the California Quail (Callipepla Californicus) and the California poppy (Eschscholzia Californica).

What is the California State Bird?

The famous California quail has been Califronia’s state bird for a number of years since 1931 to be exact. These beautiful, hardy birds are known for their incredibly impressive adaptability to many different environments and climates.

They are also incredibly plump, and small, and showcase a distinctive black plume that rises from their head. Additionally, they have a black bib with a white stripe that sits under their beak. Be warned, these quails are not scared of anything or anyone and will literally launch themselves into their opponent to start an explosive fight when disturbed or feeling threatened.

California state brid

Typically, you will see these quals socializing in big groups named coveys. These coveys can literally range from a handful of birds to literally 200, then, during the spring they will splinter off into pairs.

The way in which they make their nests is by hollowing out the ground by scratching and digging and then concealing it with foliage. Females will lay between 6 and 28 eggs.

Is the California quail endangered? The answer is no, fortunately, these birds are not endangered and actually are considered “least concern” on their conservation status.

Here are some fun facts about the California quail that you probably didn’t know about:

  • These birds typically live in open woodlands, near streams, and also in parks.
  • Seeds, berries, and flowers tend to make up the majority of their diet, with the addition of snails and insects when they can find them.
  • Bobcats, coyotes, and squirrels are the main predators of the California quail.
  • They are backyard birds, especially in California, so, if you want one in your garden, make sure to sprinkle grain or birdseeds around your yard to attract them.
  • The plume on their head looks like a singular feather, however, it is a combination of 6 feathers altogether.
  • These quails will usually live for 4 years.
  • They can reach speeds of up to 40 miles per hour!

What is the California State Flower?

The California poppy (Eschscholzia Californica) was officially adopted as the state flower in 1903. The flower itself takes up much of the same appearance as a regular poppy but the difference is the color.

Whilst poppies are red in color, typically, the California poppy is yellow/orange/gold, almost the same color as the sun. During the days of the Native Americans, people would use the poppy as a valuable source of food and as a source of oil.

California state flower

Annually on April 6, California hosts its official California Poppy Day and has been doing so since 2010. May 13th through to the 18th is officially Poppy Week. Gold has always been a theme with California’s symbols, and the theme continues to run with this one.

Typically, California poppy blossoms are 2 to 3 inches in size. The plants they grow on have silver/green-colored foliage and grow to around a foot tall. You can see these flowers residing in California during the months of February and September.

Here are some fun facts about the California poppy that you may not know about:

  • The plant has leaves similar to ferns, with single flowers on a longer stalk.
  • They typically bloom in open, grassy, or sandy areas.
  • Golden California poppies are found in southern California, southern Washington, and east Texas.
  • The native Americans have been using California poppies as a source of food and oil for cooking for hundreds of years.

Most states will have their symbols showcase a relevant story, that is indicative of the state and its history, and the Golden State puts its history and what it stands for across very well in its state bird and flower.