Birds of the Sonoran Desert

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Goose55
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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:36 pm

Del, you're hi-jacking my thread. PM Dave if you have a discussion.
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Tue Sep 29, 2020 3:13 pm

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White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows are among the most common of Sonoran Desert birds during the winter months, October through March. However, during the summer they are completely absent because they return to their breeding grounds in northern United States and Canada. The pinkish bill and sharply marked crown are distinctive.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Sat Oct 03, 2020 4:20 pm

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Brewer's Sparrow

Brewer's Sparrows arrive in the Sonoran Desert by late September and can be found through the winter months into spring. By May they are returning to the semi-arid habitats of the Inter-mountain West favoring sagebrush and open juniper woodlands.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Mon Oct 05, 2020 3:55 pm

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Savannah Sparrow

These are small sparrows; noticeably smaller than house finches. Savannah Sparrows inhabit open areas across North America, but are absent during the warm summer months in the Sonoran Desert. With the arrival of wintry weather they migrate south and many spend the winter in the warmer deserts of Arizona. Savannah Sparrows will be found in the deserts only in years with abundant winter rains.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:29 pm

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Chipping Sparrow

Chipping sparrows usually do not make their way to Arizona's Sonoran Desert until nearly the winter solstice. In summer they are characteristic birds across much of North America, including the higher terrain of northern and eastern Arizona, where they tend to occur in open areas at the boundary of wooded areas.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Sun Oct 11, 2020 11:35 am

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Lark Sparrow

Relatively large sparrow with boldly marked face, black stick-pin on clear chest/belly, and long tail. Winter resident of the Sonoran Desert.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:37 am

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Rufous-winged Sparrow

Rufous-winged Sparrows inhabit the grassy open areas between shrubs and trees in the mesquite basques. The rufous patch in the wing can be concealed, so look also for the rufous crown, the pale gray chest and belly, and the pair of black whisker marks. Fairly common in the right habitat from Tucson and south into Mexico.

A good supply of insects are required for breeding and this food supply arrives with the onset of monsoon summer rains. After the breeding season seeds become the primary food.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:51 pm

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Lucy's Warbler in a Sonoran Desert Mesquite tree

When mesquite trees, palo verdes and willows are adding a flush of new leaves in the spring, there is an abundance of insect prey and Lucy's Warbler's arrival from the Neotropics coincides. Mesquite Bosque and edges of riparian habitat in the Sonoran Desert are the preferred habitats. Come autumn these insect-dependent warblers migrate way south to the Neotropics and return to the Sonoran Desert around April each year. Quite an amazing feat for an animal that weighs between two and three USA dimes

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Fri Oct 23, 2020 7:22 pm

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Loggerhead Shrike

A smartly gray and white bird with a distinct black mask through the eyes. The bill is heavy with a hook at the tip. These are predatory song birds fond of large insects like grasshoppers and occasionally small mammals. From a prominent perch they sally down to the ground to capture prey. Male shrikes will display their captured prey on thorns of barbed wire - presumably to demonstrate the quality of the territory they're defending and how adept they are at providing for a potential family.

Loggerhead Shrikes are more numerous in the Sonoran Desert during the winter after the arrival of migrating northern birds.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by daveinlax » Fri Oct 23, 2020 8:07 pm

Great Shots! It’s really cold here and I’m looking forward to getting back to SoAz in a couple of weeks. :pipe:

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Sun Nov 01, 2020 4:49 am

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Ladder-Backed Woodpecker

Most woodpeckers have their four toes arranged in an X-pattern, with two set forward, the other two backward (technically known as "zygodactyl"). This adaptation allows them to cling to vertical surfaces more easily or firmly than the passerines (perching birds), which have three toes set forward and one backward.

Year round habitation of the Ladder-Backed Woodpecker
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I found this video of a male Ladder-Backed somewhere here in S. AZ. A male Ladder-Backed regularly visits the water bowl just outside my Arizona Room here in Ajo....
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Fri Nov 06, 2020 10:13 am

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Western Scrub Jay

In the higher elevations of the Sonoran Desert with elements of Piñon/Juniper or Chaparral mixed in, Western Scrub Jay is fairly common. In some winters when food becomes scarce (particularily acorns) Western Scrub Jays will move down into desert areas in search of food.

Scrub Jays lack the head crest that distinguishes Stellar's Jay (extremely rare in winter in desert). The back and head appear azure blue with intensity dependent on the angle of incident light. There is a faint necklace usually visible between the light gray throat and chest. A light eyebrow stripe is present.

Western Scrub Jay Close-Up Nest Activity
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Tue Nov 10, 2020 7:38 pm

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Western Meadowlark

In the Sonoran Desert meadowlarks are most likely to be encountered in agricultural fields during the winter months. They also use open marshy areas adjacent to the major rivers or cienegas. It would seem reasonable that meadowlarks observed in the Sonoran Desert would be Western Meadowlark as opposed to the Eastern Meadowlark. A few Eastern Meadowlarks do winter in the southwestern United States and because these two species look nearly identical it is often best to ID them simply as meadowlarks.

Once they sing, however, the beautiful, melodious Western Meadowlark distinguishes itself (The eastern meadowlark's song is a pleasant bubbly sound). Notice the black 'V' across the bright yellow chest. In flight the white outer tail feathers are conspicuous. Meadowlarks feed on insects and left over grain in farm fields.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Thu Nov 12, 2020 1:57 pm

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Lesser Nighthawk

Lesser Nighthawks are common birds in the Sonoran Desert but are infrequently seen except by people out and about in the evening or early dawn. Look for them especially above gardens, canals, golf courses, and lighted areas where they deftly swoop and dive to catch night-flying insects. The long pointed wings have a white band out near the tip of the wing and the birds also have a long tail that aids their acrobatic maneuvers.

By day these birds rest and sleep in the shade. Their plumage is of mottled earthen tones that allow them to hide in plain site by remaining motionless. Their resting spots are typically on the ground

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Sun Nov 15, 2020 3:29 pm

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Male & Female Phainopepla

The Phainopepla or northern Phainopepla is the most northerly representative of the mainly tropical Central American family Ptiliogonatidae, the silky flycatchers. Its name is from the Greek phain pepla meaning "shining robe" in reference to the male's plumage. These birds are regularly seen in the Sonoran Desert, particularly in the Spring & Fall when they make their northern and southern migrations.

Here are some in nearby Saguaro National Park....
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by DepartedLight » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:16 am

I dig this thread. Keep 'em coming, goose.
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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:24 am

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Turkey Vulture

These large soaring birds have a characteristic dihedral wing pattern easily noticed from afar. From below in good light the plumage appears two-toned, black and gray-brown. The head is without feathers and conspicuously red in adults. Unlike most birds, turkey vultures have an excellent sense of smell and can detect carrion from a considerable distance. In the Sonoran Desert, they are very rare north of the Gila River during the winter months. During the rest of the year they are very common especially soaring above range lands and along highways. Road-kill has become an important food source.

They can smell rotting meat up to 8 miles away and 1000 ft in elevation....

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by hugodrax » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:46 am

:wink:
DepartedLight wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:16 am
I dig this thread. Keep 'em coming, goose.
Plus one.
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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:50 am

hugodrax wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:46 am
:wink:
DepartedLight wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:16 am
I dig this thread. Keep 'em coming, goose.
Plus one.
Glad it's become a favorite. But, I'll soon be running out of birds.
"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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Re: Birds of the Sonoran Desert

Post by Goose55 » Sat Nov 28, 2020 11:03 am

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Common Raven (Corvus corax)

Ravens are smart - really smart - and thus highly adaptable. In fact, when you cross a raven, the bird will hold a grudge. In the Sonoran Desert of Arizona they are a frequent sight all year above 1000 m elevation soaring conspicuously and calling loudly. They range into the lower deserts when food is scarce in the high country, visiting especially orchards and low mountains. They vary their diet with what is available. Road kill is a frequent food source as are freshly mowed hayfields and even pecans and fruit. Picnic tables and garbage dumps, too.

Ravens disappeared from much of the east and mid-west before 1900. But West Nile Virus has hit these birds pretty hard; hopefully they will recover to their former numbers.

"At present we're on the wrong side of the door. But all the pages of the New Testament are rustling with the rumor that it will not always be so." ~ C.S. Lewis

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