A Colorful Yard

Anna’s Hummingbird, male

Some people think the desert is brown and boring and our birds are brown and colorless. It’s just not true! Here are pics from our yard in the last few days…

Tiny Birds of Yellow

Above are a Pine Siskin, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Verdin, Lesser Goldfinch female, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Lesser Goldfinch male, and Orange-crowned Warbler. They are all only 4-4.5 inches long.

Rosy-faced Lovebirds (the young ones have black on their bills and less vivid coloring on their faces)

White-crowned Sparrow

Honeybee on Sage and Lavender

Mr. White, an unusually marked House Finch

My sweet little Orange-crowned Warbler, “Tink”

Yellow-rumped Warbler, female

Inca Doves (there were over 22 in the yard that day)

And guess what? We had snow in Phoenix on January 25! We’ve seen it in the mountains around town and a light dusting now and then but nothing like this storm!

So the desert is not all brown…and we haven’t even started spring yet when everything here bursts into color!

Stay-at-Home

Our governor extended our stay-at-home order until May 15, at least, which is fine with me. I’m of the mind that we need to keep doing this to prevent more illness and deaths. However, I know others disagree and want to get back into the world, even though it’s not going to be the same. So I’m not really communicating with those types…

Someone lost their little nest. It looks too clean to have been used. I’m thinking it might have belonged to a Lesser Goldfinch. It’s one of the prettiest nests I’ve ever found. Poor birdies…all that work.

Boring as things are, for the most part, I’m glad to have my yard to take some photos in but it’s at least 100º everyday so the amount of time I spend out there is dwindling.

Excited that a few Black-chinned Hummingbirds have returned to the yard for the summer and will occasionally let me photograph their purple collars:

And, of course, there are several Anna’s Hummingbirds around:

Verdins can tough the heat out very well as they are birds of the desert:

And here are a few more residents:

Abert’s Towhee with a mouthful for nestlings

Northern Mockingbirds, top one has a mulberry

Rosy-faced Lovebird
Baby House Finch

Stay home, stay safe…like Ferguson and Svengali.

Social Distancing

My outdoor office

So here we all are, self-isolating, quarantining, social distancing. Here are a few of my backyard friends keeping me company.

Queen, Giant Swallowtail, Painted Lady, Fiery Skipper, Bee

Ferguson
Northern Mockingbird, displaying
Yellow House Finch, unusual coloring
Verdin
Abert’s Towhee
Orange-crowned Warbler
Curve-billed Thrasher
Gila Woodpecker

Anna’s Hummingbird, female

Baby House Finch
Rosy-faced Lovebird

And that’s about all I do. I also watch a lot of news and Tony and I have been watching “Parks and Recreation,” which we missed the first time around…about the only laughs we get now. I had a virtual Happy Hour with 2 of my friends the other night so that was fun. What are you up to? I hope you are all listening to Dr. Fauci and other experts and keeping safe.

Yard Overview

Drama Bee

Bee. 6.1Leafcutter Bee

Skipper HeadonFiery Skipper

Mud DauberWasp

Twinsie BeesHoney Bee Twins

The bees like the birdbath, everyone likes the lantana. Just wish there were more butterflies around this year.

ROFL 5 5.9

ROFL 5.9_edited-1Rosy-faced Lovebirds, occasional visitors

GIWO 6.1Gila Woodpecker

Thrasher ScratcherCurve-billed Thrasher Scratcher

Baby Verdin in Orange 2

Verdin in TreeJuvenile Verdin

There are a couple of juvenile Verdins who are happily feeding themselves but now there appears to be an even younger fledgling Verdin who still needs to be fed by a parent. This is it flapping its wings and begging for food:

Verdin Baby

And it got fed, again and again…

Verdins A and J Orange 1

And here’s an interesting little family of Abert’s Towhees:

Towhee with Nut 5.27.19

Towhee Parent

Here is one of the adults feeding a juvenile Towhee:

Towhee Bio Baby

And here is the same adult feeding its foster baby, a Brown-headed Cowbird!

Towhee Foster Baby

The Brown-headed Cowbird is North America’s most common “brood parasite.” A female cowbird makes no nest of her own, but instead lays her eggs in the nests of other bird species, who then raise the young cowbirds (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). They evolved this way because centuries ago this bird followed bison herds on the Great Plains, feeding on insects flushed from the grass by the grazers, and so did not have time to nest the normal way. Some people hate them and think they are “evil,” because heavy parasitism by cowbirds has pushed some species to the status of “endangered” and has probably hurt populations of some others (Audubon). I think it’s pretty interesting behavior.

BRHC JuvyBrown-headed Cowbird, juvenile

Anna's Closeup

Anna's 5.27.19Anna’s Hummingbird, male

Transitions

Towhee-Bath 2Abert’s Towhees have a very limited range, mostly in Arizona. They’re shy birds but this one wanted a bath so badly that he hopped right in~with me sitting very closeby.

Swallowtail 4.27Greater Swallowtail

Checkered White 5.3

Checkered White 3 5.3Checkered White

I guess this is sort of more of the same from my last post. Late spring/early summer happenings in our yard.

Mock in Pine Needles

Baby Mock 4.29Northern Mockingbird, adult and juvenile

Anna's Young Male 5.4

Anna's 4.29_edited-1

Anna's 2 4.29_edited-1

Anna's Feeder 4.6Anna’s Hummingbirds

Bee Reflection TopazHoneybee (in the birdbath)

BCHU at Feeder 5.4

BCHU Brakes_edited-1Black-chinned Hummingbirds

Verdin 5.4

Verdin Nest Making_edited-1Verdins (last one with nesting material)

We have a reprieve from the 100 degree days for the next couple of weeks, at least. Time to hit the road again…