Pandemic Pandemonium

Black-chinned Hummingbirds, male and female

Anna’s Hummingbird, male

Cicada Exoskeleton

Lesser Goldfinches, female and male

Verdin, immature

Curve-billed Thrasher
Rosy-faced Lovebird
House Finch, female

Yes, it’s boring and hot here during the quarantine. Tonight we’re going out to try to get some shots of Comet NEOWISE. I already made the above attempt. Pretty impressive, huh? Next to come will be the monsoons.

Hope you are staying safe and finding a little excitement in your lives.

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.

Twenty Twenty!

Female and Male Anna’s Hummingbirds

Here are a few yardbirds that have shown up in 2020. I think this little guy was here last winter. You often don’t see the red crowns on the males unless they are excited…I guess he got excited.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

My favorite wintering bird for her 4th-5th year, Tink, is getting more willing to pose for me:

Orange-crowned Warbler

Gila Woodpecker, female
American Kestrel, male
Inca Dove
Northern Mockingbird

Lesser Goldfinches, female and male

We recently took a walk around nearby Granada Park, not a great photography day:

Above are a cairn, Rosy-faced Lovebirds, a Ring-necked Duck, and a mountain rescue we observed on nearby Piestewa Peak.

Wishing you a happy 2020!

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

Great Backyard Bird Count 2019

Merlin 2 smaller

MerlinMerlin

On Valentine’s Day, I saw a new lifer and it was in my yard! A Merlin, I was totally shocked to see it there and sad, when I looked at the photos, to see it was dining on an Anna’s Hummingbird, no doubt one I have been feeding. I have photos but I know most people don’t want to see things like that. Neither did I, even though I know that’s nature, raptors have to eat, and if you feed birds in your yard, there’s a chance you’ll attract their predators, too. Still, a hummingbird…

This year’s Great Backyard Bird Count was held from February 15-18, sponsored by National Audubon Society and Cornell Lab of Ornithology. My birder friend, Karen, and I were going to go out that Saturday but she was sick so that didn’t happen. It was a gloomy weekend and, finally, on Monday, I wanted to have something to report on eBird.org so I sat in the yard for awhile. Here are some of the birds I saw. Most photos were taken on that day.

YRWA 2 2.1

YRWA M 2.18

YRWA SidelitYellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, male

He has been in my yard for the last several weeks but on the day of the count, a female of his species also showed up, just to get counted! I have seen her a couple times since then, too, very cute.

YRWA F 2.18

YRWA F 2 2.18Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s, female

LEGO 2.2Lesser Goldfinch, male

GIWO M 2.18

GIWO F 2.18Gila Woodpeckers, male and female

Towhee 2 2.18Abert’s Towhee

Verdin 2 2.18

Verdin 2.18Verdins

My favorite little bird wanted to be counted, for sure:

OCWA 2.2

OCWA 2 2.18

OCWA 1 2.18Orange-crowned Warbler

And my rare bird for this area is still hanging around:

BBHU 3 2.18

BBHU 3 2.8

BBHU 2 2.18_edited-1

BBHU 2 2.8

BBHU 1 2.18Broad-billed Hummingbird, female

Anna's 2.6

Anna's 2.5Anna’s Hummingbirds, male

And an occasional visitor to our yard also showed up to be counted that day, 2 of them, in fact:

ROFL 2.18Rosy-faced Lovebird (along with Eurasian Collared-Doves)

Altogether, I saw 16 species in the yard that day in about an hour and a half.