Winter’s Over Here

Even though some of you may be buried in snow, winter has definitely left Phoenix: it’s been in the 90s. That is unseasonably warm and most of us hope it cools off again before it’s supposed to be that hot. But before winter is officially over, I wanted to post some of the birds that wintered in our yard.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Without a doubt I enjoyed this little guy, above (“Yellow Bird”), the most. He was here last winter, too, and I hope he comes back next year. It’s a drag getting attached to a wild animal, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again. The above photo was taken a couple days ago and I haven’t seen him since so maybe he has begun migration. Safe travels, little dude.

Yellow-rumped Warbler, Audubon’s

This warbler, above, was the first time I’ve seen this species in our yard. It and the Orange-crowned Warbler were chasing each other around the mesquite tree the other day.

White-crowned Sparrow

I only saw this bird, above, for one day. Last year we had several come in the spring when our mulberry trees got berries…that will happen in the next couple of weeks so maybe they will be back. Hoping for some other berry-eaters, too.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Rosy-faced Lovebirds

House Finches, male and female

Anna’s Hummingbirds, male and female

Gila Woodpecker, male

Northern Mockingbird

House Sparrow, female

Verdins

Curve-billed Thrasher

Migration will be in full swing soon so I hope to see some new and exciting birds.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So This Happened…

Mulb 1

…It was a lonely early spring evening, maybe a year ago, maybe more. The delicious mulberries were slightly fermented…it was hard to stop eating them…

Thrash Perch 4.2.16Curve-billed Thrasher

Mock 7.22.15Northern Mockingbird

“Hey, we’re both in the Mimidae family, why would it be wrong?”

Mock x Thrasher 1Mockingbird x Thrasher Hybrid?

Here’s the facts:

  1. Mulberries do ferment and birds can get “drunk.”
  2. Mockingbirds and Thrashers are in the same family of birds and, if they live in close proximity, they can mate but it’s quite rare.
  3. We have mulberries, mockingbirds, and thrashers in our yard.

Did it happen?

Mock x Thrasher 2

Mock x Thrasher 3

Probably not. The expert birders in my Facebook group all agree that this is a Northern Mockingbird with a bill deformity. Sad, but it is busily building a nest with another mockingbird so it must have adapted. It certainly threw me for a loop when I first started seeing this bird, though.

In other less R-rated news in my yard…I hit yard bird species #26 with this bird:

WC Sparrow 3.27.16White-crowned Sparrow

WCSP 4.13.16

There were at least 4 of them here for 2-3 weeks but they don’t summer in Phoenix and I think they moved on a few days ago. I saw one lagging behind but it’s gone now, too.

WCSP Mulberry

Speaking of mulberries, they loved them. I don’t know if it led to any R or X-rated behavior, though.

WCSP

And then yard bird species #27 stopped by:

CowbirdBrown-headed Cowbird, female

Cowbirds are parasitic nesters. “Females forgo building nests and instead put all their energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen a summer. These they lay in the nests of other birds, abandoning their young to foster parents, usually at the expense of at least some of the host’s own chicks” (Cornell Lab of Ornithology). Looks like she’s looking for nests…

I’m almost sure I saw another bird in my yard that would have been a Lifer but I didn’t get a photo and I saw it for only a few seconds. It was a Plumbeous Vireo. I spent hours sitting in my yard waiting for it to reappear but it never did.

Oh, and the little Black-chinned Hummingbird that I mentioned a few posts back is still here. This tiny guy is speedy but I finally was able to capture a glimpse of his purple collar:

BCHU #.26.16

BCHU Purp Show

See? It’s barely visible, above.

Bird Patio, Part 2

Roadrunner

Roadrunner 4

Roadrunner 3

Roadrunner 2Greater Roadrunner

Everyone is on guard when this guy enters Samantha’s yard because, yup, he will eat them if he must. He’s fascinating to watch. Here are more birds I saw in Samantha’s yard a couple of weeks ago. See my last post for more.

Quail F 2

Quail F 3

Quail FGambel’s Quail, female

Quail MGambel’s Quail, male

Thrasher 1

Thrasher 2

Thrasher 3

Thrasher Eat NutCurve-billed Thrasher

WC Sparrow

WC Sparrow Eating

WC Sparrow 2White-crowned Sparrow

White-Crowned SparrowWhite-crowned Sparrow, immature

GoldfinchLesser Goldfinch, House Finch

I wish I had paid more attention to the Goldfinches because I’ve never gotten a very good shot of one and seldom see them.

Birds aren’t the only ones who receive preferential treatment at the Bird Patio. There are all sorts of critters around. We saw a coyote pass by, too.

SquirrelHarris’s Antelope Squirrel

I have many more shots of Samantha’s patio birds but I think I have covered most of the birds I saw in these 2 posts. Some of the others might pop up here and there in the future…all in all, a great birding day for me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Birds of Color

DSC_0650_edited-2

DSC_0597

DSC_0598

American Kestrel, male

DSC_0668

DSC_0667_edited-1

Ladder-Backed Woodpecker, male

DSC_0680

Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted, male

Flicker 1

Gilded Flicker or Northern Flicker, Red-Shafted, male

DSC_0757

Gilded Flicker, female

DSC_0751

Gila Woodpecker

Lovebirds 2  Lovebird 3

Rosy-Faced Lovebirds

Lovebird Nibble

Rosy-Faced Lovebird, juvenile

Pigeon_edited-1

Rock Pigeon

White-Crowned Sparrow

White-Crowned Sparrow

DSC_0006

Anna’s Hummingbird, female

DSC_0715

DSC_0720

DSC_9989

Verdin

DSC_0686

House Finches, female and male

DSC_0746

European Starling

*Note to birds: When posing for photos, please make sure there are no branches, leaves, cactus needles, string, or other obtrusive objects between you and the camera. Thank you.