Friday, January 4, 2013

Birds at Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Birdiing is a big part of my trip and I was excited to see some new birds just within the Museum as well as the ones in the enclosures.  But of course I only added the free flying birds to my list.  The first was the Gilded Flicker and Gila Woodpecker I had seen the day before. Below is the Gila Woodpecker.

Cactus Wrens were abundant and full of antics and turf squables. I saw several of them carrying nesting material. I noticed that they walk like crows instead of hopping like smaller wrens.

I was excited to find a Verdin in the campground and thus adding a new life bird to my list. I spotted a Northern Mocking bird in with the wolves but because it was so out of context for me I didn't know what it was at first. 

One of my favorites for this region is this Curved-billed Thrasher. I think this one has stopped to read the sign.

Black-throated and White Crowned Sparrows were the most abundant.

I found Phainopepla just as I left the museum but it was so back lite it was hard to see. The next morning there was a whole flock of them in the campground. They make me think they are punk rock Cardinals with their spiky black head feathers.

In the Avairy I found a pair of Pyrrhuloxia. The docent said that they were common in her yard but they also interbreed with Northern Cardinal so it is hard to find a pure species.

This pair of Inca Doves were so precious. When I first observed them the one on the left was preening the other one with great care.

White-winged Doves are also found in this part of Arizona.

I didn't expect to see ducks but here is a group of three Black-billed Whistling Ducks.

In other parts of the grounds I found two owls in their own enclosures. The first was a Burrowing Owl

The second one is an Elf Owl is the smallest owl and common in deserts. They the size of sparrows. This one looks reddish because it was in an enclosure with red lights.

There was a special house for Humming Birds and that was one of my favorite places to visit.  Right off the bat this little one came so close to my red camera I almost couldn't take a photo.

I did have a bit of trouble getting photos of them in the light so that the brilliant colors would show. Most of them looked like this Costa's Hummingbird.

But occasionally I would manage to snap a photo in the full light like this Costa's below.

One of the docets was showing us this humming bird nest. They remove the real eggs from the nest and incubate them and release them in the wild. The egg is then replaced with a fake egg so the female doesn't keep laying eggs. They have to remove them so the Humming Bird House doesn't become overpopulated.

Then there was the Birds of Prey show they have twice a day.  Here is  photo one of the Harris Hawks that is part of that show. They release these birds and let them fly and hunt on their own but they are so well trained that they return when called.

It was a very good day for birding and I wished I had more time but I still wanted to go to Kitt Peak Observatory and Biosphere 2 before I left Tucson.

Camera Critters


Lavender Cottage said...

Very informative post. I had no idea that northern cardinals would mate with another bird. My favourite is the little elf owl.
Thanks for sharing.


I really really enjoyed viewing your photos. Especially the Cactus Wren. They were so much entertainment when we lived in Tucson for a decade. Now, we don't see them, and I miss their company.

If you'd like, consider adding your link to my birding meme "The Bird D'Pot". You'll find the connecting hyperlink on my sidebar "I'd Rather B Birdin"

Have a great weekend.

Pat said...

Great shots of these desert birds!

eileeninmd said...

Great post and awesome birds. Thanks for sharing. Have a happy weekend!

Anni said...

Your link worked!!! Yay.
It's wonderful that you shared so many beautiful birds, and I really look forward to more while you're on your bird adventure!!

Thanks for linking up at the Bird D'Pot this weekend. Your contributions are always appreciated.

Gary said...

Great close ups!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Genie Robinson said...

So many fine pictures and so much interesting information. That museum must be one spectacular place to visit. genie

Potomac Valley Nature Writing Group Reading List said...

Rockin' portfolio of bird portraits!
Love the burrowing owl and the doves.