Birds of the Desert
So many different types of birds call the desert their home. I enjoy watching and photographing them...
I relocated to the Arizona desert in 2013 in an area that some might describe as the middle of nowhere, but Las Vegas, Nevada is only an hour drive. When I'm sitting on my deck at the back of the house, I feel that I am in the middle of nowhere and I love it.
I can see Joshua trees, cactus and mountains for miles, clear and unobstructed. The best part is when the animals come around and the birds, so many birds! It's a joy to watch them all.
I've tried to capture photos of all the wildlife and this article is a composition of the birds in the desert.
A beautiful sounding songbird, the White-Crowned Sparrow lives year-round in this part of the country and can be seen hopping along the ground seeking safety in low bushes and shrubs.
This was a rare opportunity to see a Black-Throated Sparrow, they've been here for about a week. A small bird with gray and brown upper body, white under body a black bib, white tipped tailfeathers and a white stripe above and below their eyes. They like to spend winters in the Southwest and Mexico.
Birds Who Steal Things!
Cactus Wren and House Finch - Both Caught in the Act
Here is a Cactus Wren caught in the act of stealing cat food probably for building a nest. He flew away with the food in his beak then returned for more.
I know it's impossible to identify from this picture, but this is a female House Finch. She is destroying the window screen on my house by shredding it and probably using it to build a nest somewhere. As if there aren't enough twigs and branches in the desert for her to gather. The arrow is pointing to shredded screen clenched in her beak. My screen is ruined!
Finch Shredding Screen
The Quail Family
Dan, Marilyn, Tucker, Ben and Corinne
The Quail Family
Rarely in flight the Gambel's Quail walk or run to their destination. When they do fly it's very short distances with their wings flapping furiously. The male quail's face is black as seen here, the female is light gray. The male has an orange band on his head and a large black spot on his underbelly, the female does not have that coloration. Both male and female have a crest protruding from their head. They always travel in pairs, male and female, with the same partner for life. Sometimes I'll see one running around in circles making a lot of noise until their mate joins them.
They Can Run But They Don't Fly...Much
Gambel's Quail - Male
Great Horned Owl
Of all the birds that I've seen in the desert, the Great Horned Owl is my favorite in sheer beauty. I was able to capture photos of an adult and a baby in a nest. These pictures were taken in the daytime, I always thought that owls only came out at night.
Baby Owl in Nest
More About The Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl
Reusable Shopping Bag
Delicate in Flight
Usually the Mourning Doves line up on the telephone wires making a coo-cooing sound while waiting for me to put out their birdseed. When they are in flight their wings and tailfeathers appear to be scalloped. It's a pretty sight.
Meet the Finches
A member of the Finch family, Black-Headed Grosbeak sightings are rare in the desert. Their bright yellow underbelly makes them easy to spot. Although they dine on birdseed and bugs, they are one of few types of bird that can safely eat the poisonous Monarch Butterfly. For that reason, the Black-Headed Grosbeak flies to Mexico in the winter where they find an abundance of Monarchs.
Also a member of the Finch family, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak breeds from Canada to as far south as Georgia and in the winter months can be seen on the west coast of the United States while on the way to Central and South America. I was really lucky to see this one!
Hummingbird at the Feeder
At the feeder
I have a few very small feeders to attract the smaller birds. On this day I noticed a House Finch snacking on the seeds. The males have a red bib and red in their tailfeathers while the females are all gray. This one is a male.
House Finch at the Feeder
A large brown bird of the Woodpecker family, the Northern Flicker can sometimes be seen and heard in a Joshua tree tapping into the bark to attract a mate. More often though they can be seen perched on my deck tapping into the wood rail!
You'll Want to Feed Your Feathered Friends
A Nice Place for Birds to Dine!
This was the first and last time that I saw two Ladderback Woodpeckers together!
Also known as chaparral birds, I've seen roadrunners plenty of times but they run so fast (up to 20 mph) I'm not always able to get a picture. The timing was right on this occasion although brief.
This was my first time spotting one of these, it's a House Sparrow. It's a small but stocky bird with a black throat and brown stripes on his head. He stopped by for a bite to eat then took off never to be seen again, at least not in my yard. I'm glad I was there for a quick glimpse.
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