Bird Lady Blog

June 13, 2011

Western Tanager, Abert’s Squirrel, and Quiz

Filed under: Quiz,Uncategorized,Western Tanager — Munds Park Birding @ 9:20 am
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In the last issue I wrote about the beautiful red, yellow, and black Western Tanager,  and I commented that although my friends have seen one in Munds Park, I have not.  On Friday, May 27th, I was having breakfast before golf and had the last issue of the Pinewood News open on the  counter. Surprise, surprise,  moving through branches of a Ponderosa Pine and seen through my kitchen window was a Western Tanager!  It is a gorgeous bird – almost tropical looking – and that sighting just drove home the point that you just never know when you will have a great and unexpected birding experience.  Since that sighting I’ve also heard it singing  – I pulled out my handy iBird Plus application on my iPhone to  onfirm using the recorded song.

We have an Abert’s Squirrel that visits our deck, and in the past it would take long sips of water from the bird bath clamped to the top rail.  Our son nick-named the squirrel Rex, so that’s what we call him.  Abert’s Squirrels are known as the tassel-eared squirrel because of the long tufts of fur on its ears.  These squirrels are found only out West in coniferous forests with Ponderosa Pines, so they are not your run-of-the-mill plain brown squirrels in the forest preserves, parks, and lawns of the Midwest.   Well it seems like this spring Rex has picked up a bad habit and can now climb along the three-foot extended metal pole from which our sunflower feeder hangs.  Rex has taken to gorging himself on the seeds, over 20 feet above the ground, as he happily sits on the bottom round tray of the feeder.

I will now have to do some research to figure out how to prevent Rex from his daily raids.  I have ruled out putting WD-40 or Vaseline on the pole because it would get on his fur or the birds’ feet and would cause problems.  I am probably going to have to get some type of baffle that hopefully
won’t obscure our view of the feeder.  I will keep you posted and let you know what happens – my feeling is that Rex is going to be very persistent now that he’s had a taste of the good life on the Dyekman Deck. Here’s a short quiz to get us started for the summer. I will try to feature each of the “answer birds” in coming articles:

  1. What is the little yellow and black bird that visits our niger/thistle see feeders?  A.  Arizona Canary;  B. Lesser Goldfinch;  C.  Mountain Chickadee;  D. Yellow-Rumped Warbler.
  2. What jay is common is Munds Park?  A. Blue Jay;  B. Pinyon Jay;  C. Gray Jay; D.  Steller’s Jay.
  3. What swallow is not found in Munds Park?  A. Tree Swallow;  B.  Cave Swallow; C.  Barn Swallow;  D. Northern Rough-Winged Swallow.
  4. What large bird nests on the east end of Lake Odell high in the tree tops and eats fish exclusively?  A. Bald Eagle;   B. American
    Crow;  C. Osprey;  D. Black-Crowned Night Heron
  5. Where do Mountain Bluebirds build their nests?  A.  Under the eaves of a deck;  B.  On the ground on a pine needle mound; C.  In a tree cavity or nest box;  D. On a V-shaped branch configuration of an Aspen tree.
  6. What food is not part of the American Robin’s diet?  A. Berries;  B. Earthworms;  C.  Grasshoppers; D.  Carrion.
  7. What warbler is only found in the U.S.  in our part of Arizona and some parts of New
    Mexico?  A;  Red-Faced Warbler;  B. Black-and-White Warbler;  C. Yellow-Rumped Warbler;  D. Pine Warbler.
  8. What woodpecker common to Munds Park is also known as the “clown-faced woodpecker”?  A.  Downy Woodpecker; B.  Lewis’ Woodpecker;  C. Acorn Woodpecker;  D.  Pileated Woodpecker.

I hope you have some fun with the quiz.  Answers will be in the next blog post.


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