Bird Lady Blog

January 1, 2016

Purple Martins


Purple Martin

Purple Martin

On a recent Saturday afternoon I went to Lake Odell to see if I could get some inspiration for my next article.  It was a lovely day, with the sun getting lower into the west, so perfect for bird viewing across the water.  I was not disappointed – there was an Osprey hunting, and I witnessed it take two dives.  Its second dive was successful, as it came up with a fish in its talons and then flew across the lake to a tree to eat its dinner.

I next started looking at the swallows and easily identified the Tree Swallows and the Violet-Green Swallows, but then paused and thought, “What is THAT one?”  There was a small number of larger and very dark swallows flying that I didn’t recognize.  They were noisy, and some of them landed in the tree tops to the left of me, so I was able to get a better look through my binoculars.  I took out my iPhone and looked up swallows on my two birding aps.  Finally, I thought “Oh my gosh, those are Purple Martins!”  This was a species I had never identified in Munds Park and really didn’t think I would ever see here.  The last time I saw Purple Martins was in Memphis at the Mississippi River before we went to visit Graceland (yes, to see Elvis Presley’s estate, which was a very fun trip for us.)

Purples Martins are loved by many people across the United States, mostly in the East where they are much more common than out West.  When you see large bird houses with many units – typically 10-20 entrance holes and usually mounted high atop a pole – that is a Purple Martin house.  After doing some research on-line, I learned fascinating facts about these birds.

  • Purple Martins are secondary cavity nesters – meaning they don’t make their own cavities like woodpeckers, for example, and instead use natural cavities in trees or cliffs or ones make by other birds. However, the birds in the Eastern U.S. are almost now exclusively artificial home nesters – they use man-made structures.  Native Americans started this phenomena centuries ago when they hung dried out, empty gourds with a hole drilled in it for the birds.  Today it is thought that if humans did not supply Purple Martins with artificial homes, the species would entirely disappear from the Eastern U.S.
  • In the Western U.S., however, Purple Martins still tend to use natural cavities versus man-made multi-compartment housing. I have noticed Purple Martin housing on at least one property around the Pinewood Country Club but never have seen it being used.  The birds in the West tend to stay near water – for their source of flying-insect food – and they like areas with tall pines and cottonwoods.  In other parts of Arizona with the right conditions they will nest in cavities in cacti.
  • Purple Martins eat only insects, which they catch in flight. There is a common misconception that they devour mosquitoes.  They fly much higher than mosquitoes do and they feed mostly during the daytime hours, when mosquitoes are not active, so mosquitoes are not part of their diet.
  • I could go on and on, but instead for now I will point you to the Purple Martin Conservation Association, a non-profit association devoted entirely to the conservation of this species. The website is purplemartin.org.   I hope to share more information about the Purple Martins in future articles.

May 2, 2014

A Special Sighting – Bullock’s Oriole

Filed under: Birding,Birdwatchers,Munds Park Birding,Uncategorized — Munds Park Birding @ 3:35 pm
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Courtesy of Gordon Karre

Courtesy of Gordon Karre

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a very excited Munds Park resident about a new visitor to her bird bath.  Martha, who lives on Reindeer Drive, had a male Bullock’s Oriole visit her birdbath on July 11th.  Needless to say, she was thrilled because 1) it is such a striking, beautiful, brightly-colored bird, and 2) all the effort she has put into making her yard bird-friendly paid off for yet another species – and this one quite special indeed.

If you are from the Midwest, you may have heard of the Baltimore Oriole.  Actually if you are a professional baseball fan, then for sure you have heard of the “Baltimore Orioles” team out in Maryland.  But not too many people have heard of the Bullock’s Oriole (no pro-sports team named after it!), yet it is found throughout the western U.S. in habitats such as deciduous and riparian woodlands, parks, and towns.  I’m guessing ours was passing through because this is the first reported sighting I’ve heard of, and based on my research I think we are at too high of an elevation to have it as a regular.  I went into my “Birders Life List and Diary” where I record my sightings and saw that the first Bullock’s Oriole I ever noted was in 1990, in Cuyamaca, California.  I also have a sighting from the Salt River area in the Valley from 1998, and another in Escondido, California.

Just how did Martha get so lucky to have this bird in her yard?  Well, it’s is by no means only luck, because the “secret sauce” is comprised of her two bird baths, complete with drippers.  She reports that her bird-watching has improved dramatically since adding the drippers, which hook onto the side of her bird bath.  She purchased them through Wild Birds Unlimited in Scottsdale.  I live about one mile from that location and did not even know WBU had moved into the neighborhood!  Martha has a great bird-bath setup and in addition to the very special Bullock’s Oriole, she has many of our regular residents:  Western Tanagers, Black-Headed Grosbeaks, Lesser Goldfinch, Nuthatches, American Robins, and on and on, all attracted by that dripping water.

I am happy to report that the male Ruddy Duck has been seen regularly this season at the Pinewood Country Club Golf Course pond between Hole 1 and 18.  There may be a female with it – we are not sure – but I can assure you that if we get ducklings, my golfer/birder friends will let me know in an instant!  We have not seen any Yellow-Headed Blackbirds, probably because the habitat is not right this year.  And last but not least, the two hatched Yellow-Eyed Juncos reported by Bill and Corrine “flew the flower pot” so to speak and left the nest in it empty.  This was the nest that originally had four eggs, was raided by a Stellar’s Jay, and ended up with two baby birds that successfully fledged.

September 27, 2012

I Miss the Grosbeaks


Sometime in mid-to-late August the Black-Headed Grosbeaks disappeared.  They used to frequent my seed feeders daily.  First in the spring were the male and female – black, orange, white – stocky birds that made a bright impression on you right away.  Then came the family.  The two juveniles showed up at the tray feeder, following one of the parents, and in the beginning they would shake and fluff their feathers, beaks open, expecting to be fed.  This behavior is what ensured they would survive in the nest, but now that they fledged and were in the real world, they had to learn a new behavior – how to fend for themselves.

The parent ignored their begging and instead took some seed from the feeder and showed them how to peck and feed themselves.  I am sure this was just but one instance of teaching behavior – most of the time these birds were going to have to find real food in the real forest.  They could not just depend on “people food” if they were to thrive.

Then suddenly they were gone. No more Black-Headed Grosbeaks at my feeder.  They had begun their long journey to Mexico for winter migration.  There they will consume many berries, insects, spiders, snails, and seeds. They are one of the few birds that can eat the poisonous Monarch Butterfly.  In central Mexico, where Monarch Butterflies and Black-Headed Grosbeaks both spend the winter, the Grosbeaks are one of the butterflies’ few predators. Toxins in the Monarch Butterflies make them poisonous to most birds, but Black-headed Grosbeaks and a few other birds can eat them. The birds feed on Monarchs in roughly eight-day cycles, most likely to give themselves time to eliminate the toxins.  In my own non-scientific assessment, I find it interesting that both the Black-Headed Grosbeaks and Monarch Butterflies have the same coloration:  black, orange, and white.

It was a great summer for birding – Red-Faced Warbler, Cassin’s Finch, Red-Crossbill, Ruddy Duck, and the first Munds Park Bird Walk that we held in July.  The Northern Arizona Audubon Society held its annual Board of Directors’ planning meeting at the Pinewood Country Club for the second year in a row.  More people are learning that they should not put red food coloring in the sugar water in their hummingbird feeders, and more people are conscious of how to bird-proof their windows to prevent birds from flying into them.  We will have a reminder next spring on what you can do to make your home a more bird-friendly place.

In the meantime, the Black-Headed Grosbeaks will be wintering in Mexico, and I’m betting that our Pinewood News editor will run into them while she winters on and off there as well.  Have a great rest of the year, everyone, and see you in 2013.

Ruddy or Not?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Munds Park Birding @ 8:37 pm
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Photo Courtesy of Cindi Shepard

So one Tuesday morning in August I was sitting in my office in Scottsdale writing a client report and I received a phone call from a very excited person in Munds Park:  “Margaret, we’re on the Golf Course on Hole #1 and the pond on the left has a really beautiful duck – with a blue beak!  Do you know what it is?  Is it some exotic species?”    Now keep in mind that the use of a cell phone on any golf course is frowned upon by golfers, but obviously this golfer was a bird enthusiast as well, and she just had to know what she was looking at!  The “blue beak” was a dead giveaway.  I confidently answered, “You are looking at a Ruddy Duck”.  In my early days of birding I was not able to identify ducks well at all, but over the years I spent time at the Phoenix Zoo’s ponds during the winter to see all the species of migrating ducks.  A blue bill is a give-away for a Ruddy Duck.  You would think it would be called “Blue-Billed Duck”, but no, that’s not how it works.

The Ruddy Duck is one of several fresh water diving ducks that have erect tails when at rest – so their group is actually called “stiff tailed ducks”.  This photo taken by Cindi Sheppard on a Sunday afternoon later in the week while we golfed is a great example of why the name “stiff-tailed duck”.  These ducks rarely leave the water because their legs are set so far back in their body, making them awkward and vulnerable on land.

Our male Munds Park Ruddy Duck seemed to have a mate around because later in that week we saw another diving, but duller, duck nearby.  However, since we were supposed to be golfing that Sunday and not birding, I didn’t get to stick around and make a positive identification.  Male Ruddy Ducks are quiet beautiful:  a brilliant rusty-brown back and sides (hence the name “Ruddy”), a black head with white sides, and of course the blue bill.  Females are much duller, brown/gray, and do not have the blue bill.

Ruddy ducks are monogamous and typically raise one brood of about eight eggs per year.  The female incubates the eggs.  If this pair bred, they may have done so on Lake Odell.  During our Munds Park bird walk on July 15th this year, we did sight a male Ruddy Duck, so perhaps this pair successfully bred here.  Next year we will want to be on the look-out for ducklings.

Our Ruddy Ducks will most likely be migrating soon.  They spend their winters in the Pacific coastal states and western coast of Mexico.  They are thought to travel at night.  To me, migration is a wonder; all the activity while we are sound asleep in our beds, not aware of the many waterfowl and other birds flying overhead to get to a warmer climate before winter sets in.

Oh, and by the way, there is actually a “Blue-Billed Duck”, one of the related species of our Ruddy Duck, and it is found and is named that way in Australia.  One thing about writing these articles – I learn something new each time!  I hope you do, too.

August 6, 2012

Munds Park Bird Walk


Photo Courtesy of Gordon Karre; Immature Pied-Billed Greve

Our Munds Park Bird Walk on Sunday, July 15th, was held after a day and night of heavy rain.  However, a morning sun and blue sky greeted the dozen birders who met up in the Pinewood Country Club parking lot at 7 a.m.  We Munds Parkers were joined by two gentlemen from Mesa and one from Flagstaff, all of whom helped make our bird walk a very pleasant and informative session.

Our first stop was at the Pinewood Country Club golf course.  Because of the heavy rain the night before, golf was delayed for an hour, so we could bird to our heart’s content without interfering with any golfers.  We spent about 45 minutes at the pond between holes 1 and 18, and immediately we were rewarded with sightings of several Yellow-Headed Blackbirds.  We believe they have nested here this year because we spotted a couple of juveniles in the group. The Red-Winged Blackbirds, Barn Swallows, Tree Swallows, and Violet-Green Swallows were abundant, as were the American Coots.  We were treated to great looks at three recently-hatched Pied-Billed Grebes following a parent and begging for food.  A surprise was a young Red-Naped Sapsucker that was spotted by Gordon Karre, one of the men from Mesa, who had along his camera and recorded many of our sightings.

Next we moved on to Lake Odell.  We spotted the Osprey nest pretty easily, with no Ospreys in sight, but an unexpected find was a Great Blue Heron nest, again on the opposite side from where we were.  Through the spotting scope we were able to see at least one youngster in the nest, and later that week I received reports from two different Munds Parkers that they had seen the nest as well, occupied with more than one juvenile bird.  At the lake we saw Canada Geese, Mallards, Great Blue Herons, a male Ruddy Duck, Eurasian-Collared Dove, Northern Flicker, Black Phoebe, Western Bluebird, and Pygmy Nuthatch.

Our last stop was at two friends’ front yard on Turkey Trail.  We birders sat on deck chairs graciously provided by our hostesses and saw the following birds come to feeders and bird baths:  House Finches, Lesser Goldfinches, White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, a Hairy Woodpecker, and a Mountain Chickadee.  We were hoping for the Red Crossbills to show, but alas and alack, we were not that lucky that morning.  We have since heard they still show up almost daily, with a youngster in tow.

Shortly after 9 a.m. we called it a successful birding walk, and some of us went to the Pinewood Country Club as planned and had breakfast.  There we did a recap of our sightings and just visited with our new birding friends.  Zack Zdinak is the president of the Northern Arizona Audubon Society in Flagstaff and was a great help in finding and quickly identifying some of the birds we saw.  Gordon Karre, who came up to Munds Park for the cooler weather and birding, was our surprise photographer.  He has a blog with photos of many of the birds we saw.  Check it out at http://desertwing.blogspot.com/2012/07/munds-park-az.html.  This wonderful photo of a juvenile Pied-Billed Grebe is courtesy of Gordon.

For those of you who want to venture out of Munds Park for a day and participate in a bird festival, check out the first Hummingbird Festival in Sedona August 3rd through 5th.  You can find more information at http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org/index.php.  For hummingbird lovers here, remember that you do not need to and should not add red food coloring to your feeder sugar water.  Just one part of white sugar to four parts of water is sufficient.  The red feeder will attract the hummers, without the food color additives.

July 7, 2012

House Birds Part II

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House Wren Photo Courtesy of Gordon Karre

The last edition’s Article #33 was Part I of our “house” birds – those that are most likely to show up around your home.   But those birds I wrote about two weeks ago were not a complete list of house and cabin birds – we still have Acorn Woodpeckers and Anna’s and Broad-Winged Hummingbirds that are frequent visitors, and of course the Western Bluebird and the swallows.  In Munds Park we have three species of swallows:  Barn, Violet-Green, and Tree.   The folks who can see our swallows the easiest are probably those who live in the condos just off of Hole 10 on Pinewood Country Club.

The rest of this article is about three Munds Park birds that have the word “House” in their common, non-scientific name:  House Finch, House Sparrow, and House Wren.

The male House Finch is mostly brown but has a red head and breast, and the females are a streaked gray/brown with no other distinctive markings.  House finches have a wonderful, cheerful song, long and twittering.  It is a bird primarily found in the West, in all types of habitats from our city parks to backyards to deserts and forest edges.  If you put up a bird seed feeder in any of our towns throughout the state, you will most likely be visited by a House Finch.    I have never had a House Finch at our feeders in Munds Park, although I know others who have, and I have heard and seen them in the residential areas closer to the golf course.

The chunky House Sparrow is a non-native bird that was introduced into the U.S. in the mid-1800’s by people who wanted to establish wildlife familiar to people of European descent.  House Sparrows are now found throughout the U.S. and are one of the few species in the country that are not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  The male has a gray head, white cheek, black bib, and rufous neck.  The bird is despised by many – it takes up nesting spots from cavity-nesting birds like bluebirds and is a pest in large cities.  You can see a small number of House Sparrows around the patio area of Pinewood Country Club.  The House Sparrow is a perfect example of how non-native species bring havoc to a new environment – in this case, affecting native songbirds, farmland, and cities in all 50 states.  Two hundred years ago there were no House Sparrows in the U.S. at all – today their numbers are estimated in the hundreds of millions.

The House Wren is a common back-yard bird, and though I haven’t seen one in Munds Park personally, I have had a report of one.  It is a small, plain brown bird with a fairly long, curved beak, and its tail is usually cocked above the line of its body or drooped down.  It is a bubbly and energetic bird, hopping around from bush to thicket, and when it sings, it delivers a trilling song, over and over.  This bird will happily nest in a next box.  Native Americans call this bird o-du-na-mis-sug-ud-da-we-shi, which means “making a big noise for its size”.  If you think you have a House Wren on your property, I would really like to hear from you.

August 20, 2011

Black and White and Red and Football


First some local news. There are Tree Swallows again in the nest box on Pat and Roy’s property on Raintree.  Seems like this is the second brood this season and the parent birds are mounting an all-out effort to keep the little ones fed.  You can see them flying back and forth all day and into the early evening carrying insects to their young.  By the time this article is published the babies will hopefully have successfully fledged.  I also received notice of a sighting of a Red-Faced Warbler by Kathy and Cindy near their property on Turkey Trail.  That is one bird still on my must-see list, so I am jealous.

And second, now that the NFL season is approaching, I did some research into what percent of the U.S. population over 18 follows NFL football compared to what percent of the U.S. population are birdwatchers.   Which do you think is greater?  The answer will be at the end of this post.

In the rest of this issue we will describe the birds of Munds Park that are primarily black, white, and red.  The first that comes to mind is the Acorn Woodpecker.  This bird’s back is mostly black, but when it flies from tree to tree or across your street, you can see the white under parts of its wings and belly. Acorn Woodpeckers live in year-round social units and depend on these family-type groups to build up and defend their stored supplies of acorns and insects.  This comical looking bird, with its bright red cap and a face that has a distinct white eye ring and black-white pattern, is rumored to be the inspiration for Woody the Woodpecker, in part because it was the common woodpecker near the northern California cabin of Walter Lantz, Woody’s creator. However, the Acorn Woodpecker does not have a crest, as does Woody, so I think the Pileated
Woodpecker is the better candidate for our cartoon friend Woody.

The ListServe I subscribe to reported some sightings this spring and early summer of Acorn Woodpeckers in Tempe.  Though common for Munds Park, that is big news for birders in Maricopa County.

The second black and white bird with some red on its head is the Downy Woodpecker.  This little bird, about seven inches in length, is common throughout the United States and a welcome sight with its bright red cap on a wintry white day.  We don’t see them too often in Munds Park – but I spotted one this summer and another one last summer on our property.  The Downy Woodpecker has a black back with a broad white patch down the center, a white checker-board pattern on its wings, a white belly, and a small red spot on its crown. Because it is so small and can forage in small spaces, it uses food sources in its natural habitat that larger woodpeckers do not.

And finally there is the Painted Restart – a real rarity, but it does on occasion show up in Munds Park. It is glossy black with distinctive white  wing bars you cannot miss, and it has a red belly. When it forages among the trees, it spreads showy white outer tail feathers to flush insects, making it easy to follow once located. Like the Red-faced Warbler mentioned earlier, the Painted Redstart makes its nest on the ground.  This bird is only found regularly in Arizona and New Mexico at elevations of 5,000 to 8,000 feet, so Munds Park fits the bill.  I saw one from our deck last year and it was the highlight of my birding season.

As for the statistics on birders versus NFL football fans, the football fans are more numerous.  Over 20 percent of the U.S. population over age 18 have actively birded (versus just sitting at home and watching birds in their neighborhood).  More than 60 percent of the U.S. population follows NFL football.  However, I will bet most of them are sitting inside watching on a TV.  Hmmm, there may be a connection here, though.  We have
the NFL Cardinals, Eagles, Falcons, Ravens, and Seahawks.  Maybe football and birds do go hand-in-hand at times!

July 23, 2011

Blue is a Beautiful Color Indeed

Filed under: Great Blue Heron,Munds Park Birding,Steller's Jay,Uncategorized — Munds Park Birding @ 10:04 am

In the last post I wrote about the Western Bluebird, a bird we see often in Munds Park.  The males have gorgeous sky-blue heads and backs, and even the females have blue wings and tails.  I thought I would stick with the blue theme this issue.  I have a black and blue finger from  jamming it while cleaning, and we are doing some painting in our house, with a good portion of some of the rooms in different shades of blue, so blue seems to be the color to focus on.

One bird that is very popular with Munds Park residents, with many people commenting to me about it, is the Steller’s Jay, our own mountain
version of a “blue jay”.  It is large and dark, with a black and crested head, but the back and wings are a sparkling deep blue that shines almost iridescently in the sun.  Most of the time the Steller’s Jay is in the tall canopies of the trees, but it will regularly come to feeders and especially likes peanuts.  Its most noticeable feature is a large crest that gives it a “don’t mess with me” look.  This bird hangs around in camp grounds and picnic areas and will hop on the ground picking up leftover food or unattended picnic items.  Steller’s Jays are described as bold, inquisitive, intelligent, and noisy, and that is a pretty good description of most of the jay family.  My favorite jay in the Midwest and East is its cousin, the Blue Jay, which also has a crest but is colored a lighter blue with a lot of black and white mixed in.  A Steller’s Jay is a great bird for piquing your children’s or grandchildren’s interest in nature as it is colorful, large, and crested and it feeds on people food – peanuts.

I haven’t written until now about the Great Blue Heron.  This bird is one of the largest we have in Munds Park, and you can see it either hunting around the Pinewood Country Club Golf Course ponds and at Lake Odell or flying elegantly in the air with long, sweeping wing beats.  It is the largest and most widespread heron in the U.S., and you will find them at your local golf course and urban ponds or fishing lakes in the rest of Arizona.  They migrate all the way into Mexico and Central America.  The back, wings, and belly are a blue-ish gray, and they have a black plume extending from the eye to the back of the neck.  The feathers are shaggy-looking around its neck.  However, when it stand completely erect at four-and-a-half feet, the bird is very sleek, large, and imposing, especially with its long beak that looks very powerful and dangerous.  And it is indeed dangerous for the fish, frogs, salamanders, mice, shrimp, crabs, crayfish, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and other insects it preys on.  If you are out and about and run into a hunting Great Blue Heron, be courteous. It is probably standing perfectly still as it awaits its prey to swim by and then bingo, stabs it with its powerful bill and swallows its catch down its long neck.  And, by the way, its eggs are blue as well.

Great Blue Herons, like many species, are affected by human development.  Human-caused noise, construction, and general lack of secluded habitat affect them.  They breed in colonies, and evidence suggests that colonies will get smaller, with only 40 to 50 breeding families as opposed
to over 100, when their habitat is negatively affected.  I am not aware of breeding colonies of Great Blue Herons in northern Arizona – something for me to research.

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.

June 1, 2011

Nesting Western Screech Owls

Filed under: Uncategorized — Munds Park Birding @ 9:57 pm
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Here’s a photo of one of two of the fledgling Western Screech Owls that are in my nest box in our back yard at about 48th street and Camelback, Phoenix.  Just discovered both of them poking their heads out on June 1st – and they flew out of the box well after dusk and after a parent bird showed up on the telephone wire.  Very exciting!  See my Birding Technology and Us post for a link to the nest box plans.

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