WOW is Right

By Dan Weisz

I visited a place called WOW AZ this weekend just around the corner from the Foothills.  Tucked against the western edge of the Catalinas next to Cañada del Oro Wash, this is a three acre nature preserve developed by its owners.  Wild Outdoor World of Arizona is worth a visit if you are in the area

This is hummingbird migration season in southern Arizona and it was nice to see many Rufous Hummingbirds.  Rufous Hummingbirds breed in the Pacific Northwest and up into SE Alaska and they winter in Mexico.  For such a tiny bird, that is a tremendous commute.  The bird below with a very white throat might be an immature female Rufous.

Whereas this bird with the spotting on its throat might be either an immature male or an adult female.

The gorget of a Rufous Hummingbird is a brilliant orange.

There were many Broad-billed Hummingbirds including this immature male. 

This is a different immature male Broad-billed.  He is not a drama queen- he is monitoring and ‘defending’ himself from another hummingbird that flew over his head aggressively.  Even with more than two dozen hummingbird feeders and countless flowers available, hummingbirds often aggressively assert their “ownership” of a feeding source.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds were also common at WOW AZ.  Black-chins have a thin line of strip of iridescent purple bordering their black chin.

During the summers in southern Arizona, Black-headed Grosbeaks can be found in mountain canyon groves, pine-oak woodlands and coniferous forests. Now, during migration season, they can be found at all elevations including desert washes and our foothills.  Several Black-headed Grosbeaks were enjoying one of WOW’s water features which provides a misting shower for the birds.

Among the Black-headed Grosbeaks was this very immature bird.  I was struck by the lemony feathers at the base of its wings.

I saw several Roadrunners that morning, including one that hopped onto a tree for a better view of the front lawn.

WOW AZ is home to a family of Harris’s Hawks.  One of the juveniles stopped by for a bit.

And then it hopped up to a position in a pine tree before flying off.

Later, another juvenile Harris’s Hawk landed in the pine tree.  It sat there for a while and seemed to be studying me for a bit before flying off.

WOW is right.  That was a nice place to spend a morning.

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