From the Treetops!

By Dan Weisz

Here are a few birds from the past two weeks that I thought you might enjoy.

The male Northern Cardinal was singing from a flowering ocotillo bush near my front yard.

At Sweetwater, two Brown-headed Cowbirds perched together. The male has the noticeable brown head and the female has more plain plumage. These birds are the most common “brood parasite” in North America. That means they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and let those other birds raise their young. When you had to follow the herds of bison across the plains, you can’t sit around on a nest and wait for a few weeks for your babies to hatch, so you learned to let others do your work for you.

And although not a bird, this Round-tailed Ground Squirrel goes where the food is. He was seen in this bush at Tohono Chul Park finding tender flowers to eat.

A male Pyrrhuloxia atop a neighbor’s tree.

A male Red-winged Blackbird singing at Sweetwater. The males work very hard at this time of year, constantly singing and protecting the nest territories of their many mates.

Another bird that arrives in Tucson in the summers is the Western Kingbird. This pair was perched along River Road atop a dead snag. Western Kingbirds are common across the entire western United States in the summers. They can be seen on high perches from which they fly out to capture flying insects.

And although not on a tree-top, this Gambel’s Quail was still singing loudly from his perch atop a wall at Sweetwater Wetlands. The Desert Spiny Lizard didn’t seem to be paying any attention to the quail, and lizards are not on the menu for Quail meals. Welcome to the desert!

Return to Foothills Clusters Home