Three Different “Reds”

By Dan Weisz

Here are three different birds with the color “red” in their names.  The first one is the Vermilion Flycatcher, the mascot of the Tucson Audubon Society.  While you may never have seen the word “vermilion” on any crayons or markers, it does mean brilliant red and comes from the powdered mineral cinnabar.  The genus name for this bird is Pyrocephalus which means “fire-headed”.  And the males are definitely colored a brilliant red. This bird was seen by the lake in Kennedy Park.

As the Vermilion moved about, it sat for a bit on this blue handrail in front of my white Subaru Outback, presenting me with a red-white-and-blue photo which I should use to celebrate next summer’s Independence Day!!

I few weeks ago I came across this Red-tailed Hawk.  Although its red tail is not visible, it is there.  This hawk had recently caught a meadowlark which intended to dine on.

And then back at Kennedy Park, a small flock of Redhead ducks had arrived for the winter.  The male Redheads have a cinnamon-red head, a blue-gray bill with a black tip, and a formal looking gray and black body.  This duck was streaming through the water swimming in my direction.

The range map shows how far Redheads travel between their summer breeding territories and their wintering areas.

Most of the Redheads were swimming while I watched them, but a few were snoozing.  This duck rested but kept his eyes open most of the time.  I like how he seems to be peeking at me from behind some fanned feathers.

While I was admiring the Redheads at Kennedy Lake, I saw an Osprey fly in and begin circling the lake, looking for a tasty fish to snatch.  I was excited to see this bird and able to get some nice flight shots, and then it dropped into the water and grabbed a fish.  You’ll have to wait for the next posting to see how this all played out!

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