Anna's Hummingbird male by Kathie Adams Brown 10-13-08
The cold air makes the hummingbirds especially hungry. I refill the almost empty feeders and watch as these flying warriors vie for this liquid nourishment. They are not the only ones who seek it out as I am just as likely to find a Gila woodpecker or two dangling from a branch above and slurping up their sweet reward. My bird populations are changing daily. Hummingbird species have moved in and moved on. This year I am getting more Anna’s, along with last year’s Costa’s, but a rufous female or immature male is hanging around also and I see it every now and again.
Rock Wren by Kathie Adams Brown 10-13-08
I have been hearing the Rock Wrens for a few weeks now but this afternoon is the first time I have seen one in my yard. I watch as it searches about along the block wall looking for and finding insects to eat. I fear for the pesticides my neighbors have sprayed. I hope the little bird is not eating poisoned food. I have noticed a decline in the number of insects around my house, though I have refused to use pesticides myself.
The Turkey vultures still circle overhead in the warmth of the day, and I am surprised to still see nighthawks moving through the area. Friday night as I came out to water my plants I looked off to the west and noticed first one, then more nighthawks flying south up over the big wash. I grabbed binoculars and camera and proceeded to count close to 75 birds in groups of 5, 10, or 15. It was just after sunset and I think I caught the tail end of a much larger migration of both Common and Lesser nighthawks. I can only assume they are migrating and I wonder if they use Sycamore Canyon and the Santa Rita Mountains as their map to their winter homes. Farewell for the winter my crepuscular friends. I will miss you this winter and look forward to your return in spring. For now I will welcome Rock Wrens and the winter sparrows that are gathering in the wash. I will learn to decipher your field marks yet and call you by name when I can.
Silhouette of a nighthawk by Kathie 10-10-08