Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Birds in Sycamore Canyon

Bewick's Wren climbs the block wall searching for insects 12-5-09

Ever since discovering Sycamore Canyon almost 3 years ago I have been counting birds. Even before we moved in I started my Sycamore Canyon Bird List, which you can see in the side bar. Since that time I have kept constant track of all the bird species seen in this area. In 2 1/2 years I have seen 90 species of birds right here in Sycamore Canyon. Many of them I have seen right from my own yard! Our yard was nothing but bare dirt in the back while small scrubby trees and bushes grew in the front. In less than a month after we moved in we bought and planted a native velvet mesquite tree in the backyard. By the following spring we added a Desert Museum Palo Verde and a patio with sitting walls. This year we added more plants and an irrigation system to the backyard. Meanwhile, the front yard trees have grown taller, the bushes have filled out, and the manmade wash beside my house has filled in with pioneering species like creosote bush and brittle bush. And, as mine and other neighbor's landscaping matures I have recently noticed an increase in the bird population in my yard!

A verdin at my window hummingbird feeder 12-5-09

Suddenly I am getting Bewick's Wrens and verdins. The verdins even come to my nectar feeders, something I have never observed before, but I have this sweet pair hanging out in my yard on an almost daily basis. While typically insect eaters, I guess these little gray birds know a sweet thing when they find it! I have no complaints. I love their merry chatter and cute little faces. Though hardly much bigger than the hummingbirds, they are quite gregarious. Still, the hummingbirds have no trouble taunting them or chasing them away. With cactus wrens and Gila woodpeckers all vying for nectar, it is all out war in my backyard right now!

Here is a list of MY 2009 December Yard Birds:
  1. Gambel's Quail
  2. Sharp-shinned hawk
  3. Cooper's hawk
  4. White-winged dove
  5. Mourning dove
  6. Greater Roadrunner
  7. Anna's Hummingbird
  8. Costa's Hummingbird
  9. Gila woodpecker
  10. Gilded Flicker
  11. Say's Phoebe
  12. Loggerhead shrike
  13. Common raven
  14. Verdin
  15. Cactus Wren
  16. Bewick's Wren
  17. Rock Wren
  18. Curve-billed thrasher
  19. Canyon towhee
  20. Black-throated sparrow
  21. White-crowned sparrow
  22. Northern Cardinal
  23. Pyrrhuloxia
  24. House finch
  25. Lesser-goldfinch
  26. House sparrow
Have a Very Birdy Christmas!

and that's...


Barb said...

I read your blog through a subscription and I don't comment on all your wonderful entries. I wanted you to know how much I enjoy seeing your part of the world. My family loves the desert and we had a chance to visit Tucson two years ago in the spring.....what a wonderful experience. We are dreaming of making the trip from California again this spring. Your blog keeps my dream alive. :)

We are amateur birders and seeing your lists makes me want to come right now!

I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your entries.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

bobbie said...

I do love to see birds scale a wall or a tree trunk. Such fun!

Gaelyn said...

Kathie, I know how much you love to watch the birds and am glad your yard is drawing in more species. Love your sculpture/bird bath.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Anonymous said...

Glad you are getting more birds around your house. What a thrill to look out and see something new.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Thats quite a list for December Kathie, have a great Christmas.

Jim said...

So many birds.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Sylvia K said...

Great post Kathie and I love the bird photo! What fun!

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!


Snap said...

How wonderful that you had so many feathered friends in your yard! Lovely post.

Perry said...

Very cool. I need to put nectar in my hummingbird feeder. It ran out because I thought they migrated away in winter, only to see one a couple days ago looking for something to eat!

DeniseinVA said...

Wonderful Kathie, and that's a fantastic list of birds. Your photos are always charming but that first one really speaks to me. It's a very sweet image.

Anonymous said...

Kathie, I think you must be a bird whisperer.

Redzlan said...

Love the 1st picture.
Happy Holiday!

Celeste said...

A very Birdy Christmas to you and Gus too Kathie.
Seasons Greetings from Celeste and Dominick.