November 18, 2010

I am just another quail - not

When we lived in the city, I never realized that a lot of birds move with the seasons. Hummingbirds, Canadian geese and swallows excepted of course. Here we have distinct population shifts. Some birds just come here to breed (orioles), others spend the summer (turkey vultures, white-winged doves) and of course we have some year-round birds too (house finches, cactus wrens, curvebilled thrashers, road runners, quail).

Our winter birds have arrived. I recently say some white-crowned sparrows at the feeder, as well as the black-chinned ones, and this morning I saw several flocks of sandhill cranes leaving their roost for feeding grounds in the valley. They clean up the harvested corn fields.

Hawks are winter birds here, although there are some exceptions such as the chocolate-morph red tail that always sits on the same power pole along my route to Tucson (always around the same time of day - we all do have our routines). The last week or so we have seen a young sharpshinned hawk hanging around our place. I can't blame him as there are many quail that come by to eat the spilled seed. Even the dogs recognize the quail alarm call, and so far the hawk has not been successful in catching dinner here. I wonder if his new ploy is to sit on the ground and act like a quail. He certainly blends in well.

1 comment:

webb said...

I'm so jealous of your birds! Here in the city I never even see a bluebird! Lots of grackles and jays and plenty of robins and cardinals, chickadees and hummers, but here you are talking about ROAD RUNNERS and hawks. Makes me want to import a quail.