Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

Female Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Female Broad-Tailed Hummingbird

August is the best time of the year for hummingbirds in the Albuquerque region.

The wonderful little black-chinned hummers come in the spring, and are the last to leave in the fall.

But in August, we can also expect the rufous hummers and broad-tailed hummers to pass through on their migrations south for the winter. Both are here in abundance now.

The little Calliope makes an occassional appearance; I have not seen one yet this year, but I am still hoping. . . And, in the meantime, I’m enjoying the abundance of other hummers here now.


Fledgling Scrub Jays Grow Really Rapidly!

Last week I posted a photo of a young fledgling Western Scrub jay here. That photo was taken 6 days ago.

Now, the bird is still a fledgling, and is still awkward, and is still getting its adult feathers. But it has learned about peanuts, and just goes straight for them when they are put out. This guy was a fast learner!

Fledgling Jay 7/27/08

Fledgling Jay 7/27/2008


This Is Why Gardeners Garden!

It's the Simple Things!

The reward for the time and effort spent gardening? It is the simple joy of spending a morning like this enjoying the beauty of the flowers and the birds and the clouds and the sounds!

The rose in the foreground in ‘Cesar E. Chavez,’ a hybrid tea.

The two larger birds are house finches.

The cute little black-and-yellow birds are a pair of goldfinches.

Sheer joy in a Saturday morning!


The Greater Roadrunner

Greater Roadrunner

This guy (girl?) is the State Bird of New Mexico. At least one family lives in my neighborhood, and they walk on the block walls, eat lizards in the woodpile, make very interesting sounds, and just entertain in general.

This one was sitting outside my bedroom window this morning, but I could not get a photo. That will teach me to wash the windows more often!

He didn’t really want to be photographed, but let me get this one before he ran across the road and up the street, using the sidewalk!


Western Scrub Jay – New Mexico Version!

Have you discovered the Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center yet? If not, do yourself a favor and check it out.

I kind of stumbled upon it a couple of weeks ago, and cannot believe that little gem was sitting there and I did not know about it. Virtually all of us in the Southwest are in some sort of migratory bird flyway, and have a chance to observe many migratory birds. Here is a whole site devoted to them!

After a couple of days I got up enough nerve to upload a couple of pictures, but I did not expect anything to come of it. I actually got a “thank you” from Gregory Gough, the internet person there, who set up a little gallery for my pictures. Who would have thought. . .?

I love the jays that visit my yard, and expect to be fed peanuts all the time. Last night I uploaded this photo of a jay, and called it a “Western Scrub Jay,” which is what I always thought it was. But as soon as I had uploaded it, I looked at the other Western Scrub Jays posted there. “Uh, oh,” I thought, “this must be the Mexican or Gray-breasted Jay.” How embarrassing! So I sent a correction to my contact there, Gregory.

This morning he sent an email saying this guy really was a Western Scrub Jay, and told me all the details that made it so. He explained about the three different species of scrub jays, and that the desert Western scrub jays were just not as bright as the coastal Western scrub jays, which most of the other ones on the Smithsonian site are. By that time I was not really sure what this bird was, other than a jay. Now that is really embarrassing!

This afternoon I had time to check out bird call at the Cornell site. There is no question, based on CALL, this bird is a Western Scrub Jay, just a New Mexico version!

Thanks for your patience, Gregory.

If you haven’t checked out the Smithsonian site, do yourself a favor and spend some time there. And, if you have questions, contact the people there. You will have a hard time finding any nicer or more helpful people on the internet. Check out the Smithsonian’s widget on our sidebar, too.

Happy birding!


White Wing Dove

White Wing Dove

White Wing Dove

Most of the gardeners I know in the high desert enjoy a variety of birds. Many put out food and water for the birds, and I am one who does. I think of summer as hummingbirds and roses, and winter as junkos.

But, even in the city, there are many different birds. When I first moved to this house, I had a lot of mourning doves. I had never seen a white wing dove until I moved to Albuquerque, and I lived here for several years before being aware of them. White wing doves have a more limited distribution in the United States than do mourning doves, but where the white wings occur, they are abundant. At my house, they nest in a large pine, close to a feeding station, and it is not unusual to see nine at a time on the block wall waiting to be fed. They share the feeder with finches and smaller birds, but the mourning doves are chased off until the white wings have had their fill.

In flight, you see a lot of white. But at rest, only a slim line of white is seen along the wing. The eyes are really red, as are the legs and feet. I love the blue eye patch, and the dark line underneath the eye.

Their call has been described as “who-cooks-for-you?” Personally, I think it is much lovelier than that 😉

They actually are hunted in Texas and in Arizona.

White Wing Dove

White Wing Dove and Finch at Feeder