Sunday, May 12, 2013

Pewee's Playhouse

Yellow-eyed Junco(just how many bands can these birds hold?!)
Not all birds are the same. "Oh that's a Yellow-eyed Junco! You can always tell by their song." 
Whoa whoa whoa! Back up! That statement is like saying all white people look the same. Who's more vanilla?  Well, I'm originally from Wisconsin so I'd say I'm more cheese than vanilla.  And now that I'm living in the desert, I'd say I'm more fried.  So in a sense, I guess I'm a fried cheese curd:) Sounds good to me. While certain cultures and people share commonalities, there is not one person alike.  The same goes with the bird world, etc.  My eyes aren't so great.  But my ears can zone and tune into bird calls.
Cooper's Hawk
I have recordings on my cell phone and at home that allow me to listen to bird calls.  The more practice I have; the stronger I become out in the field.  I usually go to a place with a target bird in mind.  When I have a new bird, I memorize the features of the bird and also record the songs in my brain.  On this day, up in Rose Canyon on Mt. Lemmon, I would track the Greater Pewee.....a Mexican visitor.
We'd climb the dam and find all kinds of wonderful birds. Some were nesting like the Cooper's Hawk.
Many people were fishing as we climbed the hills trying to locate the unmistakable song of the Greater Pewee.
Hairy Woodpecker
Amazing views. Incredible finds.  Below is a shot of the tent caterpillar and favorite snack of the Vireo family:)
Tent Caterpillar
Of course, House Wrens don't mind a bite or two.  Heck I don't even think they bite.  It's chomp, chomp, and gulp!
House Wren
 We were exhausted and sat on the bench watching this Cliff Chipmunk run around the grass.  And then the song!  The one I had been waiting for.....but not exactly the one I had in my head.  The voice was similar but different.  I climbed the big mountain hill at the top as the Greater Pewee called out.
Cliff Chipmunk
As I reached the top, I stopped to get the ID shot and just sat listening to the song.  I marvelled at it all.  It's interesting because people tend to clump animals, birds etc all together. And we do it with people as well:)  It just shows that not all Greater Pewees are the same......just like people. This year we have found different vocalizations not only within the Pewee populations but also with our Mountain Chickadees.  During our road trips, Pat and I have memorized their particular songs and put words with their melodies.  This bird has a beautiful song followed by an annoying, da daaa, da daaa!  And without further ado, I present to you all the very special and unique Greater Pewee.  
Greater Pewee


  1. A very pretty place you visited, the top bird shot is great and so is the lake. Beautiful.

  2. All different and unique. Best to pass no judgement and have no expectations. :)fried cheese curd
    tee hee.
    Glad you discovered your target bird.

  3. Really? Fried cheese curd? Love the birds, I need to learn more bird songs, it does help with the id. I love your yellow-eyed Junco, it is a beauty. Congrats on your Pewee sighting. Have a great day and happy birding!

  4. Such wide, pretty assortment! So happy you found your Peewee!

  5. i haven't had a deep-fried cheese curd in YEARS! dang! :)

    love that junco! wowza! and glad you got to see and hear your friend!

  6. Beautiful serie images..Have a great day...

  7. Love the first shot. A nice place for wildlife.

  8. I wish I could follow you around sometime --learning all of those bird songs. I do NOT know them at all... Glad you saw the Greater Pewee--and I love that Yellow-eyed Junco.. Gorgeous..

    Great set of photos, Chris.

  9. Very nice find Chris! Congrats! Gordon and I dipped on this bird when we where there. I guess we needed your ears!

  10. Another beautiful location to go birding :) So glad you saw your Pewee.

  11. I love the little house wrens Chris, the small birds fascinate me because I find them so hard to snap.

  12. Hi Chris:) I'm up and running again playing catch-up. Your capture of the yellow.eyed Junco is just phenomenal. What a beauty! So pleased you saw the Greater Pewee. I had honestly never considered that birds sound and look diferent within their own species. What a cluts I am, ofcourse they must all have their own identities. Although this should have been obvious, so glad you pointed this out:=)

  13. I had a lovely experience this past week, and hope to post it for Wild Bird Wednesday, though my photos of course are never good ones. As I went out to the back yard to water, I saw something tiny moving in the dried grass section of weeds I haven't removed, that's adjacent to my veggie garden. Then I saw mama bird, and realized the tiny things I had just noticed were baby quail. She was VERY vocal, clucking away telling them to stay hidden. I at first tried to find them in the grass, then gave up, and sat on the back porch. Dad soon also joined in the clucking from an olive tree just over the wooden fence that goes across the back. It was their only way to escape, through holes in that fence, as they were in an area surrounded by a block wall. They continued with sounds I will never forget, then suddenly got very quiet. I waited, and then the male bird started calling to the babies to come to him, and it was such a lovely tonal sound. He called and called, but they wouldn't come out of hiding. I finally decided I'd have to go inside. The babies eventually did come out, but only after both mom and dad stood on the block wall and then flew down to the grass. I rushed to the back door to catch a fleeting glimpse of the babies. But the sounds they made, those two very patient parent birds were really wonderful to listen to! I loved seeing their little drama unfold. I can rarely recognize bird song, but I know I will always be able to tell when gambrel quail is close by now!


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