The traditional seasons in Arizona are not always visible to our visitors. In the US, most states celebrate a distinct fall, winter, spring and summer. If you've lived in the desert for awhile, you begin to pick up the subtle beauty of the Sonoran desert. Some people describe our seasons as "hot or not as hot". And while that may be somewhat true, I'd like to present our version of spring this week:)
The "summer" birds begin to arrive into Southern Arizona while others are in the middle of nesting. Cacti begin to bloom. Butterflies begin to show up in greater numbers while the "Snowbirds" (the human and bird kinds) begin to leave:) Reptiles begin to hang out on rocks. Snakes slink their way across roads and into Herpetologist's hearts.
And the owls. I love the owls the best. It's one of the better times of the year to find owls near their nests....or just find owls period:) Our Great Horned Owls were successful again this year raising 4 owlets! Along with another teacher, we monitor their nest each day to make sure they are developing as they should. With over 2000 people on our campus, it's amazing that the parent owls return each year to this site. But we're glad they do. It's also a great way to educate future birders. Soon they will leave this make shift nest and bounce their way into the nearby Ironwood Trees.
|Elegant Earless Lizard|
While monitoring my ebird work patch, I found this soon to be leaving White-crowned Sparrow taking a dirt bath. The bird didn't seem to mind me watching.
|4 Great Horned Owlets|
As it warms up, the birds begin looking for a companion to begin their nesting process. Some nest within the holes of these massive Saguaros below. Others prefer nesting within the Cholla cactus(center)
This is also a great time to visit southern Arizona. It's not too hot or cold and there's lots to see! While on my treks this week, I spotted a Cooper's Hawk feeding. Normally I don't see them banded so I did some follow up. When I don't know something, I throw the information out on the google machine and Facebook. I am always thankful for the positive feedback I get from people. The University of Arizona is conducting a study on Cooper's Hawks. These birds are numerous in the Tucson area and their population appears to be growing. In fact, the Old Pueblo has one of the highest counts in the US. This may also explain why our Inca Dove population has almost completely disappeared from the area.
|From left to right. Saguaro Cactus(large upright cactus), Tree Cholla(reddish blooms), Palo Verde Tree(yellow blooms)|
Anyhow, I found the right person and he emailed me back straight away. Here's the info he gave me on this bird.
The bird you saw was a male and was banded as a nesting adult on 13 June 2007. He was nesting on Silverbell Golf Course (just south of the wetlands) at that time and has been seen there each year since. Your photo lets us record that he is alive and back in the same area again this year. Thanks!
|A 8 year old male Cooper's Hawk|
If you find a banded Cooper's Hawk, you can report your sighting and pic to this email. email@example.com.
Until next time......
|Tree Cholla Cactus Bloom|