Turn up the sound on this video for the music of White-Crowned Sparrows squeaking and squabbling. Audubon says we'll likely have them hanging around Arizona all winter, which should be fun. Winter can feel pretty empty sometimes.
Speaking of empty, there's been a lot in the press lately about the nearly three billion birds we've lost in the US since 1970. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology discusses it here with a video that is both heartbreaking and hopeful. (BTW, Cornell Lab make the great free Merlin Bird ID app that I use all the time!)
Not to beat a dead bird, but Audubon used a White-Crowned Sparrow as the cover-bird in an article about pesticides putting our bird populations at risk. These are the same neonicotinoid pesticides killing our bees. My sister-in-law the beekeeper knows all about it firsthand.
Okay, back to the fun stuff. Toward the end of my video above, a black-headed bird slips in a couple of times. He's sitting far right in the last few frames, hiding in the shadows. This little party-crasher is a Spotted Towhee. They're frustratingly secretive this time of year, but in the spring they perch high in the trees and sing for all they're worth. I can't wait for spring!
Here's another photo-bomber trying to outshine the White-Crowned Sparrows. Notice the Western Bluebird posing in the left foreground. These guys are hanging around in lots of noisy, flighty flocks lately. We might get to see them all winter, too! So says Audubon.
The less flamboyant fellow on the right above is probably not a different species, but a young one. Perhaps, based on my research, a first-winter baby. Best of luck to him!
Yes, they fly. But I'm generally too slow to catch the action.
And the water flies as they bathe! Requiring frequent birdbath refills by the caretaker of this bird resort.