All posts by Sheila

I have a passion for the outdoors and I am most happy enjoying what nature has to offer. Hobbies include photography, birding, Pickleball, astronomy, biking, and hiking. I have been happily married, for 44 years, to an amazing person.

~Toast each sundown with wine

Read these words to understand,

Life can be enjoyed,

By the simplest of things.


This song was written by Toby Keith:

Don’t let the old man in

I wanna leave this alone

Can’t leave it up to him

He’s knocking on my door

And I knew all of my life

That someday it would end

Get up and go outside

Don’t let the old man in

Many moons I have lived

My body’s weathered and worn

Ask yourself how would you be

If you didn’t know the day you were born

Try to love on your wife

And stay close to your friends

Toast each sundown with wine

Don’t let the old man in

Many moons I have lived

My body’s weathered and worn

Ask yourself how would you be

If you didn’t know the day you were born

When he rides up on his horse

And you feel that cold bitter wind

Look out your window and smile

Don’t let the old man in

I like the version sung by Willie Nelson.

~Arizona Birding Series – Canyon Towhee

November/December 2020

These Towhees are difficult to photograph, and it is funny that the best photo I got was when it landed on the curbing. Oh well, I’ll take it! [Grins].

 

Taken at Cave Creek Regional Park. Cave Creek, AZ

This one was taken at Madera Canyon.

Canyon Towhees keep a low profile across their range in the Desert Southwest. These big, warm-brown sparrows are common on the ground and underneath shrubs in a variety of scrubby habitats, but they easily blend into the background. Look for a fairly long-legged, long-tailed sparrow that’s the same color as the dirt, with warm rusty brown under the tail. They look very similar to the widespread California Towhee (the two were once considered the same species), but their ranges don’t overlap.

Cool Facts:

  • Canyon Towhees are desert creatures and they pay attention to water supplies. They can nest twice a year, timing their attempts to coincide with winter and summer rains, which produce a flush of plant material and insects.

  • Canyon Towhees’ seemingly simple songs contain lots of variation and have been well studied. In 1968, two scientists described this variation colorfully: “At its worst, the song is a dull series of chips, but at its best, it is a gay, sustained jingle to be compared with that of a titmouse. A male whose dawn singing has been dull and perfunctory during late winter and early spring will become transformed into a polished singer when his mate disappears to incubate….”

  • Present-day Canyon Towhee and California Towhee were once considered the same species, named the Brown Towhee. Mitochondrial DNA, which traces genetic history along the mother’s gene line, provided the evidence needed to split the two species.

  • The oldest recorded Canyon Towhee was a male, and at least 7 years, 2 months old when he was recaught and rereleased during banding operations in Texas in 1998. He had been banded in the same state in 1992.