December 2020 – Madera Canyon and Patagonia Lake State Park
The Black Phoebe is a dapper flycatcher of the western U.S. with a sooty black body and crisp white belly. They sit in the open on low perches to scan for insects, often keeping up a running series of shrill chirps. Black Phoebes use mud to build cup-shaped nests against walls, overhangs, culverts, and bridges. Look for them near any water source from small streams, to suburbs, all the way to the salt-sprayed rocks and cliffs of the Pacific Ocean.
The Mexican jay formerly known as the gray-breasted jay is a New World jay native to the Sierra Madre Oriental, Sierra Madre Occidental, and Central Plateau of Mexico and parts of the southwestern United States.
In May 2011, the American Ornithologists’ Union voted to split the Mexican jay into two species, one retaining the common name Mexican jay and one called the Transvolcanic jay. The Mexican jay is a medium-sized jay with blue upperparts and pale gray underparts.
It resembles the Woodhouse’s scrub-jay but has an unstreaked throat and breast.
The Mexican Jay feeds largely on acorns and pine nuts but includes many other plant and animal foods in its diet. It has a cooperative breeding system where the parents are assisted by other birds to raise their young. This is a common species with a wide range and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of “least concern”.
I first saw this bird on 11/07/2009 while visiting Fort Davis State Park.
Acorn Woodpeckers are very unusual woodpeckers that live in large groups, hoard acorns, and breed cooperatively. Group members gather acorns by the hundreds and wedge them into holes they’ve made in a tree trunk or telephone pole. Acorn Woodpeckers also spend considerable time catching insects on the wing.
The Magnificent Hummingbird is a new one for me. Number 397.
The Magnificent Hummingbird is a large hummingbird named in regards to its dazzling plumage.The Magnificent Hummingbird\\ is the second-largest member of the hummingbird family found north of Mexico (behind only the Blue-Throated hummingbird). The adult male Magnificent hummingbird has a bronze tail, green and bronze upperparts, and a gray belly.