Thursday, May 7, 2009

Migrants and Residents

#11 Name five full-time resident and five part-time resident birds in your area.

A red-tail hawk family nesting in a saguaro, one of our full-time residents

Everyone loves to deride the "snowbirds" of Arizona, the masses of retirees who winter down here where it is warm, heading north between May and October to escape the insanely hot summer. Or is it that they are residents in the north during the balmy summers, and flee south to escape the blistering cold winters? Either way you look at it, they are in plenty of good company, because hundreds of bird species use the same strategy of seasonal migration to up their chances of finding decent food year round and good nesting sites when the urge to mate urge arises. As opposed to the northern or high-altitude bio-regions where avian life is much more diverse during the summers, the Sonoran desert region hosts more winter residents. We are the south that many birds migrate to during the winter, especially for a lot of ducks and other birds seeking open water. But there are some masochistic summer resident birds that hang around here during the searing hot summer months and migrate further south during our ever so slightly chilly winters. I know of no humans who would choose such a lifestyle!

Then there are those, both birds and humans, who tough out the entire year wherever they happen to be, adapting either to the blistering heat or freezing cold, and maybe even enjoying it. I have to say that my true nature is as a winter adapted bird. I would be very happy as a chickadee, snowy owl, or ptarmigan. But here I am among the cactus wrens, roadrunners and Harris hawks that thrive in a year-round summer climate.

Off the top of my head here's my five plus five:

some Full-time/Permanent Residents:
Cactus Wren, the Arizona State bird
Gamble's Quail

some Part-timers:
Black-chinned Hummingbird-summer residents
Common Nighthawk-summer resident
White-crowned Sparrow, winter resident
American Goldfinch-winter resident
Western Bluebird-winter resident

1 comment:

Jackijo said...

Birds I have seen within a few miles of my neighborhood:

White-winged Dove: Summer Resident
Yellow-rumped Warbler: Spring and Winter Resident
Ruby-crowned Kinglet: Winter
Ash-throated Flycatcher: Spring and Summer (possibly year round)
Lesser Goldfinch: Summer, possibly full-time

Curve-billed Thrasher: Full-time
Abert's Towhee: Full-time
Northern Cardinal: Full-time
Northern Mockingbird: Full-time
Anna's Hummingbird: Full-time

And Five more:
Gila Woodpecker: Full-time
Gilded Flicker: Full-time
Inca Dove: Full-time
Great-tailed Grackle: Full-time
Western-Meadowlark: Full-time