Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cactus Wren

The Cactus Wren is the largest wren in North America, and is also the emblematic state bird of Arizona. Although they are comfortable living near developed land, they are also very capable desert specialists, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology mentions that they can survive without freestanding water.

The Cactus Wrens do very well in Arizona, and are especially noticeable at the wildlife preserves around the valley. They are very comfortable with people and semi-manufactured environments, so it's nice to get pictures of them in a more natural and aesthetically pleasing habitat.
 These purple flowers made for a pretty great setting with the evening light. 

 I like here how the cactus works to supply a textured green background, quite nice with the cactus wren...

This busy bird was adding to her nest in a yucca plant. It was already looking pretty large and lopsided, but wrens do like to keep busy.

Here, the iconic wren of Arizona greets the morning sun, while another bears the evidence of a cactus-fruit breakfast.
A little bit of bed-head

This specimen's darker brown back and head have not filled in yet, which makes me think it's a first year.


Also known as a Quarion or a Weiro, this is the smallest of the Australian cockatoos, but is the second most popular avian household pet behind the Budgerigar. As such, they have a large domestic presence in America, and while the populations of escaped Cockatiels have not found the level of success seen in local Lovebird populations, they're nonetheless an increasingly common sight around parks and ponds in the city.
This particular Cockatiel seemed to be imitating the Gila Woodpeckers common around Encanto Park, but he didn't do a very good job. I observed him then take to the ground by a group of mallards, only to discover he could not swim. It is likely he'll soon amalgamate with the local Lovebird population in the area as I have seen other escaped parrots and Budgerigars do, and they'll add a little color to the urban birding scene.
A poor substitute for a woodpecker

I like their heavy-set beaks. With their crags and density, they look as if they're made out of stone.