Frank’s Guided Desert Bird Walk

Every Sunday Frank leads a bird walk through the Thousand Palms Oasis. Today, however, most of the trails are still closed from the flash flood of October 13th. So we take a short walk around the Palm House. Jeff and I don binoculars and off we go.

Frank wears a perpetual smile and a vest covered with patches of all the places he has gone bird-watching. He carries his viewing scope and sets it up for crystal clear up-close observing. Then he plays the different bird calls on his iPad to attract more birds.

Below is a list of the birds I have seen in the desert oasis:

Cactus Wren

Very common where cholla cactus and mesquite brush grow, this bird has a very recognizable raspy voice. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy Brian E. Small)

Song
call

Yellow-rumped Warbler

With its trademark yellow rump patch, this warbler survives the winter eating berries all along the western coast of the United States and Mexico. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy Laure W. Neish)

 audubon.org

Song
Call

Bewick’s Wren

Common and widespread in the west, this wren enjoys the habitat of desert washes. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy G. Lasley)

Song and call

Phainopepla

In the desert Southwest, this bird arrives to announce the beginning of winter. Phainopeplas and mistletoe rely on each other. The birds eat the berries of this parasitic plant. After the berries pass through the birds’ digestive track, the seeds stick to the branches of the mesquite tree and sprout new clumps of mistletoe. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy Bob Steele)

Song
Call

Western Tanager

The western counterpart of the scarlet tanager, this bird often shows up in the desert during migration. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy Glenn Bartley)

Song and call

Great Horned Owl

Widespread and common throughout North America and parts of South America, this big bird is aggressive and powerful in its hunting. It is sometimes known by nicknames, such as “tiger owl”. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy Johann Schumacher)

Hoot
Alarm

Barn Owl

Preying chiefly on mice and rats, the desert offers a good foraging territory. (audubon.org)

audubon.org (courtesy Steve Young)

  audubon.org

Call
Alarm

Long-eared Owl

This medium-sized owl favors habitats with dense trees for nesting and roosting and open country for  hunting. Streamside groves in deserts make an ideal environment. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy Brian E. Small)

 audubon.org

Hoot
Alarm
Bill snap and squeal near nest

Red-tailed Hawk

This is the most widespread and familiar large hawk in North America. An inhabitant of open country, this soaring bird is no stranger to the desert. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (courtesy Tom Vezo)

call

Gambel’s Quail

The Sonoran desert is home to this distinctive bird, often abundant near desert streams and waterholes. Often found around mesquite thickets, foraging flocks are called coveys. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org

song
call

Costa’s Hummingbird

The desert might seem like a bad place for a creature that feeds at flowers, but it is the favored habitat for this hummingbird. (audubon.org)

 audubon.org (Sid & Shirley Rucker)

song

Bird audio links copyrighted by National Audubon Society Bird Song Collection.

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