Saturday, May 27, 2017

New Sighting

I've heard about them from the neighbors ever since we moved down here. Of course I believed them. They had to  be more than just another urban myth. After all, it took a couple years for me to spot actual tarantulas out in the desert, over a year to see coyotes in the neighborhood, and until a year ago to see a javelina. And while I've still not spotted scorpions or rattlers down here, my reaction is not disbelief, just gratitude.

I love watching the various doves, finches, owls, hawks, and especially the Gambels quail with their little topknot black feather. I even feed them, waiting till spring to attract parents with babies. This year the home baby count was one family with a single, likely day-old chick, and another with 4, either 2 or three days old. Unfortunately the baby quail sighting was limited to a total of about five minutes in a single day.

Too many predators, I guess.

But the bird the neighbors have raved about is the peach faced lovebird. I finally spotted one this morning, while doing a bit of yard cleanup before summer. It sat up on a wire, studying me as I studied it, though I'm sure I'm the only one of us who was regretting that the camera was all the way through to the opposite end of the house, charging. Perhaps my inactivity upon finally spotting one became boring to the lovebird, as it flew off elsewhere, leaving me to finish my cleaning.

In case you can't look one up - though if you have enough internet connection to be reading this, I can't imagine why - think small parrot slightly larger and fatter than a parakeet, emerald green throughout the body though pictures show some royal blue if you get closer than I was, a tiny white parrot's bill, and a black eye set in a face and throat ranging from peach to rose, depending on the bird.

Native to southwest Africa, it is believed some kept as pets escaped their cages in the Phoenix area and found a habitat well suited to them, including roosting spaces in old woodpecker holes in saguaros. They have been spreading throughout the greater urban area, possibly due to plenty of water sources though they are adapted to dry areas, and an abundance of seeds either from everybody's landscaping or the very popular 20-pound quail seed blocks that folks like me set out.

Either way, I count myself lucky to have seen one.

No comments: