Sunday, March 19, 2006

Cactus wren ... part 2

Walked over to the levee yesterday morning to look at the Thrasher's nest. Heard a rustling at the top of the cholla above me.


and a Cactus Wren poked its head out of a nest. I don't know which one of us was more startled. I whipped around and managed to get a photo before it flew off:


According to the National Wildlife Federation web site, eNature.com
It is easy to spot an area inhabited by Cactus Wrens because, like other members of the family, they build many "dummy" nests, which are never used for breeding but serve as roosting places. These nests are usually so well guarded by sharp spines that it is difficult to understand how the birds can use them without being impaled. They are late sleepers and an early bird-watcher may surprise them still dozing in the snug nest.
So that accounts for the multiple nests. There are three evident in this particular jumping cholla. I don't know how to tell if one is a breeding nest.

Got a couple of shots of the wren when it flew to a nearby tree. Such a beautiful bird!



Also managed to get a piece of jumping cholla hooked on my jeans. Which prompted me to note that even when I walk on our own property I need to carry two important desert hiking tools: a comb and scotch tape.

6 comments:

Endment said...

What a fun encounter! The Cactus Wren is a very beautiful bird... I miss getting to see it here in the east.
Photos are great and the information is appreciated

T. Beth said...

Nice photos of a lucky encounter!

Today, a Cactus Wren was hunting spiders under the dry shelter of my back porch as the rain poured down. Just last night, a spider came parachuting down from the porch eaves and landed in my hair, so it was getting really spidery out there! Now it's almost spider-free thanks to the wonderful Cactus Wren. :-)

Pam in Tucson said...

endment and t.beth - It was lucky, wasn't it? I just looked up and shot a couple of photos - sometimes you don't know if you've caught the shot until it's on the computer.

t.beth - Lucky you, with your own spider hunting Cactus Wren. You have the coolest experiences.

chiefbiscuit said...

What a beautiful wren!
We could do with some spider-eating variety wrens around our house. I guess the fantails wil have to do.

Laura said...

How wonderful that you were able to get a shot of the wren in the nest! Great reflexes! I've just discovered your site and am thrilled, so the discovery trail goes both ways! I hope soon to do a blog post about a couple of wonderful naturalist sites and I will add yours to the list (if I may) when the time comes.

Pam in Tucson said...

chiefbiscuit - I looked up the Fantail - so appropriately named. I found a site of New Zealand birds - they are so lovely and I'll enjoy reading about them. I think The Rifleman is still my favourite.

laura - Welcome to my site. I'm a bit embarrassed that people are labelling it a naturalist's site, since I know very little about natural history. Actually, it's supposed to be a chronicle of my struggles learning digital photography. The nature part is incidental. I'm sure I'll continue posting beautiful things in nature as I find them, but as soon as I retire completely, I plan to be photographing other subjects, too.