Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Nestbuilding Curve-billed Thrasher

-- Click on photos to get larger images --

There's a small jungle of cholla, palo verde trees and small mesquite trees on the levee behind our house.

There are the remains of old nests in the jumping chollas. On Sunday morning, I spotted the beginnings of a new nest.



Later on I went back to investigate further and found the nest-builder, a Curve-billed Thrasher, Toxostoma curvirostre. In the Sonoran Desert, Curve-billed Thrashers live where mesquite or cholla cactus is present, in shrubby areas, open brushy woodland, and around towns.

Curve-billed Thrashers quite commonly build their nests in jumping chollas. They build a deep cup of twigs, lined with grasses or other fine materials. They lay three to five bluish-green eggs, spotted with reddish-brown.I watched the Thrasher constructing more of the nest. It didn't seem to be at all concerned about my being nearby.





I watched it until it flew away.

11 comments:

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Wow... You have some good pics here. I am always pleased to drop by. :-)

Rexroth's Daughter said...

Pam-- Such wonderful photographs. I've never even heard of this bird, and here you've got the most fantastic collection of photographs. Great nestbuilding activity. Stunning.

T. Beth said...

I always wonder how they avoid injury from all of the cactus spines. The Curve-billed Thrashers in my yard always nest in chollas because these nests are safe from common nest raiders like Rock Squirrels and Gopher Snakes.

Endment said...

Oh Pam, these are wonderful! What a impressive sequence of photos!

The last time I watched a Curved-billed Thrasher was on a lovely spring day in New Mexico. Brings back great memories.

Pam in Tucson said...

Cynthia, RD, t.beth, endment - It was a lot of fun watching this bird building so carefully. This afternoon I saw the pair - one was bringing nesting materials to the other one, who was carefully placing them. Didn't have time to photograph, unfortunately. Catch tomorrow's post and see what attitude this great little bird has.

Roseann at Sonoran Desert Almanac said...

Wonderful photo series, Pam - great job! I love the thrasher giving you the "eye" series, too - that is so thrasher.
Ours are singing sweetly now, and starting up their nesting, too.

Pam in Tucson said...

roseann - It's great to have this spring activity in the desert, even though the weather hasn't give us a clear delineation from winter into spring. I look forward to reading more about the animals and birds that visit your area.

Sonia said...

What an amazing pictures, Pam.
So interesting this plant named cholla cactus. This bird found a safe home to make his nest, with so many spine around.
Great threads of photos!

Pam in Tucson said...

This was fun to photograph, Sonia. No fear of me from this bird - it was far too busy. Since then I've seen the pair of birds building together, but only in dim light. I don't want to frighten them by using flash, so I'll have to wait.

Anonymous said...

One of the thrashers nesting in a cholla cactus in our yard strangled on a piece of plastic string netting. very sad, I may have removed the string because they didn't mind my visiting the nest. We get two clutches of eggs in the same nest 2 yrs in a row. Ravens are nesting for a 2nd yr. also-woopee. I like your site. Roger

Pam in Tucson said...

Roger - Sad about the thrasher that was strangled, but happy that you have repeat nesters. Ravens, too? I've never seen ravens nesting; we don't have them in our locale, although I have seen them out in the desert. I gather you live in a southwest desert area? Thanks very much for visiting my blog. Do you have one?