Did you know that Arizona is one of the best bird-watching states in the country? Scottsdale summers bring some of the most exciting bird viewing that the whole family can enjoy right from the comfort of your backyard.
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As of 2011, the Arizona Bird Committee had confirmed 556 different species of wild birds in Arizona. Here are some of the more commonly seen birds in the Scottsdale area:
Cactus Wren – The Cactus Wren was adopted as the Arizona state bird in 1973. This 6″ to 8″ bird makes its nest by creating a hole in the trunk and arms of saguaro cacti. Interestingly, it creates multiple nests, but only settles in one of them – the rest are decoys.
Gambel’s Quail – This ground dwelling bird has a rounder body and is easily recognized by the feather plume on its head. They nest in trees or well-protected bushes. Females tend to build nests on the ground, but pick well-hidden locations. In residential communities, you will often see families of these birds “running” across the roads.
Woodpecker – Woodpeckers are typically 6.5″ to 14″ long. They announce their presence and their territories by “drumming” their beaks against something that will produce a loud noise – often metal chimney caps, gutters, roof vents and air conditioning units. They typically “drum their territory” between March and June each year. They eat wood-boring insects such as termites and carpenter bees. Woodpeckers make their nests by drilling cavities in trees, cacti, and sometimes the side of homes!
Roadrunner – Roadrunners are about 20″ to 24″ long and 12 ” tall. They are fast on their feet and can run up to 15 miles an hour. Roadrunners can fly, but rarely do. They hunt lizards, insects, smaller birds and even baby quail. Roadrunners are the most fictionalized Arizona bird – for the record, they do not make the sound “beep beep,” but coyotes do like to hunt them.
Hummingbird – There are 18 species of hummingbirds in Arizona – more than any other state. They are typically 3.5″ to 5″ in size, and come in a variety of colors, depending on the species. Hummingbirds are particularly fun to watch – hanging a special feeder for them will help keep them still for better viewing and photo opportunities. Your local nursery can recommend special bushes, plants and trees, to help attract them to your yard and provide a place for nests. In October, the annual hummingbird migration begins as these beautiful creatures head south to Mexico to spend the winter. A true snowbird indeed!
Hawks and Falcons – Pack a lunch and head out of town for some of the best viewing of hawks and falcons that our beautiful deserts can provide. Arizona is home to Harris hawks, Red-tailed hawks, Marsh and Coopers hawks, and not to forget our Peregrine falcons. This smaller hawk is a master huntsmen and can reach an airspeed of nearly 200 mph! Definitely one of the most impressive of Arizona’s “muscle birds.”
Throw on some tennis shoes, dust off the old binoculars and explore Arizona!
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21000 N. Pima Rd., #100, Scottsdale, AZ 85255