Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Birds in Vegas

Since we now have a big window in our kitchen I’ve been looking out at that side of the yard more often. I have a humming bird feeder hanging right outside the window, and like to watch those little guys come and go. We have three feeders around, each take a cup of solution and right now I’m refilling each of them every week. We have a group of birds that nest in the olive trees out front, and stay here year ‘round. Las Vegas is also on a migratory route and in the Spring/Fall we get some unusual birds stopping by for a few days on their trips back and forth. We also have a different group of birds that live up on Mt. Charleston and come down for the winter to get out of the snow. Mostly we have Anna’s which are here all year and Black-chinned humming birds which migrate to Mexico during the winter.

There is usually one hummer that sits near each feeder and guards it, chasing others away that come by to eat. We also see them in the evening catching insects over the grass out back.

We have a large peach tree out back with a trunk that is about a foot in diameter (30cm). We noticed a series of holes all around the trunk that ooze sap, and wondered what was causing it. I assumed it was some type of woodpecker or sapsucker, but we had not seen any in action. At times we heard a woodpecker knocking away and once in a while would quickly see one working away. Last week B was looking out back and thought she saw something moving. She pulled out our binoculars and saw this guy – can you see it?

Yes, you have to look closer.

He’s about eight inches high (20cm) with black and grey stripes and a red head. We think it’s a young male, as the ones we have seen before were much brighter and over twice this size. He hung around on that tree for about a week, spending most of the day right about there pecking on the trunk, but moving up higher in the tree when we walked out back. We’re assuming he was migrating back up the mountain and just stayed a while where the feeding was good.

We live in an area that is zoned RR – Rural Residential. That means we can have a small number of animals and birds on our property. Some people still have horses, and quite a few have chickens. Our next door neighbor started keeping chickens a few years ago, and also raises a few turkeys for Thanksgiving. We wake up to the roosters greeting the sunrise, and have been hearing a turkey over there for quite a while. I finally went over and asked to see the turkey, and this is what he looks like.

He’s about eleven months old and weighs over fifty pounds (about 23kg). His buddy went for dinner last month and weighed in at around 45 pounds dressed. Neighbor Bob cut him up and smoked the meat, as nobody around had an oven that would take a bird that size. The birds we buy usually are around 12 pounds (5kg) but get them up to 18 pounds (8kg) when we have a big group over. A bird that size just about fills our large oven. Bob’s not sure how long this guy will last – he’s already gotten two chicks in preparation for next Thanksgiving (the end of November) along with thirty more baby chickens for general consumption. He keeps a dozen or so back there for egg production.

So those are the birds we see around our house. Others that are here all the time include small grey finches and sparrows, doves and pigeons and black grackles. Sometimes a red breasted robin flies through, and sometimes a bright yellow finch can be found on the water fountain, but mostly we get dull looking birds.


angryparsnip said...

I love Gila Woodpecker. Such a beautiful bird.
How luck you are (me too) to live in an area where we get to see so many birds all year.

cheers, parsnip

.•♫•. Nancy .•♫•. said...

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Coucou Joe !!!

Je te remercie pour cette publication intéressante concernant les oiseaux à Las Vegas !
J'aime beaucoup !!!!
Merci pour les explications et les photos !

bonne continuation et je t'envoie de
GROS BISOUS d'Asie !!!

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Rob said...

Looking forward to seeing all the different birds in the American Southwest. Until you posted about them a while back I hadn't realised you got hummingbirds in Nevada.

elizabeth said...

I enjoyed bird watching with you.
I saw a cardinal today in NYC which was cheerful.
Also robins, sparrows and .......pigeons...of course

.•♫•. Nancy .•♫•. said...

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Bonjour et merci Joe
pour ton passage sur mon petit blog :o)
GROS BISOUS d'Asie :o) !!!
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Blond Duck said...

Aww! Our hummingbirds have been coming too!

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Its so lovely having birds in the garden hey Joe. We have heaps too, only so very different from yours. You have given me an idea of where to hang a bird feeder for the smaller birds that I don't find that easy to snap..will let you know how it goes.

.•♫•. Nancy .•♫•. said...

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Hello à toi Joe ! :o)
et surtout BONNES PÂQUES !!! :o)
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Daly said...

Thanks for sharing Joe! We need to finish our backyard to attract birds for our cats to watch. I'd love to keep chicken for eggs but I don't think we are zoned for that.