Thursday, January 5, 2012

Ultimate Blog Challenge Day Five: National Bird Day

In honor of National Bird Day, I pointed my webcam out the picture window I look through while I write. The mesquite screening the window provides cover to cactus wrens, broad-billed hummingbirds, white-winged doves, thrashers and Gila woodpeckers, along with grackles and the occasional overfed suburban pigeon. In front of the mesquite you can see the Cereus peruvianus that the hummingbirds love so much, and off to the left and right of the cactus stand the date palms that keep the white-winged doves and the thrashers as round as tennis balls. 

The birds stayed out of camera range the first time, but I'll keep trying. I did not stage the way the branches cross. The star you see is how those branches grew naturally. If you don't have a picture window, you can create one by installing three to four standard, double-hung windows side-by-side for about the same cost as an exotic bird, its supplies, and a cage or aviary. By watching the birds native to your area instead of buying a parrot, lovebird or finch, you can help prevent the extirpation - which means regional extinction - of native birds.

The Arizona Bird Committee lists four bird species as extirpated - or regionally extinct - that used to breed in this state: the Northern masked bobwhite quail, the California condor, the Aplomado falcon and the thick-billed parrot. Watching native birds provides far more entertainment than any caged bird ever could, so help fight regional extirpation by setting up your own observation station. Plant native shrubs, small trees and a variety of flowers, then sit back and enjoy the view.

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