Saturday, July 25, 2015

Amazing Lesser Nighthawk Mother

Lesser nighthawks, which are very common in the Tucson area this time of year, are often seen soaring over the desert in the evening. During the day, they can occasionally be found roosting or nesting on the desert floor. Yes. Nesting. On the bare ground, often with no more shade than a creosote bush. 
As this photo shows, they are very well camouflaged, and that apparently serves them well.

Despite their name, nighthawks are not raptors; they are insect-eaters, and soar in the evening, gathering flying bugs into their very wide mouths with the help of "whiskers." The young are semi-precocial, which means that after they are hatched they do not need the constant care of a parent, as many nesting birds (doves, robins, etc.) do, but can move about and hide. They still depend on their parents, however, to bring them food until they are strong enough to fly on their own. 

When a birder and I saw the nighthawk today on our bird walk, she seemed fidgety. We wondered if it was due to all the bugs brought out by the extreme humidity, but apparently she was just getting ready to resettle herself and turn her eggs:

 Which she did, and which we were lucky enough to observe and videotape. By the way, birds such as nighthawks and doves that nest in the desert sun in the summer do so to keep their eggs COOL.

Here's the video:

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

White-winged babies everywhere!

Anyone who knows me or has followed this blog for any length of time knows that I LOVE LOVE LOVE white-winged doves. In our new house, there are several white-winged nests in various locations, and I've been seeing fledglings everywhere. Here are photos of three of the latest white-wingeds to grace the world. They are very unassuming and kind of geeky-looking, but so shy and sweet. Click here for the rather alarming tale of an extremely klutzy white-winged baby.

This little guy has been hanging out with the pottery and ceramic ducks on the wall of my private patio
And these little beauties have been making themselves invisible among the rocks on the edge of the front porch