Nature Notes

January 18, 2013

Southern Arizona-Santa Catalina Mountains

Filed under: Arizona,Birds — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 6:00 am
Rock Wren

Rock Wren

Located in the Coronado National Forest, the Santa Catalina mountains rise on the Catalina Highway to over 9000 feet from the desert floor north of the city of Tucson.
You start up the mountains from a base filled with Saguaro cactus, the eastern portion of the Saguaro National Park, and you will find the birds of the Sonoran Desert, such as Gambel’s Quail , Gila Woodpecker , Black-tailed Gnatcatcher , Verdin and Black-throated Sparrow .
Farther up near the Molino Basin is an area of Arizona Oak as well as Blue and Emory Oaks. Typical birds of this area include Bridled Titmouse , Mexican Jay , Rock Wrens and Scott’s Orioles as well as the hunting Cooper’s Hawk below.
Cooper\'s Hawk

Past Molino Basin is an area that was badly scarred by a fire in 2003 but recovery has been apparent. Bear Canyon at milepost 10 is an excellent area particularly favored by warblers in migration and breeding. Commonly found are the western or “Audubon’s” Yellow-rumped Warbler , Grace’s Warbler , Painted Redstarts , Black-throated Gray Warbler , and the spectacular Red-faced Warbler . They are joined by Arizona and Acorn Woodpecker , Western Wood-Pewee , Hutton’s Vireo and Yellow-eyed Junco .


Red-faced Warbler

Red-faced Warbler

As you get above 7000 feet, you get into stands of Ponderosa Pine and can expect to find Band-tailed Pigeon , Steller’s Jay , Mountain Chickadee , Pygmy Nuthatch , and Northern Raven . Near the top you will find species found in the Canadian Life Zone.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hi, I used to live in Clarkdale AZ. Elevation 3500′ (on the outside edge of Cottonwood. While there, a small pair of birds adopted a small birdhouse and raised several families in it. The birdhouse was about 5″ x 3″ and had a hole perhaps 3/4 diameter but the perch had been lost. These little birds were not much bigger than hummingbirds, but as best I could identify, they were pale gray. I called them “the little silver birds”. As best I can recall their call was a high pitched “deet!”. There was a mesquite tree about 50′ away and it appeared that they fed the babies a constant diet of half inch dark colored worms which they seemed to quickly find in the mesquite tree. I wondered if you might be able to help me to ID them. I tried to use Step by Step, but as soon as I told them it was small and shaped like a hummingbird, it was determined to stuff a hummer down my throat and would not give me gray for a color. I was very fond of these Little Silver Birds and the pair came back every
    spring for 3 years to nest in the little bird house.

    Comment by Sandy Martin — May 31, 2015 @ 11:01 pm

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