Posts Tagged ‘White-Tailed Kite’

A dull version of the Violet-Crowned Hummingbird, a bird that sneaks across Mexico’s border into Arizonia.

Aging My Way:

          I keep a list of all the bird species I see flying free in the wild. So far, I’ve seen 712. It’s been that way for a while, but I thought I had finally found two new ones this weekend.

As I set and partied outside to celebrate a friend’s birthday in the town of Sahuarita, a brown hummingbird suddenly caught my attention. This was after another bird flew into my sight and landed in a scenic dead tree.

I suspected this latter bird was a kite, but I wasn’t sure what species. My host Doris said someone had told her it was a Mexican bird, which made sense since we were partying in Southeast Arizonia near the border with Mexico.

I had no idea the specific species of either bird until I got home and looked in my birding field guides. I have two. My favorite is National Geographic’s Birds of North America. But I also use Sibley’s Guide to Birds, when I’m stumped or want a second opinion.

While I couldn’t say with surety what the Kite species was, because I didn’t get that close a look, I basically ruled out anything but a White-Tailed Kite, a bird I had previously seen on the Texas Gulf Coast at the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge. This meant that even if my identification was spot on, it still wouldn’t count as a new bird.

I was more confident about identifying the little brown hummer. Despite its plainness, I was about 90 percent certain it was a Violet-Crowned Hummingbird, as it’s the only brown hummer that can be seen in North America, and then normally only in Southeastern Arizonia. This one was most likely a juvenile whose crown hadn’t come into its color yet, or one whose color wasn’t visible to me because I wasn’t looking through my binoculars at it. Some violet crowns, or so my field guide alluded to,  have color crowns that are duller or darker.

Anyway, I would really like to go back and have a second look at the hummer through my binoculars. I’m still kind of hesitant about adding it to my list – so, despite my high hopes my list continues to stand at 712.  

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is an avid reader, the author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), is always searching for life’s silver lining, and these days aging her way – and that’s usually not gracefully.

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