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Tonight’s image is of a Western Bluebird.  I believe that this bird is a female.  Males are more intensely colored and their heads are entirely blue rather than mottled as is the case with this bird.

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According to the field guides Western Bluebirds’ year-round range includes parts of southern Arizona.  That may be so but I have never seen these birds in the Tucson area except during the winter months.  And, I have only seen them in one specific location, within about 200 yards of the visitors’ center at Sabino Canyon.  I have observed a small flock of about a dozen of these birds hanging out near the visitors’ center each winter for the past four years.  Invariably, they are gone by March 1.  I photographed this bird over at Sabino Canyon at the end of December.

They are certainly attractive little birds.  Bluebirds are insectivores but there must be something else at Sabino Canyon that attracts them to the area by the visitors’ center.  I have seen them feeding on mistletoe berries, a forage that attracts other species — Phainopepla and Northern Mockingbirds — as well.  There is an awful lot of mistletoe in the flat desert near the canyon’s entrance and it’s likely that there may be other flocks of these pretty little birds hanging out in locations besides the visitors’ center.  I just haven’t seen them.

Image made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture preferred setting, ISO 400, f7.1 @ 1/2500.

One response to “Bluebird”

  1. Tom Munson says :

    Beautiful image, Steve.

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