Canyon Mockingbird

I’ve been trying to expand my horizon a bit recently by exploring a few venues that I haven’t previously visited.  The results so far have been mixed.  I’ve had some nice walks that have produced no photos and a few others that have been moderately successful.

A few weeks ago I “discovered” a canyon on Tucson’s west side in the Tucson mountains.  I use the word “discovered” advisedly because, judging from all of the shoe prints I saw there, a lot of other people have discovered the place as well.  At any rate, it’s a charming little canyon that cuts through the mountains.  It’s about a mile long, open at both ends, and surrounded by walls that rise up to about 100 feet above the canyon floor.  When I visited the place the first time I had the wrong camera/lens setup for wildlife photography so I was limited to observing.  However, the place looked promising.  I saw several birds but also a herd of about nine Mule Deer.  That whetted my appetite for a return trip.

I went back early one morning about a week ago.  Sadly, I saw no deer on this hike.  I did see hundreds of deer tracks and, a bit ominously, the very large footprints of a mountain lion.

This canyon obviously rates further exploration!  In the meantime, however, I was able to capture the image of a very cooperative Northern Mockingbird, who was enjoying the stillness of the canyon floor and the warm sunshine that penetrated all the way to the bottom.

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When Louisa and I lived in Atlanta we’d see Mockingbirds virtually every day.  In that community they are one of the most commonly viewed larger songbirds.  Here, it’s a different story.  They are definitely fewer in number than they are in the eastern United States.  One tends to see them out in the desert where they prefer to roost on mesquites and other low-growing trees.    They are members of the mimid family of birds and are famous for their tendency to mimic other birds’ songs and calls.  Mockingbirds are territorial and will guard their turf vigorously against other birds that are perceived as interlopers.

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I may see this bird again on my next walk in the canyon.  I doubt that it will stray very far from “its” tree.

Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, aperture priority setting, ISO 500, f6.3 @ 1/3200.

2 responses to “Canyon Mockingbird”

  1. Tom Munson says :

    Beautiful images, Steve. Love the setting.

  2. tkiiatmindspringcom says :

    You’re right, we do have a lot of mockingbirds in Atlanta; this may be the first you’ve shown us from the Tucson area.

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