Articles by Dena Greenwood
Dena Greenwood, the store manager of Jay’s Bird Barn in Sedona, publishes a monthly article in The Camp Verde Bugle.
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Eric Moore, the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, publishes an article about bringing wild
birds to your backyard in The Daily Courier every Thursday.
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Breeding season for wild birds is still in full swing. Many bird species in the Central Highlands have two or three clutches during their nesting season. They will raise one brood to maturity and then turn right around and start all over again with a new clutch of eggs.
As juveniles fledge (leave the nest), it is not uncommon for these babies to show up at backyard bird feeders, where, in spite of their size, they beg and carry on in an attempt to get their parents to feed them. They do this even though they are just as big as their parents and are probably more than capable of feeding themselves.
Read more: Confused by what you are seeing in your yard?
I finally saw my first baby quail of the summer this past Wednesday! I can’t believe it has taken me so long to see baby quail this year. It was a small family. I saw only one adult, and four babies, who were already ‘teenager’ sized.
Last week I used an expression in my column that describes bird behavior after breeding season winds down – post-breeding dispersal. Today’s column will delve into this topic more deeply.
Read more: Post-breeding behavior in wild birds
The arrival of our summer monsoon rains this past week also marked the beginning of “hummingbird season.” While that thought may seem a little odd, there really is a season when there is more hummingbird activity than any other time of year—and it coincides with our monsoon season.
In winter we have the dark eyed juncos and white crowned sparrows. In spring we have the lazuli buntings, tanagers, and orioles. But our summers belong to the hummingbirds. From now until the first part of September, hummingbird numbers will be going up, up and up every week.
Read more: Monsoon season marks beginning of hummingbird season
On Saturday, I led a Jay’s Bird Barn–sponsored bird walk to Stricklin Park and Butte Creek Trail on Sherwood Drive, just off Thumb Butte Road, north of Hassayampa Village Lane.
Three very different habitats overlap in the park—ponderosa pine, pinyon/oak/juniper, and riparian. The diversity of habitats results in a rich variety of bird species. We enjoyed watching an active Cooper’s hawk nest with young, a hummingbird nest that was incredibly camouflaged and an active Bewick’s wren nest.
Read more: A tale of observing nature in action
The family of ravens nested in our yard again this year. However, now that the babies are out of the nest, they are being somewhat mischievous—which is not too surprising for ravens. They are so smart! They are incredibly good at analyzing and solving complex problems. In the last two weeks, they have dismantled two of my hanging suet feeders to get at the suet cakes inside.
In one instance, they managed to remove the suet feeder from the wire hook – which I have yet to find – so I have not been able to rehang the feeder. In the other instance, they managed to open the suet cage and steal the entire suet cake! Talk about greedy. Fortunately, the hook and suet cage were still in place. I have hopefully outsmarted them by using a carabiner, so they cannot open the door of the cage. Let’s see if they can figure that out!
Read more: Column: Unruly ravens and mobbing mockingbirds
I am embarrassed to admit it, but I visited Yellowstone National Park this past week for the first time in my life. Months ago my son, Travis Jay (as in Jay’s Bird Barn), invited me to accompany him on a trip to the park. This past week I spent time in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah and was amazed by how green it was everywhere we went.
We spent time in the park on four consecutive days. While the emphasis of the trip was not strictly bird watching, I managed to squeeze in quite a bit of birding when I wasn’t looking at bison, elk, antelope, bear, deer, coyote and fox. Yes, I really did see all of those mammal species—and more. The park was truly spectacular.
Read more: Yellowstone National Park – A trip of a lifetime
Few things are as amazing as the development of baby birds inside an egg. To think what happens in an egg – and how quickly that development takes place – is just incredible!
There are two words describing the degree of development in young birds inside an egg – precocial and altricial. Gambel’s quail is a good example of a common bird species in our area that illustrates precocial development.Read more: The marvel of development inside an egg
On Wednesday of last week, we opened a new Jay’s Bird Barn location in Flagstaff. Needless to say, I have been spending a lot of time in Flagstaff over the last few weeks and it has been interesting to see firsthand the varieties of birds that occur at this elevation, in a predominantly ponderosa pine habitat.
Any bird watching in Flagstaff up to this point has been at the store which is in a shopping center setting. As you might imagine I see a lot of common ravens every day, but I also see a lot of American crows. In the twenty five years I have lived in Prescott I have only see a crow one time! Crows, however, are abundant in Flagstaff, perhaps as common as ravens are here.Read more: Bird seed preferences vary based on habitat