A verdin perches on a prickly pear spine with a line of fruit juice running down its front in the Troon neighborhood of Scottsdale, Arizona in September 2019

The verdin were looking a bit ragged, some unlike this one didn’t have much of the normal yellow coloring in the face. They were all wearing damp maroon neckties, a temporary adornment not because they had been bathing in the blood of their enemies but because they had been eating the fruit of the prickly pear. When I got home I found a nice paper online that confirmed my suspicion that this is the time of the year when they molt.

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