On Pins & Needles

A curve-billed thrasher perches on a chain fruit cholla on the Marcus Landslide Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in December 2018

No matter how many times I witness it I can’t quite wrap my head around how birds can fly in at full speed and land on a cactus with densely packed spines, such as this curve-billed thrasher on a chain fruit cholla. I adore this cholla (and the similar teddy bear cholla) but they are best appreciated at arm’s length, they are even more fearsome than they look.

Two For Breakfast

Two curve-billed thrashers perch atop the fruits of a saguaro, both of their beaks caked in dried pulp, as one eats as the other watches on the Marcus Landslide Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in July 2019

I thought there might be a tussle when the thrasher on the right flew onto the saguaro as the other ate from one of the fruits but perhaps they were a pair as they got along fine. They had both been enjoying their breakfast as their beaks were caked in dried pulp.

A Warm Welcome

A curve-billed thrasher perches in a tree covered in berries early on a December morning along the Marcus Landslide Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona

Last night we had a lovely time with my aunt and uncle who were in town. Before dinner we took them up to show them the new house and as I stepped out of the car a curve-billed thrasher serenaded me from across the street. This lovely thrasher is from December on the Marcus Landslide Trail, I’ve been itching to get back to this trail but it’s really close to the new house so I’ve been focusing on other trails when I have both time and energy to go out.

Thrash Song

A curve-billed thrasher sings atop a saguaro early on a spring morning along Brown's Ranch Road in McDowell Sonoran Preserve

After a hike up to Inspiration Viewpoint this morning when it was too windy for my liking, the day turned lovely and I’ve spent the rest of the morning and afternoon relaxing on the back porch. At the moment there are house finches and sparrows atop the feeder while below are Gambel’s quail, mourning doves, and Eurasian collared doves. A pair of curve-billed thrashers have been drifting in and out throughout the day, making their presence known with loud whistles. This one I saw singing atop a saguaro six months ago while hiking early one morning on Brown’s Ranch Road in McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

The Night Owl & The Early Bird

A curve-billed thrasher sings atop a saguaro in the early morning light on the Jane Rau Trail in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona

I’m a night owl in a land of early birds. It wasn’t a good feeling when the alarm rang out at 4:30am but it was a great feeling when the sun tipped over the mountains and illuminated the curve-billed thrasher serenading me atop a saguaro. I love how gingerly it appears to be stepping on its prickly perch but in truth the birds fly onto these saguaros with great speed and alacrity.