Gilded, Dusted

A male gilded flicker looks to the side as he pauses during a saguaro breakfast as he perches atop the flowers on the Chuckwagon Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in May 2020

A gilded flicker shows off his red mustache as he pauses during a saguaro breakfast, his face and bill dusted in pollen. We had a similar flicker in Oregon, Emma always let me know when one came into the backyard as they were favorites of ours.

Land Ho!

A male Gambel's quail looks out from atop a blooming saguaro, his black face completely dusted in yellow pollen, taken on the connecting trail to the Latigo Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve in Scottsdale, Arizona in May 2018

I’m not sure why mariners coined the term “crow’s nest” for the lookout atop the mast as “quail’s perch” seems more apropos. Taken in May of 2018, normally his face would be black but on this morning it was coated in the yellow pollen of saguaro blossoms.

White-Winged Love

A white-winged dove perches atop a saguaro cactus, it's face covered in pollen

In case you were wondering what a white-winged dove looks like when it isn’t plunged headlong into a saguaro blossom, here you can see most of the bird apart from its feet. The golden color to the entire front of its head is from pollen, making readily apparent how the birds pollinate the saguaros as they stick their heads in the flowers from one cactus to the next. Much to my delight white-wings are one of the most common birds in our backyard so I get to see them every day of the week.