Friday, June 24, 2011

Ash-throated Flycatcher Bird

When I was a child my mom always wanted to know what kind of bird it was that made a noise that, to her, sounded as if it was saying 'come here, come here'. Since she thought it sounded like it was saying that I have always thought so, too. We could always hear the bird but could never get a good look at one. Usually we only hear this bird when we would go camping, or hiking in the mountains or desert. Since we have moved to the Tumbleweed Crossing I have discovered what the bird is. It is the Ash-throated Flycatcher. There are lots of different flycatcher birds all over the world and several different kinds in the US. All are similar and I didn't know what the proper name for our kind of flycatcher was until recently when I finally found it on the internet. These interesting little birds are kind-of built like a swallow only larger. They are mostly grayish on back, wings, head, and tail, but have a dull yellowish color to their belly area. Males and females look alike. They disappear in the fall and winter. I assume they migrate south probably to somewhere in Mexico. But the come here to nest. I usually have one or two pairs near my house each summer. They usually build their nests in a cholla cactus just on the edge of our property but this year they built in a cottonwood tree next to the horse pens, and hay shed. Every time I walk by it they fly off yelling 'come here, come here'. But return quickly and watch what I am doing as I feed, water, or pet horses. I had seen the nest before I knew which bird was using it. I had thought it might be an English sparrow nest as it had so many pieces of string, paper, tumbleweed sticks, and a piece of cloth in it. It was a couple of days before I actually saw a flycatcher on it which can't be seen in the photo of the nest. I welcome all flycatchers as they eat lots and lots and lots of flying insects especially flies which is where they get their name. I have seen them perched on a tree or power line and suddenly fly down to scoop up an unseen insect and then back to their perch they go. They will do this over and over. They come in to the water I keep in hubcaps in the back yard each evening.

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