Drought and Shrinking Western Wood Peewee Habitat

Western Wood Peewee (Contopus sordidulus) Takes Over West Lawn

A new visitor to my lawn this spring, a Western Wood Peewee, has begun capturing the aerial insects on the west side of the house.  Two pairs of Black Phoebes (Sayornis nigricans) patrolled the yards last year.  Until four years ago, my pastures were irrigated and there was only one Phoebe pair in the yard.  Others hunted over the pastures and ponds.  Peewees sometimes perched on the pasture fence, but I never saw one in the yard before this year.  Now the pastures are all dry and some crowding is inevitable, but will three flycatcher families be too many?

The Western and Eastern Wood Peewees are very similar.  Both have relatively short legs and dull eye rings, but their songs are distinctive.  Of course the WWP is best :).

This Peewee is ranked S5 by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, meaning that it is not in danger of extinction.  As the regional drought continues, however, this and many other species that prefer riparian areas may begin to decline.  Read more about Arizona bird conservation status.


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