Birds of Coldwater Farm

Introduction
My Birds of Coldwater Farm is complete at last. It is an illustrated guide to 146 bird species seen at Coldwater Farm during the first two decades of the Twenty-first Century. I included photographs, conservation status, and comments on species abundance trends at the Farm. Keywords:  Birds, Coldwater Farm, Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, Conservation, Natural History.

Bird Identification

The photographs in this book will give you a name for many of the birds you see. However, you will also want a field guide. You can find one in most bookstores and you can download an app for your phone. Field guides help you distinguish similar bird species and they provide much more information than this book. Away from my desk, I use the Audubon Society Bird Guide app. It has pictures, recordings, range maps, and descriptions of each species’ preferred habitat and its mating, nesting, and feeding behavior. It also describes nests, eggs, and conservation status. At my desk, I use the fabulous Cornel Lab Birds of North America Online. Both the Audubon app and the Cornel Lab website have simple interactive tools that will let you become an instant success at bird identification (https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/).

Bird Conservation

With concern for the health and survival of the birds, I dug into the published conservation literature on each species. I found that two species at the Farm, the Southwest Willow Flycatcher, and the Yellow-billed Cuckoo are on the U. S. endangered species list and other species are in decline.

The book is available in all the usual places, but since the bookstores and libraries are closed, you have to buy it online or direct from the publisher. This is the Amazon link. The book’s retail price is $39.95, but if you want a PDF copy, it’s free. Click here.

Rogers, Garry. 2020. Birds of Coldwater Farm, Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, Birds Observed  During the First Two Decades of the Twenty-First Century. Coldwater Press, Prescott, AZ. 177 p.

Most of the birds are shown in the Photo Gallery

Birds of Coldwater Farm | Photo Gallery

Photographs of the Birds of Coldwater Farm

Here are pictures of the 137 birds observed at Coldwater Farm through 2017. Click photographs to see photographer credits in image titles. For information on the birds’ conservation status, refer to Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona available from Amazon, Gifts and Games in Humboldt, Arizonaand online.

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How Bird-Friendly Are Your Windows?

GR: Here’s a guest post from Sally Perkins.

https://unsplash.com/photos/4EMljshk4kk

Bird-Friendly Windows

It’s our responsibility to take care of all animals on this planet, to protect them from harm and keep them from extinction. With that in mind, we need to pay a little more attention to the windows we’re installing both on high-rise buildings and in our homes. Astonishingly, around 1,000,000,000 birds die every year in the United States as they unwittingly fly into the windows of our man-made structures.

Despite that not all birds die on impact, many of them eventually perish regardless; a devastating result of the internal damage, bleeding and brain trauma caused by the collision. The fear is that a number of species, such as the Wood Thrush, Painted Bunting, Warbler, Kentucky Warbler and the Worm-eating Warbler are at risk of becoming extinct if the problem persists.

The good news, however, is that a number of materials and tricks we can use to alert birds to the oncoming danger of a transparent or reflective surface:

1. Angled Glass

2. Fritted Glass

3. Etched or Sandblasted Glass

4. UV-reflective Glass

5. Decals and wind chimes

6. External shutters, including Venetian blinds

7. Tape Strips

8. All-season bug screens

9. External shades and awnings

10. The whitewashing of unused windows

 Contact Sally Perkins:
 

How Bird-Friendly Are Your Windows?

GR: Birds and other wildlife are declining because of these human activities:

  1. habitat destruction (building and farming)
  2. resource harvests (logging, livestock grazing, and water diversion)
  3. habitat deterioration caused by introduced invasive plants
  4. habitat poisoning with pesticides and toxic wastes

 

Black-headed Grosbeaks aren’t as large as Robins, but they are big enough to have trouble perching on bird feeders. Young birds flutter and flap as they learn to use the feeder; occasionally you will see one hanging upside down from the feeder perch, it’s embarrassed blush hidden beneath its fine new feathers. Grosbeaks eat berries and insects, but their large beaks are especially effective with seeds. Their song is a rich warble similar to a robin’s but softer and sweeter (Photo: Male Black-headed Grosbeak above and Lazuli Buntings below by GR).

Numerous issues are present in each of these four topics. For instance, the sounds of our construction machinery is harmful to birds. In the article below, Sally Perkins discusses the hazard that windows create, and offers some solutions.

“It’s our responsibility to take care of all animals on this planet, to protect them from harm and keep them from extinction. With that in mind, we need to pay a little more attention to the windows we’re installing both on high-rise buildings and in our homes. Astonishingly, around 1,000,000,000 birds are killed every year in the United States as they unwittingly fly into the windows of our man-made structures.

Despite the fact that not all birds are killed on impact, a large number of them eventually perish regardless; a devastating result of the internal damage, bleeding and brain trauma caused by the initial collision. The fear is that a number of species, such as the Wood Thrush, Painted Bunting, Warbler, Kentucky Warbler and the Worm-eating Warbler are at risk of becoming extinct if the problem persists.

The good news, however, is that there are a number of materials and tricks we can employ to alert birds to the oncoming danger of a transparent or reflective surface, some of which are listed below.

  • 1. Angled Glass
  • 2. Fritted Glass
  • 3. Etched or Sandblasted Glass
  • 4. UV-reflective Glass
  • 5. Decals and wind chimes
  • 6. External shutters, including Venetian blinds
  • 7. Tape Strips
  • 8. All-season bug screens
  • 9. External shades and awnings
  • 10. The whitewashing of unused windows
–Sally Perkins, PennJersey (Continue reading: Ensuring Your Windows Are Bird Safe.)

Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona Wins Gold

Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona Wins Literary Classics Gold

July 1, 2017 –Literary Classics International Youth Book Awards (LC) announced award winners today. LC previously awarded Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona the LC Seal of Approval. Today the book was honored with the LC Gold Award.

“Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in literature for young readers, takes great pride in its role to help promote literature which appeals to youth while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations.”

Literary Classics Awards Ceremony

This year, Literary Classics International presents awards on Sunday September 3, 2017. The awards event includes a round-table discussion for authors, a writers’ conference, book signing, and authors’ reception in conjunction with the Great American Book Festival.

Excerpt and Book Details

The past decade’s droughts, storms, and spreading deserts show that humanity is changing the Earth. Research coming from many sources shows that worldwide animal extinctions are occurring 100 times faster than in Earth’s previous mass-extinction events recorded in the fossil record.

Extinction isn’t the only concern. Total loss of a species results after years of decline. The Living Planet Index, which measures abundance levels of 14,152 monitored populations of 3,706 vertebrate species, shows that a worldwide crash is occurring. On average, monitored species declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012.

Loggerhead Shrike

Loggerhead Shrike

One of the oldest and most familiar citizen-participation activities is the Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count. Wildlife biologists have used the Bird Count to monitor bird species populations. A recent analysis of the Count’s results show that many U.S. bird species are declining. Some of our most familiar birds appear in current counts less than half as often as they did just 50 years ago. For example, over the past 50 years, sightings of Loggerhead Shrikes, a common Arizona species, declined by 72%. The Shrike in the photograph at left is the only one I have seen in 19 years of watching at my place.

Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) wildlife biologists conclude that at least 58% of Arizona’s native birds are definitely declining and . Another 20% are of possible long-term concern. The U.S. Endangered Species Act protects only 1% of Arizona bird species.

The reason for the declining numbers is not a mystery. Researchers have shown that the declines are due to the impact of human activities, chiefly:

  • habitat destruction (building and farming)
  • resource harvests (logging, livestock grazing, and water diversion)
  • habitat deterioration caused by introduced invasive plants
  • habitat poisoning with pesticides, toxic wastes, and in the case of the oceans, acidification due to CO2 increases and increases in organic runoff from the land.

The human impact is a direct result of human construction, land clearing, and resource consumption. Our total global population is nearing 7.5 billion and we are using the Earth’s renewable resources faster than natural processes replenish them.

Unless we control our population and consumption or unless drought, disease, pollution, and rising temperature control them for us, the environmental impacts of our growth will eventually eliminate upwards of 80% of our bird species.

I believe nature conservation was the great challenge of the 20th Century, and we failed the challenge. Human beings are imposing a mass extinction that now appears destined to wipe out most animals on Earth. I hope readers of this book will recognize the danger and help me find ways to stop the extinctions.

Bird Species Numbers

According to the information published by AZGFD, 551 bird species and subspecies occur in Arizona. Regular residents number 451.

  • World estimate: 10,000
  • U.S. estimate: 1,000
  • Arizona total: 551
  • Arizona birds regularly present: 451
  • Arizona regulars of concern (S1 to S3): 260 (58%)
  • Arizona regulars of possible long-term concern (S4): 95 (21%).
  • ESA Arizona regulars listed endangered: 6 (1%)
  • ESA Arizona regulars listed threatened: 1 (<1%)
  • ESA Arizona regulars of concern: 26 (6%)

Book Details

  • Title:               Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona
  • Pages:           128
  • Identifiers: ISBN 978-1539511786 | LCCN 2016918263
  • Subjects: LCSH Dewey-Humboldt (Ariz.) | Agua Fria River Valley (Ariz.) | Birds–Arizona. | BISAC NATURE / Birdwatching Guides
  • Classification: LCC QL684.A6 .R63 2016 | DDC 598.09791–dc23
  • Download a FREE PDF copy.
  • List Price:       $24.95
  • Description:  This book describes the birds seen around the author’s home in the center of Dewey-Humboldt, a small Arizona town. A desert stream, the Agua Fria River, passes through the town and across land owned by the author. There, the river flood plain supports a 20-acre willow-cottonwood forest. Without houses or trails in its core area, the forest is a safe zone for wildlife. Thousands of birds belonging to more than 100 species stop to rest and forage in the small forest. The Southwest Willow Flycatcher (on the U. S. Endangered Species List) and several other rare bird species use the forest to build nests and raise families. The book lists 127 species observed in and around the forest. For each, the book includes seasonal abundance, conservation status, and a photograph.
  • Reviews
  • Purchase from:
  • Independent bookstores with books in stock
    • Gifts and Games, Humboldt Station, Humboldt, AZ, (928) 227-2775
    • Other bookstores can order the book from their distributor.
  • Internet

 

 

Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona Awarded Literary Classics Seal of Approval

Birds of Dewey-Humboldt Receives Literary Classics Seal of Approval

Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona just received the Literary Classics Seal of Approval (CLC). When the book appeared, I called on readers to watch for errors since I had made the questionable decision to edit the work myself. The CLC Seal suggests that errors were below the ‘intolerable’ threshold.

The book is a finalist for top honors to be announced July 1.

“June 27, 2017. Literary Classics is pleased to announce that the book Birds of Dewey-Humboldt, Arizona, by Garry Rogers, has received the Literary Classics Seal of Approval. The CLC Seal of Approval is a designation reserved for those books which uphold the rigorous criteria set forth by the Literary Classics review committee, a team of individuals with backgrounds in publishing, editing, writing, illustration and graphic design.” –Literary Classics.

“Literary Classics, an organization dedicated to furthering excellence in literature for young readers, takes great pride in its role to help promote literature which appeals to youth while educating and encouraging positive values in the impressionable young minds of future generations. To learn more about Literary Classics, you may visit their website at http://www.clcawards.org or http://www.childrensliteraryclassics.com.&#8221;

Yellow-billed Cuckoos at Coldwater Farm, Arizona

Yellow-billed Cuckoos in the Willows Today

Yellow-billed Cuckoo by mdf

Yellow-billed Cuckoos (Coccyzus americanus) were calling from perches in the willows over my yard this morning. “Yellow-billed Cuckoos are slender, long-tailed birds that manage to stay well hidden in deciduous woodlands. They usually sit stock still, even hunching their shoulders to conceal their crisp white underparts, as they hunt for large caterpillars. Bold white spots on the tail’s underside are often the most visible feature on a shaded perch. Fortunately, their drawn-out, knocking call is very distinctive. Yellow-billed Cuckoos are fairly common in the East but have become rare in the West in the last half-century.” All About Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

I am delighted the birds are present. Ornithologists from the Arizona Game and Fish Department will census birds here this Saturday. Cuckoos along with the Southwest Willow Flycatchers are the principal reason for the visit. Both species are on the U. S. Endangered Species List. Felipe Guerrero saw a fledgling Cuckoo last summer, a sure sign of nesting and more permanent use of our habitat. However, nesting then might have been a single occurrence. Fingers crossed that Saturday’s census discovers nests for both species.

 

Platform Addition for the Justice Democrats

Justice Democrats Platform Omission

Monarch butterfly at Coldwater Farm.

Monarch butterfly at Coldwater Farm.

I agree with the 20 items included in the Justice Democrats platform. My concerns for nature conservation lead me to suggest an addition.

Defend natural systems from damaging uses. The Earth’s reserves of fertile soil, dense forest, fresh water, and wild animals and fish are declining. Overuse driven by commercial exploitation and by simple need is stripping the lands and seas of life. Biodiversity is declining and ecosystems are collapsing. For the benefit of humanity and all other living creatures, we must insist on proper land use. We must insist that national land management agencies in all nations are empowered to monitor, repair, and regulate the use of the land, water, and life without which human life would be impossible.

A Lake District Winter Birdwatching Guide – Craig Manor Hotel

GR:  A Cassin’s Finch perched in a small Mulberry three feet off my right shoulder while I filled the feeder this morning. He hopped about impatiently pausing for big-eyed inspections. Lost his nerve when I replaced the feeder, but I’m sure he was back a minute after I left. Moments shared with wild creatures delight and revive our spirits.  Here’s a fine bird-watching promotional piece for Craig Manor in the Lake District, UK. Beautiful, but we see birds in just about any place with grass, shrubs, or a tree, and some places with none.

Lake District (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

Lake District (Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0)

“We are lucky enough to have many birdwatchers stay with us at Craig Manor. So, this winter we decided to put together this guide to some of the best birdwatching spots in the Lake District.

“We start at Winderemere, which isn’t far from Craig Manor and is a great place to see birds all year round. Wintering Goldeneye join Great Crested Grebes and Red-Breasted Merganser’s on the lake. In fact, the number of waterfowl on Lake Windermere doubles over the winter.

“Dramatic Haweswater Nature Reserve is a fantastic place to go for walks and see wildlife. One of the most impressive, and nosiest, sites in winter is the roosting of thousands of Common Gulls on the reservoir.

“For those of you that prefer forests, you can try Grizedale forest park. Grizdale is is the Lake District’s largest forest and lies between Coniston Water and Esthwaite Water. Winter is a great time to spot some of Grizdale’s smaller, more colourful residents, such as Siskin and Hawfinch.

“If you want to see Redwing and Fieldfare, Cogra Moss is definitely worth visiting. They visit Cogra to escape harsh northern winters.

“We’ve been a bit cheeky and included Leighton Moss. It’s not technically in the Lake District, but as it’s a real birdwatching hotspot and only a 60 mile drive from Coniston we thought it worth mentioning. Here you can see one of nature’s most dramatic displays, a mass starling murmeration.” –Georgia Davies (A Lake District Winter Birdwatching Guide – Craig Manor Hotel).

Bird species vanish from UK due to climate change and habitat loss

GR:  Human population growth, conversion of land to farms and cities, and rising temperatures are driving most species toward extinction. Naturalists are observing sinking populations around the world. As more populations reach zero, extinctions accelerate and will be roaring along by century end. They will not slow until only the most adaptable (weed) species remain. The progress of wildlife loss will eventually begin to cause human population decline. Whether or not our species escapes extinction in the centuries ahead, depends on rapid reversal of population growth and elimination of fossil fuel use. Such turns of events seem unlikely as the enormous wealth of the fossil-fuel companies and the owners of our industry and distribution systems have enthralled our leaders. So call or write your congressmen today. Let them know you will support them if they turn away from wealth and accept their responsibility to lead.

A family of willow warblers at a summer nest site in Scotland. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

“Climate change has already led to the vanishing of some bird species in parts of England, where intensively farmed land gives them no room to adapt to warming temperatures. The revelation, in a new scientific study, contradicts previous suggestions that birds are tracking global warming by shifting their ranges.

Meadow pipit have disappeared from sites in the south of England. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

“The research found that birds that prefer cooler climes, such as meadow pipits, willow tits and willow warblers, have disappeared from sites in south-east England and East Anglia, where intensive crop growing is common.

Meadow pipits, willow tits and willow warblers have disappeared from sites in East Anglia due to crop farming. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

“Birds are facing a double-edged sword from climate change and declines in habitat quality,” said Tom Oliver, at the University of Reading, who led the new study. “In England, birds really look like they are struggling to cope with climate change. They are already being hit with long-term reductions in habitat quality and, for the cold-associated birds, those losses are being further exacerbated by climate change.” (Continue reading: Bird species vanish from UK due to climate change and habitat loss | Environment | The Guardian)