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.

The book’s primary purpose is to serve as a record of the birds at Coldwater Farm. I want future naturalists to know how rich our lives were so they will know what can come again as evolution fills the holes Homo sapiens blew in Earth’s ecosystems.

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, 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

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.

 

Butterflies Decline at Coldwater Farm

Butterfly Decline in Arizona

Coldwater Farm butterflies have declined over the past few years.  This year (2015) was the worst with many of my butterfly/bee flowers going untended. For instance, Mourning Cloaks (Nymphalis antiopa) were present only in late spring and early summer. In earlier years, the Mourning Cloaks were so abundant that I had nominated they to represent the Agua Fria River ecosystem. Perhaps butterfly numbers will rebound in 2016, but knowing nothing of the specific causes of the decline, I have no assurance they will. Click here for a checklist of the butterfly and moth species known to live in Arizona. Here are pictures of a few of the common butterflies and moths (Please excuse the fx experiments).