Some warblers enjoy the heights. These are two we found a couple weeks ago in the mountains in SE Arizona.
A friend showed us where to find this Whiskered Screech-Owl close to the road and out in the open. She was asleep but opened one eye to check us out.
The Whiskered Screech Owl is found over a small area of the Southwest United States. Its distribution extends down the western mountains of Mexico and into part of Central America. We heard several “tooting” during the night where we were staying in Portal, Arizona. Sometimes their toots sound like Morse code.
Five-striped Sparrows were not shy and even came out and posed for us. I loved that there were a pair foraging together and I was also taken by the beautiful coloration with a gray head grading into a brown body.
Floy and I accompanied Ryan Phillips on a birding expedition into Southeastern Arizona. This area is known for some of the most unusual birds in the United States. The reason for these unique birds is that some of the mountains of Southern Arizona are contiguous with mountain ranges in Mexico. This enables some Neotropical birds to “hop” over the border and make themselves at home in Arizona.
The Five-striped Sparrow is a case in point because its distribution is mainly in Mexico over a strip that is about 450 miles long and less than 100 miles wide and extends from a few miles into Arizona and down the western mountain range of Mexico. This species barely makes it into Arizona and six were found about 32 miles north of the Mexican border, a few miles south of Tucson in a dry canyon. To the best of my knowledge this is as far north as they are known to occur. More details of this species can be found at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Neotropical Bird website.