November 29, 2019
| Cactus Wren by Rick Williams |
Congratulations to our BirdSpotter Judges’ Choice winner, Rick Williams of Tucson, Arizona, for this phenomenal shot of a Cactus Wren! Rick notes that the Cactus Wren is the Arizona State Bird, and saguaro cactus flowers (which bloom from the green buds protruding from the top of the cactus) are the Arizona State Flower. He goes on:
This Cactus Wren came in on the fly and grabbed the bug but then turned toward me when he noticed the camera pointed at him from close range. It was taken in June (hot!) while I was taking a break on a small overlook while hiking the Pontatoc Canyon Trail in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness Area here in Tucson. I have always liked Cactus Wrens as they are vocal with an interesting variety of raspy calls, they will investigate almost everything, and don’t seem to be afraid of many things – including harassing a passing snake!
Rick’s photo is a great reminder that native plants are important resources for birds. Like many native plants, saguaros provide valuable food and shelter through their flowers, fruits, and ability to host nesting cavities. Plants can also be a great attractant for the insects that birds, like this Cactus Wren, love to eat! If you want to attract more birds to your yard, consider adding or expanding a native plant garden.
Submissions are still open for the second BirdSpotter category Spectacular Sparrows! Submit your photo by midnight Eastern Time on Thursday, December 5, for a chance to win! Winners will be announced on Friday, December 13. Biweekly People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice winners receive prizes from the Cornell Lab and our sponsor, Wild Birds Unlimited and are entered into the final Grand Prize contest. Anyone can participate in the BirdSpotter contest by entering a photo and voting for their favorites. Find out more about the BirdSpotter contest.