Arizona Sky Village

Bird Gallery

All the photos in this gallery were taken by Neil in or near the Sky Village unless otherwise indicated. Most were taken without a telephoto lens.

Turkey Vulture rising on a thermal


Humming Bird

Humming Birds buzz round your head like demented bumble bees but they do perch as well. This one was taken at the bird-feeding station close to the ASV.

Cactus Wren

This is the State Bird of Arizona. Its song is a distinctive rapid chug-chug-chug-chug or cha-cha-cha-cha

Rufous-sided or Spotted Towhee

Several of these colourful birds were scratching around in the snow beneath the feeders (January 2007). This one posed in a bush.

Another Rufous-sided or Spotted Towhee


Red-tailed Hawk

This is probably the most commonly seen large hawk. It frequently perches on roadside posts and poles.Its distinctive red tail is most evident when in flight.

Roadrunner at the ASV

While driving down Eagle Path I spotted this roadrunner by the roadside. He came out onto the road then moved along the edge of the shrubs alongside me as I drove slowly along. He didn't seem bothered by the car. Later in the day he, or another one, came right up to the house.

Burrowing Owl

I was lucky enough to be shown an area of desert where several burrowing owls lived. They posed nicely for the camera and bobbed up and down to welcome us.

Male Cardinal

These brightly coloured birds are unmistakable. The females are a sort of buff colour with some red markings. Similar in shape, the Pyrrhuloxia or gray cardinal is sometimes mistaken for a female cardinal.

Female Cardinal

The pinky beak helps identify this as a female cardinal rather than a Pyrrhuloxia

Ladder-backed Woodpecker


Humming Bird at Feeder

A Humming Bird hovers at a feeder but a bee has got there first

Unidentified Woodpecker

I have several bird books covering the American South West but can't find this one. I expect it's quite common as it was in a road-side tree in Cave Creek Canyon. Must get a more comprehensive book.

Juvenile Northern Flicker?

This largish bird was roosting in the top of the recess outside the door. When I opened the door it flew into the house. After perching on walls, ceiling vent, blinds and notice board it settled on the floor and walked around. Eventually I chased it out but it hung around the house for several days, and, along with a colleague tried to make a hole in the stucco, presumably for a nest.

Jay on a Feeder

Taking photos of the common birds is fairly easy at the feeding station. All you need is a long lens and only a little patience. It's a great place for studying the birds' behaviour. Each has its own style and characteristics.

Circling Geese

The first time I visited Rancho Hidalgo there was a mixed flock of geese on the water. They took off as I approached and circled ever higher until they were out of sight. Some time later I heard them returning and watched them circle lower and lower until they landed once again. As I walked along the dam I came across empty cartridge shells which helps explain why the birds were nervous of my approach.

Hopefully I've identified all these birds correctly but please let me know if you think I've got it wrong. Almost all the birds are new to me as a native of the UK. When I get time and assemble the right equipment I want to take a whole new set of photos to do the birds justice.