Date: 11/25/17 7:37 pm
From: Jay Miller <arizonajay23...>
Subject: [AZNMbirds] CEAZ: Miller House of Mesa - Ruddy Ground-Dove still, 11-25.
The Ruddy Ground-Dove persists still, day four. Hangs out in and under my Lemon tree and grazes out into the open early and by itself. Kind-of scary since that's prime for Accipitors.

Sharp-shinned are at an all time low here. Most I have seen in one day was two adults and the only juv. that I have seen so far this Fall. Many days where I missed them altogether, and most other days saw only one, and often that one is an adult that I feel has Wintered right here for six or seven years now. I've been studying birds here hard for the last ten years and watched Sharp-shinned Hawks go from pretty high numbers ( over twenty a day, nearly every day ) down to this seasons low. Still alot of Winter to go but things usually develop by now. This has quite an effect on the atmosphere of the backyard. The birds are skittish but not nearly as much as even last year. Birds like Rosy-faced Lovebirds, Gamble's Quail, and White-wing Doves are coming in regularly. Not in previous years! Only sporadically at best. Also have had Spotted Towhee and Song Sparrow for a long time now and that may be related to fewer Sharpies too.

Cooper's Hawks have increased as I predicted but not necessarily why I thought they would. When Eurasian Collared-Doves arrived and multiplied so quickly it really impressed me and I thought somebody is going to like this. Cooper's Hawks seemed like the natural beneficiary to me and Peregrines get their share. Seeing Cooper's about every other day, twice as much as last year.

Peregrines have always been common here. Probably average around 200 days a year, scarce in Spring and early Summer.

Red-tail Hawks have put in better than average numbers this Fall.

American Kestrels are rarely missed. More than one pair around and territories seem to change often in the off-season.

Had a Prairie Falcon a couple weeks ago come in with a freshly caught Mourning Dove. It saw me and flew to a distant tower where it ate it's catch. While watching it it began to cackle and puff-up. I got a series of photos of a Peregrine mocking an attack while Prairie held it's ground, wings outstretched, tail fanned, mouth open, screaming! I've seen this a few times before but this was close. Too bad it was a very overcast day so the lighting was terrible.

I'm fortunate to get a fair amount of Merlin in here too. Only one sighting last month and one this month, I think. Had one about ten days ago and got a nice shot of a dark, male "taiga" diving off the top of my Arizona Cypress.

Caught two Harris's Hawks at my water feature a while back. Nice surprise.

Only one sighting of a Northern Harrier from a week or so ago, distant. They are still getting here.

Almost forgot Turkey Vulture. Saw a Eurasian Collared-Dove cock it's head. About 500', heading towards Leisure World, late afternoon.

At 4:49 today, I saw the Ruddy Ground-Dove fly to my Grapefruit tree, banking left, then right, showing it's Rufous wings and short, square, black tail. Would have made for some nice photos but no way! It was way too fast. I was pretty sure I saw it fly there last night as well and believe it is probably roosting there.

Good Birding!!

Jay Miller
Mesa, Az
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