Friday, October 12, 2012

Madera Canyon Birds and Beasts

1. Celeste-kab Celeste in Upper Madera Canyon 9-20-12

It was long past noon by the time Celeste and I drove up White House Canyon Road to Madera Canyon. I decided we should start at the top of the Canyon and work our way down with the sinking sun. We parked our car in the upper parking lot and headed up the Mount Baldy Trail. We already knew we would not go far as we were both wearing flip-flop type sandals but I hoped we would see at least a few birds on the lower part of the trail. Instead, we saw butterflies.  

2. butterfly-kab This California Sister is just one of the several species we saw.


3. hummer-kab Can you find the bird in this photo?

Yes, there is a hummingbird in this oak tree! I am not sure what kind it is.

4. Acorn WP-kab Acorn Woodpecker near the Santa Rita Lodge

With little luck birding the upper canyon we headed down to the Santa Rita Lodge parking area and gift shop. The Santa Rita Lodge has graciously set out bird feeders for birder to sit and watch birds in comfort and ease. We sat on the benches provided and ate our snacks while watching birds. With the sun sinking beyond the ridge the sunlight was right in our eyes at first, then the canyon fell into deep purple shadows. In the meantime, we were treated to a positive feast of birds!

5. Turkey-kab Wild Turkey feeding


6. Turkey-kab A wild turkey tries to figure out the feeder.


7. feeder-kab Hummingbirds at feeder with bat cage protector.

There are numerous hummingbird feeders set up and many had wire cages around them to keep the nectar feeding bats from draining them overnight. as a person who formally fed both bats and hummingbirds when I lived here before I can verify that nectar feeding bats can drain your feeders faster than you can make nectar! Below are just a few of the photos I took of the hummingbirds we saw while sitting there for an hour and a half! I will readily confess that I cannot indentify all the species but I have done my best. If you disagree with an identification please let me know and tell me why. During migration many species of hummingbirds are molting and often they look similar to the females of many species.

8. Broadbilled-kab Immature broad-billed Hummingbird


9. rufous-kab Rufous Hummingbird (upper right)


10. hummer-kab Possible female Anna’s


11. magnificent hummer-kab Male magnificent Hummingbird (right side of feeder)


11. rufous-kab Rufous Hummingbird


12. broad-billed-kab Male Broad-billed Hummingbird


13. broad tailed-kab Molting broad-tailed Hummingbird?


14. hummer-kab Broad-tailed Hummingbird (female or sub-adult)


15. Anna's-kab Anna’s Hummingbird (male)


16. mystery-kab Possible Costa’s Male seen from back

(note dark feathers of helmet on top of head)


17. hummingbirds-kab Community Feeding


18. hummers-kab 

19. rock squirrel-kab Rock Squirrel drinking from fountain

And while we were all distracted by hummingbirds a rock squirrel climbed the rocks to the fountain and got himself a drink!

Madera Canyon is an east-west canyon transected by the boundary between Pima Country and Santa Cruz County. As such it has several distinct eBird Hotspots since some spots are in Santa Cruz County and some are in Pima County. When collecting eBird data it is very important that you designate your bird counts for each area so as to keep the correct data with the correct county. There are several signs posted throughout the canyon with information regarding your submission of checklists to eBird. The Santa Rita Lodge is in Santa Cruz County and is just one of the several eBird Hotspots throughout the canyon. Here is a list of all the birds we saw while watching birds at the

Santa Rita Lodge in Madera Canyon:

  1. Wild Turkey
  2. White-winged Dove
  3. Mourning Dove
  4. Anna’s Hummingbird
  5. Broad-billed Hummingbird
  6. Broad-tailed Hummingbird
  7. Magnificent Hummingbird
  8. Black-chinned Hummingbird
  9. Rufous Hummingbird
  10. Blue-throated Hummingbird
  11. Costa's Hummingbird
  12. Acorn Woodpecker
  13. Mexican Jay
  14. Common Raven
  15. Bridled Titmouse
  16. White-breasted Nuthatch
  17. Painted Redstart
  18. Hepatic Tanager
  19. Black-headed Grosbeak
  20. House Finch
  21. Lesser Goldfinch

But we were not done yet! Though the sun was getting even lower and the shadows even longer, I really wanted to take Celeste one last place to one of my favorite places to bird. So we got in the car and headed down the road to the Proctor Trailhead Parking lot. We had no idea what was waiting for us there…(Please come back on Monday to read the full story!)


  1. Such a great afternoon. I like the idea of sitting and watching. Your photos of the hummers are superb. The turkey just funny.

    1. Gaelyn, turkey WAS funny! i almost always see them here!

  2. Kathie, That turkey at the feeder has me laughing! These are delightful photos. Nice to meet these birds for the first time.

    1. Sandy, the turkey made me laugh too! It also made me say, "what a turkey!"

  3. Looks like a great day. Love the hummers!

    1. Kathryn, it was a great day and we enjoyed the hummers as well!

  4. Kathie, great series of photos and birds. I love all the hummers. And the turkey is cool. The Acorn woodie is great and is a bird I really want to see some day. Great post!

    1. Eileen, I do hope you get to see the Acorn woodpecker someday! They are so much fun!

  5. Fabulous images Kathie, especially the Hummers.

    1. Roy, they are amazing to see! I am so sorry you do not have them over there!

  6. What a fantastic post, Kathie! I am so excited about all the wonderful birds you sighted at this Canyon! Oh, and I got an answer to a conundrum!!!! I started having my hummingbird feeders empty out overnight. I knew it was wasn't spilling, like it does when the Gila Woodpecker gets after the nectar, and besides, bird sleep overnight, and so do bees (I have problems with them as well) and neither birds nor bees had ever emptied my feeders overnight! One morning I found a dead bat on my back porch. THAT was weird, since they have sonar and I couldn't imagine that it flew into my glass door! But it was laying just outside the glass door, and that's how it looked. I chucked him over the fence, and thought hmmmm, could the bats be eating from the feeders? I wanted to get up during the night and check, but never saw anything the few times I did this. And VOILA you tell me that yes, indeed they eat from the feeders! The dead one looked like a regular bat, the kind that eats insects, and I thought perhaps just the fruit bats would go for nectar and they are much larger. It is so good to get an answer to this mystery! Do you have bat houses? I would love to have one. Like bats and am glad they are eating the insects in my back yard...gotta make some cages to put around my feeders!

    1. Marie. so glad to help you solve the mystery~ I believe they sell those bat cages at Wildbirds Unlimited. They are only here for a short time though. You could take down your feeders at night and put them back up again in the morning if necessary.

  7. Hi Kathie

    Your photos of the hummingbirds are wonderful. I am incredibly impressed especially since we got snow this week.

    Happy birding

    1. Guy, so sorry for the snow! I'm still wearing shorts and sandals down here!

  8. Great photos Kathie, that turkey still cracks me up! He looks so goofy. I hope he goes into hiding before Thanksgiving :o

    1. Celeste, I do not know if hunting is allowed in the canyon! I can't believe they would let people hunt near the cabins at least! I hope he hides out as well!

  9. So cool. So many types of Hummingbirds in one place is awesome! Love the acorn woodpecker picture as well.

    1. Cindy, I am glad you enjoyed all the pics. Hopefully someday you can come here and see them for yourself!

  10. Such an awesome area. Nice posts Kathie! Glad to see and read you're hitting all the old hotspots again! Tucson needs you :)


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.