Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Curvebill and the Cactus

"I wonder if the spines hurt his feet when he perches like that", I wondered aloud to no one. Very few people want to go for a walk with me and my camera more than a handful of times. Even fewer people have the patience to sit and wait and watch the way I like to. As I watched the curve billed thrasher perched precariously on the spiny cactus in front of me, I was awed by the adaptation of his species and their ruggedness. I certainly would not want to step on cactus spines in such a way.

Of all of the desert wildlife, the curve billed thrasher is perhaps the most grossly under appreciated. They are a common site and of a relatively dull hue and stature. You see them in urban, suburban, rural and wild terrain- masters of adaptation.

Plainly colored excepting their golden eyes, these birds do not call much attention to most...but if you see one, watch for a while. You can almost visualize their thought process. They are incredibly intelligent. I have seen them adapt to living with people with ease, and I have watched them share homes with other birds in the biological apartment complex that is desert plant life.

According to the Audubon Society, they have been threatened by severe habitat loss as of late. It comes as news to me, it seems they thrive beautifully out here. Commonly I find the local specimens gathering nesting materials, and gently caring for eggs and young.

I sit, still, mindlessly observing this avian marvel. With a quick flick of the wing he is airborne, no doubt off to find something more interesting to do than watch a girl with a camera staring at him. "Beautiful", I exclaim under my breath- again for no one else to hear.

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