S: Birds We See in Baja California Sur, Mexico By C.E.Llewellyn
FC: Birds We See in Baja California Sur, Mexico | T | Original Photography by: Chris and Debbie Llewellyn | By: C.E.Llewellyn
1: Enjoy the beautiful birds we see in Baja California Sur, Mexico. This book contains more than 125 original photographs of some of the many birds that live here or stop over during annual migrations.
2: This book is dedicated to my wife, Debbie. January 14, 2005 our lives changed forever. Pretty much out of the blue and after a 9 hour surgery that was supposed to be about 1, Debbie was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. She was given a 5% chance of living 6 months. So after working 24/7 from the time we were married we decided to take time from our real estate business and go see the things and places we had always wanted to see. Always with cameras in hand we traveled to places like The Galapagos Islands, Costa Rica, The Arctic Circle, Africa and The Amazon Jungle. We spend a lot of time taking pictures of birds in the desert arroyos near our second home on Baja Sur's East Cape. Our friends can't seem to believe the variety of the birds we see here. It's now 6 years later and we're still shooting birds , with our cameras, of course. | The female Xantus's Hummingbird 3-4" | on the cover: The male Xantus's Hummingbird | Named after Hungarian zoologist John Xantus de Vesey, the Xantus's Hummingbird is endemic to Baja but may wander as far north as British Columbia. | C.E.Llewellyn
3: Costa's Hummingbird One of our favorite birds to see at the backyard feeder. Costa's will spar with other hummingbirds all day long to defend their favorite feeder or flowers from the competition. When evening comes they will all feed together as if they are too tired to fight any more that day.
4: And a beautiful female Costa's Hummingbird. | The brilliant male Costa's Hummingbird.
5: The male Costa's has a deep violet crown and gorget. 3"
6: Pictured on the right is a female Cardinal and a female Pyrrhuloxia. | Northern Cardinal | Considered a non-migratory bird. Few Northern cardinals survive to be adults due to heavy nest predation especially by the common Raven and Coachwhip snakes.
7: The Northern Cardinal lives up to 15 years in the wild. It is the state bird of 7 U.S. states, more than any other bird. They primarily feed on the ground consuming seeds and insects. | male 8-9"
8: Pyrrhuloxia crushes seeds with it's powerful parrot like-bill and consume large amounts of crop destroying insects. | female 8-9"
9: The Common House Finch | Pyrrhuloxia Also known as the Gray Cardinal | This cardinal-like finch is very alert. When an observer approaches, the pair will fly to a high post and sound a loud alarm. | female 8-9"
10: The Greater Roadrunner 23" A diet that includes lizards, insects, snakes, rodents and even small birds . 23"
11: Loggerhead Shrike 9" Also known as the butcherbird. It has a habit of impaling insects or lizards on cactus spines or even barbed wire to eat later.
12: Common Ground Dove | A sparrow sized dove that is a fast flier beating it's short wings almost like those of a quail. 6-7"
13: These birds feed on seeds they find on the ground. During courtship, the male pursues the female nuisance like, bobbing his head in rhythm with it's monotonous cooing.
14: Widespread in Latin America, The Ruddy Ground Dove is often found in Baja in the company of the similar sized Common Ground Dove. 7"
15: White Winged Doves flock in large numbers and are considered by many a sporting game bird. 12"
16: The Ash Throated Flycatcher has a call something like that of a softly blown coach's whistle. 8"
17: Ash Throated Flycatchers feed on insects and the ripe berries of the Elephant Tree.
18: The Gray Flycatcher A group of flycatchers may be called a "zapper" or "zipper" of flycatchers. 6"
19: The Western Kingbird A flycatcher, will chase flying insects for 40 to 60 feet. 9"
20: Pacific-slope Flycatcher Usually found near fresh water.
21: Pacific-Slope Flycatchers will dart from it's perch to catch a flying insect often to return to the same place. 6"
22: Black Phoebe A medium sized flycatcher. Phoebes primarily feed on insects but will also take small fish. 7"
23: Named after the American naturalist Thomas Say, the Say's Phoebe is highly migratory and breeds farther north on the American continent than any other flycatcher. 7-8"
24: Phainopepla Feeds chiefly on insects and mistletoe berries consuming as many as 1000 berries per day. 8" | female
25: The male Phainopepla. A silky flycatcher that has hidden white wing patches only seen in flight.
26: Green-tailed Towhee Often heard scratching around on the ground searching under desert brush for insects and seeds. 7"
27: California Towhee is very territorial and will fight with it's own reflection in a window. A group of towhees is collectively known as a "teapot" of towhees. 9"
28: Female Varied Bunting Usually found deep inside a thorny bush where it finds seeds to eat. 5"
29: The seldom seen Lazuli Bunting is named after a semi precious stone mined in Afghanistan that has been prized since antiquity for its intense blue color. 6"
30: The Black-headed Grosbeak is one of the few birds that can safely eat the poisonous monarch butterfly. These Grosbeaks also feed on seeds and berries and their populations are very healthy this year. | male
31: The song of the Black-headed Grosbeak is similar to that of a robin only softer and sweeter. 8" | juvenile
32: The Northern Mockingbird imitates the songs of other birds and aggressively defends it's territory from intruders. It feeds primarily on insects and fruit. 10"
33: The tiny 4" Verdin builds it's spherical nest using thousands of twigs. They feed on insects and nectar.
34: Hooded Oriole The female | Babies in the nest.
35: and the male share equally in the nesting responsibilities. 8"
36: The female Scott's Oriole uses her tail to steady herself on a perch in the desert wind. 9"
37: The male Scott's Oriole | One of the first birds to sing in the morning throughout most of the summer. | A juvenile Scott's Oriole
38: The endemic Gray Thrasher spends much of it's time on the ground searching for insects and seeds. 9"
39: The Canyon Wren has a flat head and long bill that enables it to reach deep into crevices to find prey, primarily insects.5-6"
40: Bewick's Wren Named for Thomas Bewick, the English naturalist. A group of wrens might be called a "herd" of wrens. 6"
41: Cactus Wren | Builds a large bulky nest in Cholla cactus or thorny bushes for the spiny protection they provide. 8-9"
42: Rock Wren Sings as many as 100 different songs. The male has the interesting habit of building a pathway of pebbles in front of it's nest. 5-6"
43: Life clings to steep rocky cliffs like these which line the desert arroyos of Baja, creating a perfect habitat for Canyon and Rock Wrens.
44: Gilded Flicker | A woodpecker that makes it's nest in a hole of the saguaro cactus. Gilded Flickers feed on ants, termites and other insects. 12-13"
45: Also a hole nester, these birds are very aggressive when feeding or defending their nest from predators. Gila Woodpeckers feed on a wide variety of insects,nectar, fruit and seeds. 9" | Gila Woodpecker
46: The top notch of the California Quail looks like one feather but is actually a cluster of 5 or 6 plumes. 10"
47: The female or hen California Quail.
48: Yellow-rumped Warbler One of the most common warblers in North America. Birds in the flock constantly chirp to help keep the "bouquet" (a flock of warblers) together. 5-6"
49: Orange-crowned Warbler Nests on the ground and only displays it's orange crown during courtship or when alarmed. 5"
50: An immature Lesser Goldfinch
51: Lesser Goldfinch | Feeds mostly on seeds but will also eat small insects. 4-5"
52: House Finch Formally a familiar resident throughout the western U.S. Caged birds were released in the east in the 1940s and they are now widespread and common in eastern North America as well.
53: The female House Finch eats insects and seeds. House Finches are sometimes considered agricultural pests when they flock on farmer's fields. 6"
54: Wild Fig trees amazing ability to grow in places like this (above) provide habitat for birds and other animals in the deserts of Baja.
55: Western Scrub Jay Feeds on insects, fruit, seeds and robs the nests of other bird. 11"
56: European Starling | Was introduced to New York from Europe in the 1890s they soon spread across the continent. 8-9"
57: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Sings a thin musical warble that has a nasal quality. It constantly flicks it's white-edged tail from side to side to scare up insects . 4-5"
58: Brewer's Sparrow Two distinct breeding populations, one in Yukon's Rocky Mountains and the other in sage brush deserts of the western United States. 5"
59: An immature White Crowned Sparrow. At 7" it is a large sparrow and very wide-spread. This bird's brown head stripes will turn black as it ages leaving a white crown for which it is named. | Note the leg bands on this White-Crowned Sparrow. These birds are studied more than any other sparrow in the United States due to their large numbers and variety of sub-species and behaviors.
60: House Sparrow | Native to Britain and other European countries but now lives on all continents except Antarctica. This bird eats seeds, fruit and insects. 6"
61: Very little is known about the 5" Black-chinned Sparrow. A secretive sparrow that has suffered from habitat loss due to overgrazing and the use of off-road vehicles.
62: A medium sized sparrow, the Lark Sparrow, walks rather than hops like most sparrows while searching for seeds and insects. 6-7"
63: Black Throated Sparrow Survives long periods without water, obtaining moisture from the seeds and insects they eat. 5-6"
64: Yellow-footed Gull | May be endemic to The Gulf of California with a population smaller than any other North American gull. 27"
65: Brown Pelican | capable of holding up to 3 gallons of water (and fish) in its pouch. Wing span 7-8'
66: The male Magnificent Frigatebird | inflates it's red-orange throat patch like a balloon during courtship display.
67: Clockwise, female, juvenile and male Magnificent Frigatebirds. Wing span 7-8' | Although exclusively marine, Frigatebirds cannot take off from the surface of the water and must return to land to perch or rest.
68: Brandt's Cormorants are often seen flying in long lines of hundreds of birds. 35"
69: Double-crested Cormorant Feeds on fish, amphibians and crustaceans. Wing span 52"
70: Snowy Egret Hunted to near extinction in the late 1800s. At that time,their feathers were valued twice the price of gold by weight. Easily distinguished from other egrets by their bright yellow feet. 24"
71: Great Egret | Wing span over 4 feet. Diet consists of fish, frogs, snakes and insects. Hunted for it's feathers to near extinction in the late 1800s, the Audubon Society successfully lobbied for a ban on the trade of the plumes of wild birds which helped save this beautiful heron.
72: Great Blue Heron | Primarily fish eaters
73: but also feed on snakes, rodents, small birds, frogs and other small animals. 46"
74: Black-necked Stilt Feeds on seeds, insects, crustaceans and fish in either fresh or salt water. 14"
75: Killdeer Distinctive double breast bands visually separate this plover from other shorebirds. 11".
76: A desert oasis like this provides habitat for birds such as
77: the Spotted Sandpiper. | Distinguished by it's constant dipping motion. It is sometimes called the "teeter-tail". 7-8"
78: Ringed-necked Duck | male | female
79: Mallard Duck | male
80: Turkey Vulture (right) Searches for carrion in groups or "committees". They spread out, soaring over long distances watching each other for signs that food has been found. Wing span 6' | Zone-tailed Hawk (above) may easily be mistaken for a Turkey Vulture while in flight. They imitate the vultures to fool prey like small birds, reptiles and rodents as these creatures know Turkey Vultures do not hunt live prey so they don't need to run and hide. Note the white bars on it's tail. Wing span 51".
81: Turkey Vulture | One of the few birds that use their sense of smell to find food.
82: `American Kestrel "Sparrow Hawk" | A small jay-sized falcon. 12"
83: Unlike most falcons, the American Kestrel captures most of it's prey on the ground. They feed on insects, reptiles, rodents and small birds.
84: Osprey | This fish hawk has a wing span of more than 4 feet. Restrictions on pesticide use halted the decline of this species.
85: With a wing span of 4 feet,the Red Tailed Hawk is often seen soaring in the sky searching for small prey such as rodents and reptiles. Our most common hawk also enjoyed rebounds in population after the banning of certain pesticides such as DDT which was ingested from the animals they consumed.
86: Crested Caracara | This national bird of Mexico has a 4 foot wing span and long legs that enable it to walk and run with ease. It is often seen competing with Turkey vultures for carion.
87: A Word For The Birds | September 1, 2006 was a day we will never forget. Hurricane John made landfall on Baja's East Cape region. Our little town, Los Barriles, was especially hard hit. Winds over 135 miles per hour were reported by many. Little twisters (as evidenced by the way our trees were twisted out of the ground) were spawned, causing much damage. The town was such a mess at the time that few noticed the birds were gone. Most of them had been killed by the winds and flying debris. For the following 3 years, insects were everywhere in Los Barriles. Mosquitos, carrying Dengue fever, caused sickness in many. Ants, flies, bo bos, no see ums and every other kind of insect you can name, wreaked havok on the people, our gardens and bugged us day and night. After 4 years the bird population grew back to the numbers enjoyed before John. By 2010 the birds had the insect population back under control. Birds don't just sing and fly around looking pretty for us, they help keep us healthy and happy.