Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cactus Wren

Erika and I spent three days in the vicinity of Mission, and exploring south Texas. The Rio Grande Valley is a birder’s paradise. Even the common birds can be new for us northerners and quite rare species are often encountered.

We devoted our first day, 21 February 2014, to visiting good friends who live on a ranch north of Edinburg. First, however, we stopped at the Mission Nature Park and Bike Trail. I was aware, after consulting eBird and watching the Texas Bird Listserv, that Hook-billed Kites had been seen at this park, only a mile from our hotel. We did not see the kite, but we were greeted by this raucous Cactus Wren.

As I wrote in 2011, Cactus Wrens are adapted for desert life. Water is not critical for this species—it can obtain the water it requires from food like cactus fruit. In the summer it reduces adreno-corticosterioids, and is thereby able to better withstand heat stress. Cold may be a critical factor for these wrens—below average temperatures can cause breeding failure (Hamilton et al. 2011). The species is found across the American southwest into central Mexico.

No comments:

Post a Comment