Hybrid Hummingbird
...and more unusual bird photos

Sunday, March 4, marked many visitors' first glimpse of a Northern Saw-whet Owl...and it was still here the next morning! For six hours the bird perched in a mesquite tree near the main trail in Queen Creek Canyon, allowing many visitors a great view, and also giving photographers a chance to get some prized pictures. Jack Holloway, Tom Rawles and Richard Anderson found the owl around 9:00 a.m., perched just a few short yards North (uphill) of the main trail in a mesquite tree. It was about 20 yards West of the new suspension bridge (across the trail from the "biodiversity" sign), perched about three feet above the ground and occasionally feasting on a rodent it had just caught.


Photo by Richard Ditch
Broad-billed Hummingbirds overwinter at Boyce Thompson Arboretum, but since September we have also had a particularly interesting rarity - this hybrid appears to be a crossbreed of Broad-Billed and Violet-crowned Hummingbird parents ... quite striking, and unmistakable with blue accents on his head and shoulders. This bird was captured and leg-banded November 10 by Sheri Williamson and volunteers from Southeast Arizona Bird Observatory. It has taken up residence in our Hummingbird-Butterfly garden, and and was seen as recently as Saturday March 24.
(CLICK HERE to see great closeups. Photographer Randy Forrest posted a complete slideshow of the banding).

CLICK HERE for beautiful closeup images by Philip Lowe


Photo by EJ Peiker
How's this for a Christmas present to local birders? Chandler Photographer EJ Peiker got this crisp image of the Rufous-backed Robin on Christmas Eve (December 24) 2006, the first report of the Mexican migrant bird being back here for the season. This rare migrant Robin has been a Winter visitor most years over the past decade, and has been seen almost daily from Dec. 24 through Jan. 22 foraging in netleaf hackberry trees near the Hummingbird-Butterfly Garden, in front of the Smith Building and also drinking water (as seen above) from the artificial stream in the cul-de-sac area of the Demonstration Garden which is just West of our Picnic area. In other years our resident robin mostly foraged in the myrtle hedges and pistachio trees along Queen Creek. Click the photo above or click on EJ's name to see more of EJ's nature photograpy


Photo by Kim Stone
The Arboretum's own staff Horticulturist Kim Stone got this fun image of the Brown Pelican in July when the bird spent a week feeding and flying over Ayer Lake. To see more images by Kim and also Philip Lowe, Tammy Knight and Rich Bergmark CLICK HERE