Archive for the ‘Phaninopepla’ Tag

Desert Mistletoe Berries Attracting Birds To Sabino Canyon   1 comment

This morning on the Plant and Bird Walk, we could see a small flock of Eastern Bluebirds, none close enough to get any good photos,
but more will be coming to Sabino Canyon because of all the desert mistletoe berries in the canyon. Till then,
the berries are attracting plenty of Phainopeplas.
— kenne

A Phainopepla In Sabino Canyon   1 comment

A Phainopepla In Sabino Canyon — Image by kenne

“You could call them jet setters, or maybe farmer birds, but for sure, the active little phainopepla is one of San Diego’s more interesting bird species.

Also known as the black cardinal, this busy little bird is often thought of as strictly a desert dweller. But the phainopepla lives a country club life, moving to more moderate climates in the summer, then back to the desert for the rest of the year. With distinctive topknots on both male and female birds, this is an easy bird to identify if you get close enough. From a distance, they can be identified by their color, shape and distinctive flight pattern.

The males are a silky jet black, and the females are gray with their wing feathers edged in off-white. They are sleek birds, about 71/2 inches in length with long tail feathers and a wingspan of just under a foot.

When in flight, the males display white patches on their wings, and they fly in an up-and-down motion. They are nervous birds, often seen perched at the very top of trees and shrubs, where they can spot any approaching threat.” Source: The San Diego Union-Tribune


Luke, The Leucistic Male Phainopepla   Leave a comment

Luke --2 framed painting blogLuke, The Leucistic Male Phaninopepla — Computer Painting by kenne

People who visit Sabino Canyon and go on “Ned and Friends Nature Walks” know about “Luke,” (Click here to see Ned’s photo of Luke) the leucistic male phaninopepla with it white crest gracing his shiny black body.


Image by Marty Horowitz


He’s a striking bird,
Looking like a black cardinal,
“A bird black as the sun.”

What did you say he’s called?
Luke the phaninopepla!
This bird an’t no fable.

With his red eyes
and slender white crest
courting her with berries.

Protecting his territory
alone the trail of hearts
birders sing his song.

— kenne

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