by Marilyn and Keith Davis

"The Fading Song Act

Cactus Wren

cactus wren

      Last Saturday we showed our friends some of the better birding places to go in Washington County. That Saturday was one of those “Jackpot” days when things you wanted to see in the bird world, happened! Kayenta subdivision in Ivins ended up at the top of the list.

       We wanted to photograph birds in the natural occurring desert plants. When we walked down one of the Kayenta roads, we heard the tell-tale song of the Cactus Wren, you know the one that sounds like an old car motor starting up. There was a male Wren on top of a nearby roof making that put-put Cactus Wren sound. Neat! When we walked toward the singer for a picture, his song faded away. When the song faded, we stopped, so he started again, drawing us to him. This fading song act occurred two more times. He would sing, we got closer, it faded away, and we would stop. Finally we figured it was a diversion to draw us away from something he didn’t want us to see. As soon as we figured it out, we returned to the original spot just in time to see the female Cactus Wren flying to her well-hidden nest to feed her young. Again he lured us with his fading song act, and again the female was able to fly in and feed her babies. Every birder is aware of the Killdeer’s “broken wing” distraction, but did you know the Cactus Wren has a ploy to draw people away from its nest? Like I always say, the more you watch birds, the more phenomenal things you find out about them. Cactus Wrens are not commonly seen in our area, but are found by their distinctive call.

      The Cactus Wren was drawn by Artist Brenda Rusnell. Brenda will be teaching Art classes for ICL this fall. If you have questions about birds, or any Red Cliffs Audubon activity, call 435 673-0996.

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