"Are Bugs On Your Diet?"

Ash-throated Flycatcher

        It's Summer! When driving the roads of Washington County, there are insects everywhere, including on your windshield. Thank goodness these irritating bugs are being harvested by our wonderful birds. Thank goodness they have offspring to feed and bugs are on their diet!

        We have several species of flycatchers common in our area. Many are look-alikes, and if you know their different characteristics you will be able to identify them. The Ash-throated Flycatcher is one of those 'can't tell which is which' birds. On our last field trip above Virgin we spotted an Ash-throated Flycatcher. It was spotted because of the rusty color on the tail, the wing, and a pale yellow belly. They are all around, if you know what to look for.

        The Ash-throated Flycatcher breeds in desert scrub, riparian forest, brushy pastures, and open woodland from the western US to central Mexico. They nest in natural cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, behind loose bark, metal fence posts, drain pipes, tin cans, and mailboxes. While the female is building the nest, the male follows, singing and guarding her from advances of other males. This species is primarily an insectivore that flies from a perch to catch prey from the ground, undergrowth, branches and trunks, but hardly ever in midair. When it catches larger prey, it will tenderize the prey by striking it against a branch while holding it with the bill. Unlike other flycatchers, it does not return to the same perch, but to a another one. Noticing characteristics like these will help to identify this flycatcher.

        If you want to know more about birds, enhance your life, bring more joy into daily living, then get acquainted with the Red Cliffs Audubon. The next General Meeting will be Wednesday, July 8, 7:00 p.m. at the Tonaquint Nature Center. Come early, enjoy the Pond, and see what Nature has brought to the area at 1851 South Dixie Drive in St. George.

        The following Saturday, July 11, is the Red Cliffs Audubon Field Trip to Pinevalley. Meet at the parking lot of the St. George BLM, 345 East Riverside Dr. at 7:00 a.m. Bring lunch or a potluck dish. The public is welcome. For more information, call 435 673-0996. The Ash-throated Flycatcher was drawn by Marilyn Davis.



Past Articles:

"Cold Days and Good Memories"  (White Pelican) 
"Where's Sherlock Holmes When You Need Him?" (YB Cuckoo)
"Tale of Four Birders"  (Western Scrub Jay)
"East Zion Continued" (Golden-crowned Kinglet),
  Vermilion Flycatcher
"Aerial Wolves" (Sharp-shinned Hawk)
"From Clown School to Pond" (Ruddy Duck)
"Shades of Red" Red-tailed Hawk
"Predatory Songbird" (Northern Shrike)
"The Cagey Killdeer"
"A True Bird Story" (Willet)
"A Song to Remember" (Hermit Thrush)
"To Catch a Fish..." (Green Heron aka Green-backed Heron)
"No Spring Cleaning" (Brown-headed Cowbird)
"Look-alikes Galore" (Sage Sparrow)

"A Jazzy Singer" (Cassin's Finch)
"Salute the Coot" (American Coot)
"Put a Smile on Your Face" (Greater Roadrunner)
"The Tale of Fred and Ethel" (Mallard)
"A Flutter of Sparrows" (Clay-colored Sparrow)
"A Sight to Remember" (Blue-gray gnatcatcher)
"About Night Life" (Northern Saw-whet Owl)
"Black and White and Smart All Over" (BB Magpie)
"Dressed for Dinner... of Fine Wines and Bugs" (RN Sapsucker)
"A Life List" (Painted Redstart)
"Bird-Brained" (Flammulated Owl)
"Needle in a Haystack" (White-throated Sparrow)
"Booby Trap Nest" (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
"The Crowd Pleaser" (Western Tanager)
"Seeds and Civilization" (American Tree Sparrow)
"A Childhood Treasure" (Black-headed Grosbeak)
"Those Itchy Red Bumps" (Cliff Swallow)
"Is There a Bee in Your Bonnet" (Utah bees)
"Where's My Winter Coat" (Great-tailed Grackle)
"Ice Age Tree Planter" (Blue Jay)
"An Uncommon Beauty" (Black-and-white Warbler)
"What's In a Name" (American Redstart)
"When the Cold Winds Blow" (Western Grebe)
"A National Beauty" (Bald Eagle)

"Feathered Tiger" (Cooper's Hawk)
"The Accomplished Carpenter" (Acorn Woodpecker)
"Jewels" (Evening Grosbeak)
"Observations on the Road" (Rock Pigeon)
"A Leftover Memory" (California Gull)
"Lifelong Dreams" (Greater Roadrunner)
"Who's in Your Yard"  (House Wren)
"A Touch of Blue" (Mountain Bluebirds)
"Fur and Feathers" (Spotted Owl)
"Chick-a-dee-dee-dee" (Mountain Chickadee)
"In Search of" (Red-breasted Nuthatch)
"Wanderlust" (Canada Goose)
"Einstein Birds" (American Crow)
"What Spring Brings" (American Wigeon)
"Magnificent and Adaptable" (Golden Eagle)
"The Lonliest Sound" (Common Loon)
"When a Rare One Shows" (Thayer's Gull)
"Bird of the Ocean Shores" (Brown Pelican)
"A Mature Forest" (Northern Goshawk)
"When Black Eyes are Cool" (Short-eared Owl)
"Spring Is Busting Out All Over" (American Robin)
"Acrobatic Survivor" (Common Raven)
"Are You Ready For Hummers?" (Calliope Hummingbird)
"Poppies, Rock Wren, and a Trip in Time" (Rock Wren)
"What’s On Tonaquint Pond?" (Baby Mallard Ducks)
"A Good Story, but Definitely Not High-Uintah Parrots" (Pine Grosbeak)
"Before Radio, Records, and Hi-Fi" (Northern Mockingbird)
"Bloomington Hills Drive Pond" (Birds of Southern Utah)
"Marks of Identification" (Northern Harrier)
"Nature’s Fighter Plane" (Common Nighthawk)
"King of the Western Skies" (California Condor)

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