ARTISTS AND BIRDS
~~~
Valley of Ghosts
(from an article written in February 2007)

        At the Davis home, we love the sight and sound of birds, Each day begins by filling the bird feeders to encourage visitors. The early morning trip outside features crisp air and soft peeping sounds of birds awakening. Available food, an open field, and large trees work like magnets to attract feathered musicians to sing the songs of spring. Hundreds of birds visit our to feeders daily.

        desert burnWith the picture of abundant bird life in mind, we decided to cross the southwest corner of Utah from Navajo Drive in Bloomington to Old Highway 91. The drive took us along a dry, dusty road, through bottoms of washes and into a recently burned area covered with charred, ghost-like skeletal remains of a once thriving desert terrain. Most trees were consumed by the fire and reduced to piles of charcoal. Dark circles of ash on the ground looked like frosting on a gray birthday cake. Grays, browns, and shades of black covered a once vibrant desert landscape stretching for thousands of acres. Once we saw a chipmunk, but most of the drive was a lifeless setting of ghosts and memories of the once abundant bird life.

        Twice we came upon patches of green that were missed by the fire, and only then did we see birds. Three woodpeckers and then a flock of pinyon jays.  This corner of Utah was once home to thousands of wintering birds. When an area is burned this badly, where do displaced birds go to survive? Many will perish. Hopefully, reseeding and revegetation will start the growth cycle again and the ghostly memories of the absence of life will be replaced in the future with real flocks of birds. The trip was a sad one when we saw the devastation, but it was a good one when we remembered the flocks of larks, sparrows, flycatchers, woodpeckers and jays that once made this their home.


        Remember, for more information about birds, call the Red Cliffs Audubon at 435 673-0996.  Computer-genereated graphic by Carol 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)
"Are Bugs On Your Diet?" Ash-throated Flycatcher
"Warblers with Cavities" Lucy's Warbler
"Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner" Steller's Jay
"Life Bird List" Indigo Bunting
 

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