I Spy a Verdin’s Eye!
A great little bug hunter
Standing in the yard today I heard a bird whistling, repeating the same note again and again. I looked up in the bahinia tree and saw a little fellow clad in grey feathers wearing a yellow cap and peering curiously at me. In an instant he flitted up a couple of branches and nipped into a nest! There it was, cleverly concealed in plain sight, a soft-ball sized stick nest, with the hole near the bottom! I’m going to try and get a picture to share with you, but in the meantime let me tell you a bit about verdins. The hyperactive little birds have outsized appetites and will eat hundreds of small insects and spiders in a single day. They also take nectar, and this tree will soon be covered with sticky pink flowers, so this guy and his mate will be sitting pretty. The verdin’s twiggy nest is lined with leaves, grasses, fur, spider webs and surely in our yard, dog hair. The male builds a display nest to attract a female and the two complete the structure together. In the winter the nests are built for warmth while roosting, and the birds may make several in their territory. The verdin is just 3-4 inches long and weighs in at a whopping .2 to .3 ounces. Cornell Lab of Ornithology says their habitat is thorny desert scrub, so this couple has choosen softer environs with our orchid tree. Now to get that picture!
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