There is a wide variety of bird life that can be found on Foxtail Farm and according to the Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, there are 232 bird species to be found. The birds below are those that we have personally spotted either near the house or out on our trails. We are actively working to identify more species and for those "birders" who wish to stay at the bed and breakfast, we are building trails throughout the property to provide for sighting opportunities.
For Hummingbirds, click here.
Melanerpes formicivorus has a brownish-black head, back, wings and tail, white forehead, throat, belly and rump. The eyes are white. The white neck, throat, and forehead patches are distinctive identifiers. When flying, they take a few flaps of their wings and drop a foot or so. White circles on their wings are visible when in flight. Acorn woodpeckers have a call that sounds almost like they are laughing. Image by Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Myiarchus cinerascens is a passerine bird in the tyrant flycatcher family. It breeds in desert scrub, riparian forest, brushy pastures and open woodland from the western United States to central Mexico. This bird sings outside our window every morning during the summer months.
Haliaeetus leucocephalus; Bald eagles are around but rarely sighted on the property.
Callipepla californica. We often see these birds in coveys feeding by the side of the road or near the main trail through the property.
Corvus corax, also known as the northern raven, is a large all-black passerine bird. Found across the Northern Hemisphere, it is the most widely distributed of all corvids. It is possibly the heaviest passerine bird; at maturity, the common raven averages 25 inches in length and 2.6 pounds in mass. Common ravens can live up to 21 years in the wild.
Junco hyemalis; A frequent visitor to our bird feeders out front. Image by NestWatch
Aquila chrysaetos; Image San Diego Zoo
Carpodacus mexicanus; We have seen both the male and female feeding on sunflower seeds in the feeders hanging from the Manzanita tree at the front of the house. Image The Spruce
Carduelis psaltria or the lesser goldfinch are found in flocks or at least loose associations. It utilizes almost any habitat with trees or shrubs except for dense forest, and is common and conspicuous in many areas, often coming near houses. It is common at feeders and will come almost anywhere with thistle sock feeders. Flocks of at least six birds will often be seen at feeders. It feeds mostly on tree buds and weed seeds. We spotted two birds near our house in August 2018. Image by National Audubon Society.
Oporornis tolmiei - Spotted March 2018 feeding in the grass out our back door.
Sialia currucoides is a medium-sized bird similar in size to a sparrow. They have light underbellies and black eyes. Adult males have thin bills and are bright turquoise-blue and somewhat lighter underneath. Adult females have duller blue wings and tail, grey breast, grey crown, throat and back. We spotted both a male and female near our house in August 2018.
Zenaida macrouraare light grey and brown and generally muted in color. Males and females are similar in appearance. The species is generally monogamous, with two squabs per brood. Both parents incubate and care for the young. Mourning doves eat almost exclusively seeds.
Picoides nuttallii prefer oak woodlands. We often see them on our power pole right outside the house and may have been responsible for the split pole (see Blog posting, "Shoemaker's Elves "). They feed on insect larvae of the wood borers, click beetles and ants.
Buteo jamaicensis. In 2017 we had a red-tailed hawk nesting in the trees near our house. Our hope was that they would be active in helping to eradicate the our pocket gopher population.
Cyanocitta stelleri; is a jay native to western North America, closely related to the blue jay found in the rest of the continent, but with a black head and upper body. It is also known as the long-crested jay, mountain jay, Braham's jay and pine jay. It is the only crested jay west of the Rocky Mountains. Image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Carthartes aura. is also known in some North American regions as the turkey buzzard and is the most widespread of the New World vultures. The turkey vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. These birds are often seen gliding over the property looking for carrion.
Western Scrub Jay
Aphelocoma californica is also know as the California Scrub Jay. It is a medium sized bird about 11-12 inches in length. The call or "screech" is described as "harsh and scratchy."
Piranga ludoviciana have pale stout pointed bills, yellow underparts and light wing bars. Adult males have a bright red face and a yellow nape, shoulder, and rump, with black upper back, wings, and tail; in non-breeding plumage the head has no more than a reddish cast and the body has an olive tinge. Females have a yellow head and are olive on the back, with dark wings and tail. The song of disconnected short phrases suggests an American robin's but is hoarser and rather monotonous. The call is described as pit-er-ick. We spotted this bird in July 2018 on on of our sunflowers.
Meleagris gallopavo; We often hear the turkeys but seldom see them up close. In 2017 we had a pair of turkeys come right up to the house and parade past our windows. In 2018 we have seen a large flock on several occasions on the property near the house. Image by wildlifehelp.org