Baja Desert Birds

As I approach my 100th checklist submitted to the Villa del Faro eBird hotspot, I’ve been putting together video compilations of footage taken over the last seven months here. The one in this post happens to be about birds, and most of them are, but I’ll also be sharing some whale breaches, ray jumps, and non-avian desert animal behavior. In the video below you can see two Greater Roadrunners (filmed months apart), a California Quail, and a Gray Thrasher (endemic to the Baja Peninsula) recorded at or ten minutes from Villa del Faro.

Make sure you have the volume up for the Greater Roadrunner section in particular, as the first individual engages in some interesting bill-clacks, and the second one was vocalizing in a low toot that I’ve only heard the one time so far, but seems to be a mating call.

I also enjoy seeing the plumage of the first bird radically change as it put distance between me and itself – in particular you can see the bright blue and reddish markings behind its eye, which are bare skin, become more clear towards the end of that clip.

Next up, a male California Quail practices some morning territorial calls, adorably throwing his head back with each confident cry, plume bobbing along. When on the ground, these quails are pretty tough to get a good look at, since they sprint away as soon as they notice you, with their short legs pumping quickly. But when a male is on his perch, one can approach a little more than normal.

The same goes for the Grey Thrasher, which has a bright yellow eye and a nicely curved beak. Their call is somehow unexpected, maybe because the sounds coming out their bill doesn’t seem to match the motion we see occurring, but bird’s voice-boxes are very different from human vocal cords.

If you missed my last series on birding in the southern tip of Baja California Sur, you can check out this post here.

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