Apr 11 2011

Mt. Charleston: Western Bluebird

Published by at 7:30 am under Beyond Bounds,Songbirds

On Friday I mentioned that lazuli buntings somewhat resemble western bluebirds. 

Well, here's a western bluebird...  what do you think?

In southern Nevada I can find western bluebirds and lazuli buntings within a few miles of each other because the mountains and valleys provide such strikingly different habitat.

In April the temperature can reach 80oF in the desert valley of Las Vegas but there's still snow on Mt. Charleston whose summit is at 11,918 feet.  (It snowed up there on Saturday.)

Weather permitting I usually find western bluebirds partway up the mountain.  They look a lot like their eastern cousins except that their entire head and throat are blue and they have rusty orange-blue on their backs or shoulders. 

Since they're migrating right now, it's hard to tell if the bluebirds plan to stay on Mt. Charleston or merely pass through on the way from their wintering grounds in Mexico to some location north of here. 

Perhaps they'll go to the Seattle area where this one was photographed by Bill Parker.

(photo by William Parker)

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