Golf Course Birding


Have you ever seen a raucous gaggle of speeding green bird bodies hurtling from tree to tree around the 1st and 2nd tunnels? They are probably Mexican Green Parrotlets (Forpus cyanopygius cyanopygius).  They range from Sonora down thru Sinaloa and west to Durango and south to Colima, although that population might be the race F.c. pallidus. They are much in demand as caged birds because of their intelligence and fiestyness. They bond well with humans if kept singly and can even learn to talk. So the next time you hear a mobile squawking flight, say hello to Mr/Ms Forpus!

While teeing off on the 12th hole, I heard a vaguely familiar birdsong. I looked and saw the familiar black bib of one of my favorite summer residents, the Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta). I assumed he/she was migrating back up to my part of the country. I listened for the song again and although it was familiar, it was probably an Eastern Meadowlark (Sturnella magna) as opposed to the easily recognized western meadowlark.  All I can say is, Say “Hi” to the snow for me when you arrive!

MR Ducks, MR NOT, OSAR, CDBDiis?  The Black-bellied Whistling duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) seems to be ubiquitous around the lake between the 11th and 17th holes. They used to hang out on the 2nd hole lake also but I think the ferrel dogs that occasion that side keep them at bay.  According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,  “A striking and gregarious duck of the Neotropics, the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck reaches the United States only in the very southern parts. Its long neck, long legs, black belly, and white wing patch make it a distinctive-looking waterfowl. I am going to add that link to my sidebar; http://www.allaboutbirds.org  It’s a wonderful resource. But back to the riddle.  The translation is (imagine a West Virginia accent) Them ‘R ducks!  Them ‘R not. Oh yes they are. See the beady eyes? According to local experts, they are nicknamed “pichiching” in Spanish and are good to eat.

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3 Responses to Golf Course Birding

  1. Jan says:

    Well,there was an “urban myth” I think, that they were someone’s pets who had escaped and multiplied, but there are so many of them I can’t believe that. We have actually had seagulls that have followed the Rio Grande up from the Gulf! I have seen them on the river.
    The parrots don’t migrate in the winter, they just stay here, so I imagine they just wandered..

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  2. La_Lagunita says:

    That is so interesting! According to the range map, they are not supposed to occur outside of Sonora and Sinaloa but I must admit, I have seen many of them for sale along the Mexican roadside. I wonder, since it is illegal to import them into the US, if many are released at the border and they have banded together and bred?

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  3. Jan says:

    We have large flocks of these living in El Paso. They love the pecan trees. They squawk and scream furiously while flying. Sure wish I knew what they were saying!

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