Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday goodies: Cactus wrens

I've never understood why cactus wrens don't get more love. Just the other day, I overheard someone pompously telling her friends that the roadrunner was the state bird of Arizona. Um, no. New Mexico has the roadrunner. Our state bird -- like our people -- is loud, feisty, and a resourceful survivor. We get the cactus wren. Other state symbols include, embarrassingly, the bolo tie as state neckwear and, sadly, the Colt revolver as state gun; so I'm happy we at least got some super-cool animals to represent us. These little birds take the prickliest and most uncomfortable of homes, and make it look appealing. Could there be a better spokesbird for this state?

Cactus wrens (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) mostly eat insects, but their diet, like any good Arizona diet, consists of a diverse blend -- wasps, grasshoppers, and beetles supplemented by the occasional fruit, seed, or even frog or reptile. They're larger than our house and canyon wrens by a few inches, but their personalities (birdonalities?) are what really distinguish them -- excitable temper, a call like a car engine, a sort of obnoxious charm. Yep. They're Arizonans.

Enjoy some more cactus wrens. I actually had to cull quite a bit so as not to give you hundreds. Apparently I like them even more than I'd realized. Happy Monday, everyone. Spiders or sparrows next, I think.


Christina Wilsdon said... Best Blogger Tips

Ooch, ouch! Look at that little bird traipsing over all those prickles without a second thought...Wonderful pix.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I love cactus wrens! Anything that can walk on cholla is totally bad ass as far as I'm concerned. :)

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

I once saw a cactus wren picking dead bugs out of the grill of parked cars. What a smart bird!

Carole DeAngeli said... Best Blogger Tips

These cheeky little guys are right up there with my favorite birds. I love their attitude! Thanks for featuring our real state bird!

Kim Hosey said... Best Blogger Tips

Christina: I know! I used to think they just walked between the spines, but apparently walking on them is fine too.

DFW: They really are bad ass birds. Just ask them.

Anonymous: They're super clever! After a wind storm had blown bugs into cactus spines, I saw a cactus wren doing the same thing. I think they're pretty opportunistic.

Carole: Yes; our real state bird! (I'm sure you've heard the roadrunner mistake too.) I agree; these guys have the best attitudes.