Signs of Spring at the Paton Center

Reprinted by permission of the Tucson Audubon Society

With temperatures still often dipping into the 20’s just before sunrise at the Paton Center, it’s encouraging to see a few signs of spring. The Curve-billed Thrasher has replaced its whisper song from the winter with a full-volume version, and Rufous-winged Sparrows and Bewick’s Wrens are singing more frequently now.

An immature male Broad-tailed Hummingbird, either a very early spring migrant or a wandering overwintering bird, made brief appearances recently and obligingly visited both of Tucson Audubon’s live-streaming feeder cams (…/tucs…/paton-center-web-cams/). It looked much like a female Anna’s but had a longer, broader tail, some orange-buff coloration on the flanks, and a heavily speckled throat. It also had some green on the flanks and a few spots of pinkish-red on the gorget, marking it as an immature male.

Photo credit to Louie Dombroski


An overwintering male Lazuli Bunting has recently been joined by another, both birds in fine plumage as their duller feather tips have worn away revealing their breeding season colors of bright blue and orange that lay hidden underneath.

Photo credit to Louie Dombroski

The birds are definitely back in town.