I consider October to be the one year anniversary of my full-blown birding obsession. Little did I know that Verrado, a small patch of green in the middle of the Arizona desert, would serve as a gateway drug, giving rise to my current addiction: to search out and photograph anything with feathers.
But before I introduce you to a few of the birds I’ve found here, let me tell you just a little about the community that my husband and I moved to nearly two years ago. It is nestled in the foothills of the White Tank Mountains, about 25 miles west of downtown Phoenix. Verrado’s name is derived from the Spanish word, “verdad,” which means truth and authenticity and it was the Founders’ vision to create a welcoming community with small-town charm. From lofts, row homes and cottages, to larger, single-family homes, golf and foothill homes, the designs are based on traditional Craftsman, Western Regional Farmhouse, Ranch Hacienda and other authentic architectural styles. Many include inviting front porches that ooze with the neighborly atmosphere the Founders had envisioned. In addition to numerous parks throughout the neighborhoods, there are over 21 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as additional back-country trails that venture into the White Tank Mountain Regional and Skyline Regional parks.
This melting pot of ecosystems – from dry Sonoran washes to lush trees that canopy over narrow streets and parks – draws a wide variety of wildlife, including many year ’round resident birds, as well as migratory birds that pass through on their way to summer or winter habitats.
In honor of this new passion of mine, let me share with you just a few of the birds I’ve found in my ‘hood over the last year. By the way, the bird at the top of this post is a Cactus Wren, Arizona’s State Bird. Its name means curved beak and it is the largest wren in North America.