The Gray Birds

Gray Vireo

There are several species of birds of the Pinyon – Juniper woodlands that are just plain; nondescript. Yet, they are quite cute and entertaining.

The first one I observed was the Gray Vireo. I found it fairly close to my apartment. It is a resident of the punishingly hot deserts of the southwestern part of the U.S., such as the Colorado National Monument. This vireo is gray above and whitish below.

The Gray Vireo’s scientific name (vicinior) means “neighboring,” which refers to its similarity to other gray and/or white birds such as the Juniper Titmouse and Bushtit, occupying similar habitat. Sony a1 + 600mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 840mm, ISO 640 f/5.6, 1/2500. ©Stanley Buman.

Bushtits are tiny drab birds. They tend to move through the trees in small flocks. If you notice small grayish birds flying from one tree to another in single file, they are likely Bushtits. They are often inconspicuous while feeding in a tree until they start flying out of one and into another. Several times, I have had flocks fly into trees near to me, and ignore me completely as they go about feeding.

Bushtits are fairly plain brown and gray birds. The female has yellow eyes and male has black eyes. Sony a1 + 600mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 840mm, ISO 640 f/5.6, 1/1250. ©Stanley Buman.

A third species I have enjoyed seeing is the Juniper Titmouse. It is possibly the plainest bird in North America, medium gray overall with no patterning. Despite its dull plumage, it is undeniably cute with a large eye, plain face, and crest.

The Juniper Titmouse can frequently be found comingling with flocks of Bushtits, along with other species. When you see a flock of Bushtits, make sure to pick through the flock, looking for titmice. Sony a1 + 600mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter @ 840mm, ISO 640 f/5.6, 1/1250. ©Stanley Buman.

The Pinyon – Juniper woodlands are often ignored by passers-by. Yet, the woodlands serve as a home to many unique species, including the three depicted above. Spend some time and explore this unique habitat and its resident wildlife.

10 thoughts on “The Gray Birds”

    1. Thanks Sue. They are quite entertaining, especially when they are feeding right in front of me. They tend to hang upside-down, like chickadees, while feeding.

  1. Super as is your custom.
    Was in Carroll this morning and they got a really good rain.
    Ida Grove only .2 tenths.

    1. Thanks Don. I am really glad to hear that west central Iowa is getting rain. I hope the Ida Grove area has caught some timely rains.

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