Birdspotting

The population of migratory snowbirds continues to build as Palm Springs enters high season. So far, species have been spotted from 38 US states, 4 Canadian provinces, and 1 Mexican state. Quite a few more than that, actually, but they were moving too fast to photograph.

Pennsylvania snowbird

The snowbird pictured here is the grey-crested Pennsylvania snowbird. Note the short, gray, nearly white plummage on the sides of the head. This is the male of the species, typified by a broad flap protruding over the eyes, presumably having evolved as an adaptive response to sunshine. The snowbird is generally even-tempered and easily domesticated. Some, however, especially the more aged specimens, appear to have suffered from disorientation during their migration and display confused and erratic behavior after first arriving at the wintering grounds.

My own resident snowbird is friend Bret from Vancouver who has been visiting over the Thanksgiving holidays (the US Thanksgiving, not the Canadian one, which is in October). He has enthusiastically taken up snowbird spotting; I've had to use the child-locks on the car doors to prevent him from leaping into traffic whenever he spots a new species.

Check out the gallery of snowbird sightings.