Readers’ wildlife photographs

May 13, 2015 • 8:20 am

Do send in your GOOD photos: I have a fairly comfortable backlog, but could always use more.

I saw an adorable squirrel photograph on Pete Moulton’s Facebook page (one of the advantages of having Facebook!), and begged him for more squirrel photos. Here are the results, with bonus birds:

Per your request, here are a few more shots of the little family of Round-tailed Ground Squirrels (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus) that was out and about on Sunday at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. The pups are about half-grown, as you can see in the shot of one with Mom.

R-t Ground Squirrel_5-10-15_DBG_3709

Testing potential food supplies:

R-t Ground Squirrel_5-10-15_DBG_3776

Mom checking me out to make sure she and the pups were safe:

R-t Ground Squirrel_5-10-15_DBG_3802

And a bird from the Garden, also on Sunday. This one’s a male Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) feeding at hesperaloe:


And, finally, a male Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis, visiting at lunchtime during our North American Migration Count stint at the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum near Superior. A lot of people, including local natives, aren’t aware that cardinals occur naturally in Arizona:


16 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photographs

  1. The red of the cardinal is just so beautifully vibrant. The black around the beak makes it so dramatic.
    Certainly not camouflaged….really exciting to see.

    1. My thoughts too about the vibrant red. I’ve only seen a cardinal in person once, and remembered it as more of a dark, cooler red. Maybe the photo is a bit saturated…

      1. Where did you see the cardinal, Mark? The reason I ask is that it’s a variable species that varies clinally from the smallest, shortest-crested and dullest coloration in eastern North America to the largest, longest-crested, and brightest red birds at the western end of the range (from SW New Mexico to SE California).

        1. Aha, thanks for the added information; what you say makes perfect sense since I saw it in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

    1. Red in birds generally doesn’t mean aggression, per se. It means “Hey, I can afford to display a lot of expensive pigments. I’m special, and you should mate with me.” Most red and yellow pigments on birds are carotenoids, which they get from their food. There’s a lot of research on house finches showing that male birds with more red (both intensity and covered area) are more attractive to females. Cardinals must have a diet especially rich in carotenoids to afford all that color.

  2. What a darling squirrel species!

    Great hummingbird shot–among other things, it shows off their ridiculously tiny feet!

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