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Natural history

Purple Martins

I’ve seen these birds before but have failed to identify them, thinking they were some type of swallow. But the description in Sibley, particularly of the Western female, is conclusive. They make a gurgling chirp as the fly or, as in this case, bicker. I think these are the birds I saw last summer hanging around a saguaro, and that the birds I thought were starlings then were just the males. Nice to have that cleared up.

The Harris’s Hawk was there again today, also a beautiful Pyrrhuloxia.


About Bill McCallum

I was born in Australia and came to the United States to pursue a Ph. D. in mathematics at Harvard University, met my wife, and never went back. I am a professor at the University of Arizona, working in number theory and mathematics education.


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