The Elusive Mexican Spotted Owl
According to Audubon Magazine, the Mexican Spotted Owl is the rarest one in the United States. Highly localized within its wide range,(travels from Mexico north thru Arizona, New Mexico to Utah, and Colorado) this creature seeks out cool, shady canyons, often in areas surrounded by the hot, dry slopes of desert mountains. It doesn’t breed every year; but when it does they prefer spacious tree hollows in old-growth trees. If such sites aren’t available, the bird will adopt secondhand nests of other birds or occupy shallow caves in canyon cliffs. Since this owl is only 18 inches tall and weighs only one pound, it is hard to spot and unfortunately is on the threatened list.
Furthermore, this is the time of year to be in Arizona. The weather is warm and the birds as well as people love it. A fabled land of specialty birds, however, Arizona offers rewards in all seasons. The 52 sites identified on the Southeastern Arizona Birding Trail offer plenty of choices for a winter retreat. Follow the trail to streams through arid country, lined with willows and cottonwoods and you’ll find Abert’s Towhees lurking in the shadows and brilliant Vermillion Flycatchers in the treetops. For more information, visit www.seazbirding.com