July 14, 2016

The adult, full-plumaged and handsome Vesper Sparrow is still here! It’s hard not to think this is the same bird of June 2nd, which was a rare-enough occurrence then. There is no record of the species having been seen in southern Arizona in July, will this mean something beyond global weirding? Has the constant and herculean effort of improving and restoring these river-shelf pastures so paid off for grassland birds that this species didn’t feel the call of its cooler summer home above The Rim this year? In the era before the great degradation of the Southwestern desert ranges by robber cattle barons and this endlessly fickle climate, would the Vesper Sparrow have been here–if sparingly–in July? Or is there a factor in play, of not many binocular-toting observers being on the ground outside an air-conditioned car, or tractor cab? Would it have been here now if so many Cascabel people and Saguaro-Juniper members and Tucson folk and even visitors from far away States over so many hours of the past ten years not dug and pulled and pricked their hides on the mesquites of every size that had to be removed if this grassland were to become whole again?