Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Spotted Towhee at Grand Canyon National Park

We were having our last presentation at Desert View in Grand Canyon on our recent trip, and while the students were having stage fright about what their professor was thinking about their performance, their professor's attention was instead drawn to the top of the nearby Utah Juniper. The strange looking red-eyed bird perched on top is a Spotted Towhee (Pipilo maculatus). It's actually a large member of the sparrow family, and is well adapted to southwestern deserts. They are beautiful birds, but I find those red eyes a bit disconcerting.

The Grand Canyon is a marvelous backdrop for bird watching. The Desert Watchtower is patterned after the towers of the Ancestral Pueblo people, but is much larger than any of the towers built in ancient times. Situated at the east end of the canyon, it fills a bit less crowded and busy than the main tourist centers of the park. 

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