Flagstaff, AZ
October 2022

There is a short loop I can walk in my neighborhood. It goes by houses and on the FUTS, Flagstaff Urban Trail System. The trail follows a (currently dry) stream bed that can fill during the monsoon rains. Many green shrubs and trees line the banks creating a moist riparian area that attracts birds. I’ve seen bluebirds, yellow-rumped warblers, steller jays, juncos, pine siskins and other small birds moving too quickly to identify. A small flock of pine siskins were feeding at the top of this blue spruce supporting a bumper crop of pine cones. While blue spruces are native to this area, this one was probably planted as an lawn ornamental. Pine siskins have the unique distinction of being unusally adapted to cold winters by having an metabolic rate 40% higher than other similar birds.

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