I've never understood why cactus wrens don't get more love. Just the other day, I overheard someone pompously telling her friends that the roadrunner was the state bird of Arizona. Um, no. New Mexico has the roadrunner. Our state bird -- like our people -- is loud, feisty, and a resourceful survivor. We get the cactus wren. Other state symbols include, embarrassingly, the bolo tie as state neckwear and, sadly, the Colt revolver as state gun; so I'm happy we at least got some super-cool animals to represent us. These little birds take the prickliest and most uncomfortable of homes, and make it look appealing. Could there be a better spokesbird for this state?
Cactus wrens (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) mostly eat insects, but their diet, like any good Arizona diet, consists of a diverse blend -- wasps, grasshoppers, and beetles supplemented by the occasional fruit, seed, or even frog or reptile. They're larger than our house and canyon wrens by a few inches, but their personalities (birdonalities?) are what really distinguish them -- excitable temper, a call like a car engine, a sort of obnoxious charm. Yep. They're Arizonans.
Enjoy some more cactus wrens. I actually had to cull quite a bit so as not to give you hundreds. Apparently I like them even more than I'd realized. Happy Monday, everyone. Spiders or sparrows next, I think.