This is a tail of separation anxiety between my bird and me and my mom and her village.
from the Joni Mitchell song “big yellow taxi” come the words “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone” So it was interesting to hear that popcorn was “beside herself” in my absence – I learned this from a 1000 miles away – in Oklahoma – maybe. How did I get here? Funny you should ask.
some of us compensate for anxiety by over eating
last week’s email header said:
This week things are a bit abbreviated. Please let me know if there’s any errors in the news letter – rushing down to Silver City, New Mexico – 3200 miles in 4 days round trip on the Rocket (’09 Triumph Rocket III Classic for all you bikers) so I can argue with my mother in person.
Some of you may have gone or be going through this now. In 1993 I personally moved my mother with all her possessions including her car into a small apartment in Silver city New Mexico. For reasons I don’t remember a town she fell in love with.
Recently at the age of 85 she found herself with fewer friends. Some moved away, others had passed. She decided to come back to Chicago. Originally the plan was for me to fly into El Paso Texas pick up a 22 foot truck, Drive to Silver city, load up the truck and haul her and all her stuff (although she still drives she’s selling her car) back to Chicago.
Not the perfect plan but I’m old-school and do what my mom asks. In the meantime I booked a ticket but I also started calling movers. I remember having moved her into a one-bedroom apartment. I had not returned to Silver city since the move (she comes up to Chicago on a regular basis) and the fact that she had moved into a two-bedroom apartment during this period apparently eluded me.
Although one my sister Melinda Rezman is a well-known psychotherapist here in Chicago I really didn’t need a professional to tell me that my mother was experiencing separation anxiety and was having a melt down. It was profound and needed to be addressed. Airfare with car-rental $500-$700. Car-rental with gas $600-$800. My other sister Monica. is residing in Mexico with my niece Ruby now so she dodged this bullet.
I don’t have an actual bucket list, but if I did my next move would have been a scratch off. The phone call with mom ended at 11:10am. I was on the Rocket at 2:15pm, Thinking this “will be fun”
2009 Triumph Rocket 3 Classic bought new in 2010 w/ zero miles
2 of 3 crash helmets used on trip – a whole other story
Rubberbanding my way out of the city through rush hour traffic in a direction I rarely if ever travel of late – southwest. At some point south of Coal city IL, I owned the road. Pulling into some town southwest of St. Louis about 1 AM, I wanted to ride farther but I found it difficult to negotiate winding roads in darkness at high speeds (90 mph +)
Saturday started out overcast. No one who rides motorcycles likes to ride in the rain but you can’t do a cross-country trip without a rain suit. If you are a motorcyclist reading this and are thinking about getting a rain suit or you’re unhappy with yours, the trick is to make sure it’s not only waterproof but “wind proof” so you don’t have flapping fabric annoying you on top of the rain.
I have a high quality Triumph rain suit and had the foresight to practice putting it on before I left because you don’t want to struggle with something like this on the road – in the rain.
Somewhere on I44 just before getting on the Oklahoma Turnpike clearly now missing some other components of foresight, I learned 3 valuable lessons about motorcycle rain suits after getting raindrops on the windscreen and helmet face shield
- Take your wallet out of your chaps and put it in the outer pocket of the rain suit otherwise you’ll be forced to go through 10 feet of zippers and Velcro to get four dollars to pay your toll pissing off a lot of other divers (karma) .
- Put the reflective belt use to cinch the fabric around your waist, around your waist not on the left mirror, where I noticed it as I was entering the on-ramp.
- When you need to pee, you’ll have access to the wallet which means you can take four dollars out and stick it in the gauntlet of your clutch hand glove (The 2nd tollbooth girl got all giddy when I asked her to root around my glove for the four bucks:-)
The rain meant I wasn’t going to do near the 700 miles in one day I thought I could. An unmemorable night 2 was spent in Amarillo Texas. Full from my La Quinta Inn breakfast (nothing says welcome better than a waffle the shape of Texas), I was psyched knowing I would be in Silver city by the end of today, the (third) day. The 50 mile an hour gusts of wind across the geographically flat panhandle (as the weather channel predicted) brought the relationship between motorcyclist and motorcycle closer than ever.
Dodging tumbleweed, which I thought only existed in old movies, I continued to descend the United States while starting to climb the mountains towards Albuquerque New Mexico. The faster I went the more aerodynamic I became. At 100 miles an hour (around 4000 RPM) the three cylinder water cooled 140 Cubic inch engine with transmission & shaft drive by Maserati made it remarkably easy to pass an endless conga line of trucks & RV’s laboring up the steep grades in a headwind.
Ironically I was listening to Dave Matthews “Ants Marching” on XM radio at one point with my modified Harmon Kardon earbuds using disposable moldable silicone ear plugs replacing the standard rubber tips, sealing out the sound of 100 mph plus air rushing in and around the helmet.
At some point I lifted the face shield at highway speed and it was never the same again. It wouldn’t stay up and would drop-down with the edge in the middle of my line of sight – ergo the third helmet (see pic above) with new embedded electronics purchased on day 5 at Cycle Gear in Albuquerque. (a terrific sales staff there).
As the wind died with my ascension to the mountains and green was oozing everywhere – it’s spring – and birds – are everywhere too. This made me wonder how many kinds of birds might be found in New Mexico? here’s the list from Wikipedia.
Ducks, geese and swans
The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, bills which are flattened to a greater or lesser extent, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to special oils. There are 38 New Mexico species.
- Black-bellied whistling-duck, Dendrocygna autumnalis
- Fulvous whistling-duck, Dendrocygna bicolor
- Greater white-fronted goose, Anser albifrons
- Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
- Ross’s goose, Chen rossii
- Brant, Branta bernicla
- Cackling goose, Branta hutchinsonii
- Canada goose, Branta canadensis
- Trumpeter swan, Cygnus buccinator
- Tundra swan, Cygnus columbianus
- Wood duck, Aix sponsa
- Gadwall, Anas strepera
- Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
- American wigeon, Anas americana
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Blue-winged teal, Anas discors
- Cinnamon teal, Anas cyanoptera
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Garganey, Anas querquedula
- Green-winged teal, Anas crecca
- Canvasback, Aythya valisineria
- Redhead, Aythya americana
- Ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris
- Greater scaup, Aythya marila
- Lesser scaup, Aythya affinis
- Harlequin duck, Histrionicus histrionicus
- Surf scoter, Melanitta perspicillata
- White-winged scoter, Melanitta fusca
- Black scoter, Melanitta americana
- Long-tailed duck, Clangula hyemalis
- Bufflehead, Bucephala albeola
- Common goldeneye, Bucephala clangula
- Barrow’s goldeneye, Bucephala islandica
- Hooded merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus
- Common merganser, Mergus merganser
- Red-breasted merganser, Mergus serrator
- Ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensis
Partridges, grouse, turkeys and Old World quail
Phasianidae consists of the pheasants and their allies. These are terrestrial species, variable in size but generally plump with broad relatively short wings. Many species are gamebirds or have been domesticated as a food source for humans. There are 7 New Mexico species.
- Ring-necked pheasant, Phasianus colchicus (I)
- Gunnison sage-grouse, Centrocercus minimus
- White-tailed ptarmigan, Lagopus leucurus
- Dusky grouse, Dendragapus obscurus
- Sharp-tailed grouse, Tympanuchus phasianellus
- Lesser prairie-chicken, Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
- Wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo
New World quail
The New World quails are small, plump terrestrial birds only distantly related to the quails of the Old World, but named for their similar appearance and habits. There are 4 New Mexico species.
- Scaled quail, Callipepla squamata
- Gambel’s quail, Callipepla gambelii
- Northern bobwhite, Colinus virginianus
- Montezuma quail, Cyrtonyx montezumae
Loons are aquatic birds the size of a large duck, to which they are unrelated. Their plumage is largely gray or black, and they have spear-shaped bills. Loons swim well and fly adequately, but are almost hopeless on land, because their legs are placed towards the rear of the body. There are 4 New Mexico species.
- Red-throated loon, Gavia stellata
- Pacific loon, Gavia pacifica
- Common loon, Gavia immer
- Yellow-billed loon, “Gavia adamsii”
Grebes are small to medium-large freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 6 New Mexico species.
- Pied-billed grebe, Podilymbus podiceps
- Horned grebe, Podiceps auritus
- Red-necked grebe, Podiceps grisegena
- Eared grebe, Podiceps nigricollis
- Western grebe, Aechmorphorus occidentalis
- Clark’s grebe, Aechmorphorus clarkii
The storm-petrels are the smallest seabirds, relatives of the petrels, feeding on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Least storm-petrel, Oceanodroma microsoma
Pelicans are very large water birds with a distinctive pouch under their beak. Like other birds in the order Pelecaniformes, they have four webbed toes. There are 2 New Mexico species.
Cormorants are medium-to-large aquatic birds, usually with mainly dark plumage and areas of colored skin on the face. The bill is long, thin and sharply hooked. Their feet are four-toed and webbed, a distinguishing feature among the Pelecaniformes order. There are 2 New Mexico species.
Darters are cormorant-like water birds with very long necks and long, straight beaks. They are fish eaters which often swim with only their neck above the water. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Anhinga, Anhinga anhinga
Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black or black-and-white, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have colored inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Magnificent frigatebird, Fregata magnificens
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the herons, egrets and bitterns. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more secretive. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills. There are 12 New Mexico species.
- American bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus
- Least bittern, Ixobrychus exilis
- Great blue heron, Ardea herodias
- Great egret, Ardea alba
- Snowy egret, Egretta thula
- Little blue heron, Egretta caerulea
- Tricolored heron, Egretta tricolor
- Reddish egret, Egretta rufescens
- Cattle egret, Bubulcus ibis
- Green heron, Butorides virescens
- Black-crowned night-heron, Nycticorax nycticorax
- Yellow-crowned night-heron, Nyctanassa violacea
Ibises and spoonbills
The family Threskiornithidae includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings. Their bodies tend to be elongated, the neck more so, with rather long legs. The bill is also long, decurved in the case of the ibises, straight and distinctively flattened in the spoonbills. There are 4 New Mexico species.
- American white ibis, Eudocimus albus
- Glossy ibis, Plegadis falcinellus
- White-faced ibis, Plegadis chihi
- Roseate spoonbill, Platalea ajaja
Storks are large, heavy, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills and wide wingspans. They lack the powder down that other wading birds such as herons, spoonbills and ibises use to clean off fish slime. Storks lack a pharynx and are mute. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Wood stork, Mycteria americana
New World vultures
The New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures, but superficially resemble them because of convergent evolution. Like the Old World vultures, they are scavengers, however, unlike Old World vultures, which find carcasses by sight, New World vultures have a good sense of smell with which they locate carcasses. There are 2 New Mexico species
- Osprey, Pandion haliaetus
Hawks, kites and eagles
Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey, which includes hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons and keen eyesight. There are 20 New Mexico species.
- Swallow-tailed kite, Elanoides forficatus
- White-tailed kite, “Elanus leucurus”
- Mississippi kite, Ictinia mississippiensis
- Bald eagle, Haliaeetus leucocephalus
- Northern harrier, Circus cyaneus
- Sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter striatus
- Cooper’s hawk, Accipiter cooperii
- Northern goshawk, Accipiter gentilis
- Common black-hawk, Buteogallus anthracinus
- Harris’s hawk, Parabuteo unicinctus
- Red-shouldered hawk, Buteo lineatus
- Broad-winged hawk, Buteo platypterus
- Gray hawk, Buteo plagiatus
- Short-tailed hawk, Buteo brachyurus
- Swainson’s hawk, Buteo swainsoni
- Zone-tailed hawk, Buteo albonotatus
- Red-tailed hawk, Buteo jamaicensis
- Ferruginous hawk, Buteo regalis
- Rough-legged hawk, Buteo lagopus
- Golden eagle, Aquila chrysaetos
Caracaras and falcons
Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey, notably the falcons and caracaras. They differ from hawks, eagles and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their talons. There are 6 New Mexico species.
- Crested caracara, Caracara cheriway
- American kestrel, Falco sparverius
- Merlin, Falco columbarius
- Aplomado falcon, Falco femoralis
- Peregrine falcon, Falco peregrinus
- Prairie falcon, Falco mexicanus
Rails, gallinules and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots and gallinules. The most typical family members occupy dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and tend to be weak fliers. There are 8 New Mexico species.
- Yellow rail, Coturnicops noveboracensis
- Black rail, Laterallus jamaicensis
- King rail, Rallus elegans
- Virginia rail, Rallus limicola
- Sora, Porzana carolina
- American purple gallinule, Porphyrio martinica
- Common gallinule, Gallinula galeata
- American coot, Fulica americana
Cranes are large, long-legged and long-necked birds. Unlike the similar-looking but unrelated herons, cranes fly with necks outstretched, not pulled back. Most have elaborate and noisy courting displays or “dances”. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Sandhill crane, Grus canadensis
Lapwings and plovers
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 7 New Mexico species.
- Black-bellied plover, Pluvialis squatarola
- American golden-plover, Pluvialis dominica
- Snowy plover, Charadrius nivosus
- Semipalmated plover, Charadrius semipalmatus
- Piping plover, Charadrius melodus
- Killdeer, Charadrius vociferus
- Mountain plover, Charadrius montanus
Stilts and avocets[
Recurvirostridae is a family of large wading birds, which includes the avocets and stilts. The avocets have long legs and long up-curved bills. The stilts have extremely long legs and long, thin, straight bills. There are 2 New Mexico species.
Sandpipers, curlews, stints, godwits, snipes and phalaropes
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Different lengths of legs and bills enable multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 34 New Mexico species.
- Spotted sandpiper, Actitis macularia
- Solitary sandpiper, Tringa solitaria
- Wandering tattler, Tringa incana
- Greater yellowlegs, Tringa melanoleuca
- Willet, Tringa semipalmata
- Lesser yellowlegs, Tringa flavipes
- Upland sandpiper, Bartramia longicauda
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Long-billed curlew, Numenius americanus
- Hudsonian godwit, Limosa haemastica
- Marbled godwit, Limosa fedoa
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Red knot, Calidris canutus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Semipalmated sandpiper, Calidris pusilla
- Western sandpiper, Calidris mauri
- Little stint, Calidris minuta
- Least sandpiper, Calidris minutilla
- White-rumped sandpiper, Calidris fuscicollis
- Baird’s sandpiper, Calidris bairdii
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata
- Dunlin, Calidris alpina
- Curlew sandpiper, Calidris ferruginea
- Stilt sandpiper, Calidris himantopus
- Buff-breasted sandpiper, Calidris subruficollis
- Ruff, Calidris pugnax
- Short-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus griseus
- Long-billed dowitcher, Limnodromus scolopaceus
- Wilson’s snipe, Gallinago delicata
- American woodcock, Scolopax minor
- Wilson’s phalarope, Phalaropus tricolor
- Red-necked phalarope, Phalaropus lobatus
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius
Gulls, terns and skimmers
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds and includes jaegers, skuas, gulls, terns, kittiwakes and skimmers. They are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 27 New Mexico species.
- Black-legged kittiwake, Rissa tridactyla
- Sabine’s gull, Xema sabini
- Bonaparte’s gull, Chroicocephalus philadelphia
- Little gull, Hydrocoloeus minutus
- Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla
- Franklin’s gull, Leucophaeus pipixcan
- Black-tailed gull, Larus crassirostris
- Heermann’s gull, Larus heermanni
- Mew gull, Larus canus
- Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis
- California gull, Larus californicus
- Herring gull, Larus argentatus
- Thayer’s gull, Larus thayeri
- Iceland gull, Larus glaucoides
- Lesser black-backed gull, Larus fuscus
- Glaucous-winged gull, Larus glaucescens
- Glaucous gull, Larus hyperboreus
- Least tern, Sternula antillarum
- Gull-billed tern, Gelochelidon nilotica
- Caspian tern, Hydroprogne caspia
- Black tern, Chlidonias niger
- Common tern, Sterna hirundo
- Arctic tern, Sterna paradisaea
- Forster’s tern, Sterna forsteri
- Royal tern, Thalasseus maxima
- Elegant tern, Thalasseus elegans
- Black skimmer, Rynchops niger
- Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus
- Parasitic jaeger, Stercorarius parasiticus
- Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus
Auks, murres and puffins
The family Alcidae includes auks, murres and puffins. These are short winged birds that live on the open sea and normally only come ashore for breeding. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Ancient murrelet, Synthliboarmphus antiquus
Pigeons and doves
Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 8 New Mexico species.
- Rock dove, Columba livia (I)
- Band-tailed pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata
- Eurasian collared-dove, Streptopelia decaocto (I)
- White-winged dove, Zenaida asiatica
- Mourning dove, Zenaida macroura
- Inca dove, Columbina inca
- Common ground-dove, Columbina passerina
- Ruddy ground dove, Columbina talpacoti
Cuckoos, roadrunners and anis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites. There are 4 New Mexico species.
- Black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus
- Yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus
- Greater roadrunner, Geococcyx californianus
- Groove-billed ani, Crotophaga sulcirostris
Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Barn owl, Tyto alba
Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 14 species in New Mexico.
- Flammulated owl, Psiloscops flammeolus
- Western screech-owl, Megascops kennicottii
- Eastern screech-owl, Megascops asio
- Whiskered screech-owl, Megascops trichopsis
- Great horned owl, Bubo virginianus
- Northern pygmy-owl, Glaucidium gnoma
- Elf owl, Micrathene whitneyi
- Burrowing owl, Athene cunicularia
- Spotted owl, Strix occidentalis
- Barred owl, Strix varia
- Long-eared owl, Asio otus
- Short-eared owl, Asio flammeus
- Boreal owl, Aegolius funereus
- Northern saw-whet owl, Aegolius acadicus
Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds that usually nest on the ground. They have long wings, short legs and very short bills. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is cryptically colored to resemble bark or leaves. There are 7 New Mexico species.
- Lesser nighthawk, Chordeiles acutipennis
- Common nighthawk, Chordeiles minor
- Common poorwill, Phalaenoptilus nuttallii
- Chuck-will’s-widow, Antrostomus carolinensis
- Buff-collared nightjar, Antrostomus ridgwayi
- Eastern whip-poor-will, Antrostomus vociferus
- Mexican whip-poor-will, Antrostomus arizonae
The swifts are small birds which spend the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have very long, swept-back wings which resemble a crescent or boomerang. There are 3 New Mexico species.
- Black swift, Cypseloides niger
- Chimney swift, Chaetura pelagica
- White-throated swift, Aeronautes saxatalis
Hummingbirds are small birds capable of hovering in mid-air due to the rapid flapping of their wings. They are the only birds that can fly backwards. There are 17 New Mexico species.
- Green violetear, Colibri thalassinus
- Broad-billed hummingbird, Cynanthus latirostris
- White-eared hummingbird, Hylocharis leucotis
- Berylline hummingbird, Amazilia beryllina
- Cinnamon hummingbird, Amazilia rutila
- Violet-crowned hummingbird, Amazilia violiceps
- Blue-throated hummingbird, Lampornis clemenciae
- Magnificent hummingbird, Eugenes fulgens
- Lucifer hummingbird, Calothorax lucifer
- Ruby-throated hummingbird, Archilochus colubris
- Black-chinned hummingbird, Archilochus alexandri
- Anna’s hummingbird, Calypte anna
- Costa’s hummingbird, Calypte costae
- Calliope hummingbird, Selasphorus calliope
- Broad-tailed hummingbird, Selasphorus platycercus
- Rufous hummingbird, Selasphorus rufus
- Allen’s hummingbird, Selasphorus sasin
Trogons are residents of tropical forests worldwide and have soft, often colorful, feathers with distinctive male and female plumage. They have compact bodies with long tails and short necks. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Elegant trogon, Trogon elegans
Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails. There are 2 New Mexico species.
Woodpeckers, sapsuckers and flickers
Woodpeckers are small to medium-sized birds with chisel-like beaks, short legs, stiff tails and long tongues used for capturing insects. Some species have feet with two toes pointing forward and two backward, while several species have only three toes. Many woodpeckers have the habit of tapping noisily on tree trunks with their beaks. There are 14 New Mexico species.
- Lewis’s woodpecker, Melanerpes lewis
- Red-headed woodpecker, Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Acorn woodpecker, Melanerpes formicivorus
- Gila woodpecker, Melanerpes uropygialis
- Red-bellied woodpecker, Melanerpes carolinus
- Williamson’s sapsucker, Sphyrapicus thyroideus
- Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Sphyrapicus varius
- Red-naped sapsucker, Sphyrapicus nuchalis
- Ladder-backed woodpecker, Picoides scalaris
- Downy woodpecker, Picoides pubescens
- Hairy woodpecker, Picoides villosus
- Arizona woodpecker, Picoides arizonae
- American three-toed woodpecker, Picoides dorsalis
- Northern flicker, Colaptes auratus
Tyrant flycatchers are Passerine birds which occur throughout North and South America. They superficially resemble the Old World flycatchers, but are more robust and have stronger bills. They do not have the sophisticated vocal capabilities of the songbirds. Most, but not all, are rather plain. As the name implies, most are insectivorous. There are 32 New Mexico species.
- Northern beardless-tyrannulet, Camptostoma imberbe
- Olive-sided flycatcher, Contopus cooperi
- Greater pewee, Contopus pertinax
- Western wood-pewee, Contopus sordidulus
- Eastern wood-pewee, Contopus virens
- Yellow-bellied flycatcher, Empidonax flaviventris
- Acadian flycatcher, Empidonax virescens
- Willow flycatcher, Empidonax traillii
- Least flycatcher, Empidonax minimus
- Hammond’s flycatcher, Empidonax hammondii
- Gray flycatcher, Empidonax wrightii
- American dusky flycatcher, Empidonax oberholseri
- Pacific-slope flycatcher, Empidonax difficilis
- Cordilleran flycatcher, Empidonax occidentalis
- Buff-breasted flycatcher, Empidonax fulvifrons
- Black phoebe, Sayornis nigricans
- Eastern phoebe, Sayornis phoebe
- Say’s phoebe, Sayornis saya
- Vermilion flycatcher, Pyrocephalus rubinus
- Dusky-capped flycatcher, Myiarchus tuberculifer
- Ash-throated flycatcher, Myiarchus cinerascens
- Great crested flycatcher, Myiarchus crinitus
- Brown-crested flycatcher, Myiarchus tyrannulus
- Great kiskadee, Pitangus sulphuratus
- Sulphur-bellied flycatcher, Myiodynnastes luteiventris
- Piratic flycatcher, Legatus leucophaius
- Couch’s kingbird, Tyrannus couchii
- Cassin’s kingbird, Tyrannus vociferans
- Thick-billed kingbird, Tyrannus crassirostris
- Western kingbird, Tyrannus verticalis
- Eastern kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus
- Scissor-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus
Fun feathered factoid –>>Shrikes are passerine birds known for their habit of catching other birds and small animals and impaling the uneaten portions of their bodies on thorns. A typical shrike’s beak is hooked, like a bird of prey. There are 2 New Mexico species.
The vireos are a group of small to medium-sized passerine birds restricted to the New World. They are typically greenish in color and resemble wood warblers apart from their heavier bills. There are 13 New Mexico species.
- White-eyed vireo, Vireo griseus
- Bell’s vireo, Vireo bellii
- Black-capped vireo, Vireo atricapilla
- Gray vireo, Vireo vicinior
- Yellow-throated vireo, Vireo flavifrons
- Plumbeous vireo, Vireo plumbeus
- Cassin’s vireo, Vireo cassinii
- Blue-headed vireo, Vireo solitarius
- Hutton’s vireo, Vireo huttoni
- Warbling vireo, Vireo gilvus
- Philadelphia vireo, Vireo philadelphicus
- Red-eyed vireo, Vireo olivaceus
- Yellow-green vireo, Vireo flavoviridis
Jays, crows, magpies and ravens
The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size among the Passeriformes, and some of the larger species show high levels of intelligence. There are 10 New Mexico species.
- Gray jay, Perisoreus canadensis
- Steller’s jay, Cyanocitta stelleri
- Blue jay, Cyanocitta cristata
- Western scrub-jay, Aphelocoma californica
- Mexican jay, Aphelocoma wollweberi
- Pinyon jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
- Clark’s nutcracker, Nucifraga columbiana
- Black-billed magpie, Pica hudsonia
- American crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Chihuahuan raven, Corvus cryptoleucus
- Common raven, Corvus corax
Larks are small terrestrial birds with often extravagant songs and display flights. Most larks are fairly dull in appearance. Their food is insects and seeds. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Horned lark, Eremophila alpestris
Swallows and martins
The Hirundinidae family is adapted to aerial feeding. They have a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and a short bill with a wide gape. The feet are adapted to perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 8 New Mexico species.
- Purple martin, Progne subis
- Tree swallow, Tachycineta bicolor
- Violet-green swallow, Tachycineta thalassina
- Northern rough-winged swallow, Stelgidopteryx serripennis
- Bank swallow, Riparia riparia
- Cliff swallow, Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
- Cave swallow, Petrochelidon fulva
- Barn swallow, Hirundo rustica
Chickadees and titmice
The Paridae are mainly small stocky woodland species with short stout bills. Some have crests. They are adaptable birds, with a mixed diet including seeds and insects. There are 5 New Mexico species.
- Black-capped chickadee, Poecile atricapilla
- Mountain chickadee, Poecile gambeli
- Mexican chickadee, Poecile sclateri
- Bridled titmouse, Baeolophus wollweberi
- Juniper titmouse, Baeolophus ridgwayi
- Verdin, Auriparus flaviceps
Bushtits are a group of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They make woven bag nests in trees. Most eat a mixed diet which includes insects. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Bushtit, Psaltriparus minimus
Nuthatches are small woodland birds. They have the unusual ability to climb down trees head first, unlike other birds which can only go upwards. Nuthatches have big heads, short tails and powerful bills and feet. There are 3 New Mexico species.
- Red-breasted nuthatch, Sitta canadensis
- White-breasted nuthatch, Sitta carolinensis
- Pygmy nuthatch, Sitta pygmaea
Treecreepers are small woodland birds, brown above and white below. They have thin pointed down-curved bills, which they use to extricate insects from bark. They have stiff tail feathers, like woodpeckers, which they use to support themselves on vertical trees. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- Brown creeper, Certhia americana
Wrens are small and inconspicuous birds, except for their loud songs. They have short wings and thin down-turned bills. Several species often hold their tails upright. All are insectivorous. There are 9 New Mexico species.
- Cactus wren, Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
- Rock wren, Salpinctes obsoletus
- Canyon wren, Catherpes mexicanus
- Carolina wren, Thryothorus ludovicianus
- Bewick’s wren, Thryomanes bewickii
- House wren, Troglodytes aedon
- Winter wren, Troglodytes hiemalis
- Pacific wren, Troglodytes pacificus
- Sedge wren, Cistothorus platensis
- Marsh wren, Cistothorus palustris
Dippers are small, stout, birds that feed in cold, fast moving streams. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- American dipper, Cinclus mexicanus
The kinglets are a small family of birds which resemble the titmice. They are very small insectivorous birds in the genus Regulus. The adults have colored crowns, giving rise to their names. There are 2 New Mexico species.
- Blue-gray gnatcatcher, Polioptila caerulea
- Black-tailed gnatcatcher, Polioptila melanura
- Black-capped gnatcatcher, Polioptila nigriceps
The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly but not exclusively in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 12 New Mexico species.
- Eastern bluebird, Sialia sialis
- Western bluebird, Sialia mexicana
- Mountain bluebird, Sialia currucoides
- Townsend’s solitaire, Myadestes townsendi
- Veery, Catharus fuscescens
- Gray-cheeked thrush, Catharus minimus
- Swainson’s thrush, Catharus ustulatus
- Hermit thrush, Catharus guttatus
- Wood thrush, Hylocichla mustelina
- Rufous-backed robin, Turdus rufopalliatus
- American robin, Turdus migratorius
- Varied thrush, Ixoreus naevius
Mockingbirds and thrashers
The mimids are a family of passerine birds which includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers and the New World catbirds. These birds are notable for their vocalization, especially their remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. The species tend towards dull grays and browns in their appearance. There are 8 New Mexico species.
- Gray catbird, Dumetella carolinensis
- Northern mockingbird, Mimus polyglottos
- Sage thrasher, Oreoscoptes montanus
- Brown thrasher, Toxostoma rufum
- Long-billed thrasher, Toxostoma longirostre
- Bendire’s thrasher, Toxostoma bendirei
- Curve-billed thrasher, Toxostoma curvirostre
- Crissal thrasher, Toxostoma crissale
Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are medium-sized passerines with strong feet. Their flight is strong and direct and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country, and they eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- European starling, Sturnus vulgaris (I)
Wagtails and pipits
Motacillidae is a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 3 New Mexico species.
The waxwings are a group of passerine birds with soft silky plumage and unique red tips to some of the wing feathers. In the Bohemian and cedar waxwings, these tips look like sealing wax and give the group its name. These are arboreal birds of northern forests. They live on insects in summer and berries in winter. There are 2 New Mexico species.
The silky-flycatchers are a small family of passerine birds which occur mainly in Central America, although the range of one species extends to central California. They are related to waxwings and like that group, have soft silky plumage, usually gray or pale-yellow. They have small crests.
- Phainopepla, Phainopepla nitens
Longspurs and snow buntings
- McCown’s longspur, Calcarius mccownii
- Lapland longspur, Calcarius lapponicus
- Chestnut-collared longspur, Calcarius ornatus
- Snow bunting, Plectrophenax nivalis
The olive warbler is the only representative of its family. It was formally classified with the Parulidae, but DNA studies warrant its classification in a distinct family.
- Olive warbler, Peucedramus taeniatus
The wood warblers are a group of small often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most are arboreal, but some like the ovenbird and the two waterthrushes, are more terrestrial. Most members of this family are insectivores. There are 47 New Mexico species.
- Blue-winged warbler, Vermivora cyanoptera
- Golden-winged warbler, Vermivora chrysoptera
- Tennessee warbler, Oreothlypis peregrina
- Orange-crowned warbler, Oreothlypis celata
- Nashville warbler, Oreothlypis ruficapilla
- Virginia’s warbler, Oreothlypis virginiae
- Lucy’s warbler, Oreothlypis luciae
- Northern parula, Setophaga americana
- Yellow warbler, Setophaga petechia
- Chestnut-sided warbler, Setophaga pensylvanica
- Magnolia warbler, Setophaga magnolia
- Cape May warbler, Setophaga tigrina
- Black-throated blue warbler, Setophaga caerulescens
- Yellow-rumped warbler, Setophaga coronata
- Black-throated gray warbler, Setophaga nigrescens
- Black-throated green warbler, Setophaga virens
- Townsend’s warbler, Setophaga townsendi
- Hermit warbler, Setophaga occidentalis
- Blackburnian warbler, Setophaga fusca
- Yellow-throated warbler, Setophaga dominica
- Grace’s warbler, Setophaga graciae
- Pine warbler, Setophaga pinus
- Prairie warbler, Setophaga discolor
- Palm warbler, Setophaga palmarum
- Bay-breasted warbler, Setophaga castanea
- Blackpoll warbler, Setophaga striata
- Cerulean warbler, Setophaga cerulea
- Hooded warbler, Setophaga citrina
- American redstart, Setophaga ruticilla
- Black-and-white warbler, Mniotilta varia
- Prothonotary warbler, Protonotaria citrea
- Worm-eating warbler, Helmitheros vermivorus
- Swainson’s warbler, Limnothlypis swainsonii
- Ovenbird, Seiurus aurocapilla
- Northern waterthrush, Parkesia noveboracensis
- Louisiana waterthrush, Parkesia motacilla
- Kentucky warbler, Geothlypis formosa
- Mourning warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia
- MacGillivray’s warbler, Oporornis tolmiei
- Common yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas
- Wilson’s warbler, Cardellina pusilla
- Canada warbler, Cardellina canadensis
- Red-faced warbler, Cardellina rubrifrons
- Painted redstart, Myioborus pictus
- Slate-throated redstart, Myioborus miniatus
- Golden-crowned warbler, Basileuterus culicivorus
- Yellow-breasted chat, Icteria virens
American sparrows, towhees and juncos
Emberizidae is a large family of passerine birds. They are seed-eating birds with distinctively shaped bills. In Europe, most species are called buntings. In North America, most of the species in this family are known as sparrows, but these birds are not closely related to the Old World sparrows which are in the family Passeridae. Many emberizid species have distinctive head patterns. There are 34 New Mexico species.
- Green-tailed towhee, Pipilo chlorurus
- Spotted towhee, Pipilo maculatus
- Eastern towhee, Pipilo erythrophthalmus
- Canyon towhee, Melozone fusca
- Abert’s towhee, Melozone aberti
- Cassin’s sparrow, Peucaea cassinii
- Botteri’s sparrow, Peucaea botterii
- Rufous-crowned sparrow, Aimophila ruficeps
- American tree sparrow, Spizella arborea
- Chipping sparrow, Spizella passerina
- Clay-colored sparrow, Spizella pallida
- Brewer’s sparrow, Spizella breweri
- Field sparrow, Spizella pusilla
- Black-chinned sparrow, Spiezella atrogularis
- Vesper sparrow, Pooecetes gramineus
- Lark sparrow, Chondestes grammacus
- Black-throated sparrow, Amphispiza bilineata
- Sagebrush sparrow, Artemisiospiza nevadensis
- Lark bunting, Calamospiza melanocorys
- Savannah sparrow, Passerculus sandwichensis
- Grasshopper sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum
- Baird’s sparrow, Ammodramus bairdii
- Henslow’s sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii
- Le Conte’s sparrow, Ammodramus leconteii
- Nelson’s sparrow, Ammodramus nelsoni
- Fox sparrow, Passerella iliaca
- Song sparrow, Melospiza melodia
- Lincoln’s sparrow, Melospiza lincolnii
- Swamp sparrow, Melospiza georgiana
- White-throated sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis
- Harris’s sparrow, Zonotrichia querula
- White-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia leucophrys
- Golden-crowned sparrow, Zonotrichia atricapilla
- Dark-eyed junco, Junco hyemalis
Cardinals, saltators and grosbeaks
The cardinals are a family of robust, seed-eating birds with strong bills. They are typically associated with open woodland. The sexes usually have distinct plumages. There are 15 New Mexico species.
- Hepatic tanager, Piranga flava
- Summer tanager, Piranga rubra
- Scarlet tanager, Piranga olivacea
- Western tanager, Piranga ludoviciana
- Northern cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis
- Pyrrhuloxia, Cardinalis sinuatus
- Yellow grosbeak, Pheucticus chrysopeplus
- Rose-breasted grosbeak, Pheucticus ludovicianus
- Black-headed grosbeak, Pheucticus melanocephalus
- Blue grosbeak, Passerina caerulea
- Lazuli bunting, Passerina amoena
- Indigo bunting, Passerina cyanea
- Varied bunting, Passerina versicolor
- Painted bunting, Passerina ciris
- Dickcissel, Spiza americana
The icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World and include the grackles, New World blackbirds and New World orioles. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. There are 17 New Mexico species.
- Bobolink, Dolichonyx oryzivorus
- Red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
- Eastern meadowlark, Sturnella magna
- Western meadowlark, Sturnella neglecta
- Yellow-headed blackbird, Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
- Rusty blackbird, Euphagus carolinus
- Brewer’s blackbird, Euphagus cyanocephalus
- Common grackle, Quiscalus quiscula
- Great-tailed grackle, Quiscalus mexicanus
- Bronzed cowbird, Molothrus aeneus
- Brown-headed cowbird, Molothrus ater
- Orchard oriole, Icterus spurius
- Hooded oriole, Icterus cucullatus
- Streak-backed oriole, Icterus pustulatus
- Bullock’s oriole, Icterus bullockii
- Baltimore oriole, Icterus galbula
- Scott’s oriole, Icterus parisorum
Fringilline finches, cardueline finches and allies
Finches are seed-eating passerine birds, that are small to moderately large and have a strong beak, usually conical and in some species very large. All have twelve tail feathers and nine primaries. These birds have a bouncing flight with alternating bouts of flapping and gliding on closed wings, and most sing well. There are 15 New Mexico species.
- Gray-crowned rosy-finch, Leucosticte tephrocotis
- Black rosy-finch, Leucosticte atrata
- Brown-capped rosy-finch, Leucosticte australis
- Pine grosbeak, Pinicola enucleator
- Purple finch, Haemorhous purpureus
- Cassin’s finch, Haemorhous cassinii
- House finch, Haemorhous mexicanus
- Red crossbill, Loxia curvirostra
- White-winged crossbill, Loxia leucoptera
- Common redpoll, Acanthis flammea
- Pine siskin, Spinus pinus
- Lesser goldfinch, Spinus psaltria
- Lawrence’s goldfinch, Spinus lawrencei
- American goldfinch, Spinus tristis
- Evening grosbeak, Coccothraustes vespertinus
Old World sparrows
Old World sparrows are small passerine birds. In general, sparrows tend to be small plump brownish or grayish birds with short tails and short powerful beaks. Sparrows are seed eaters, but they also consume small insects. There is 1 New Mexico species.
- House sparrow, Passer domesticus (I)
Who’da thunk it?
Vultures are unmistakable and easy to identify. Turkey vultures are not all that uncommon in the Midwest but not in the quantity you’ll see New Mexico. Not too far west from Interstate 25 about 200 miles north of Albuquerque – any time from March through mid-September you can see as many as 50 – 60 vultures roosting in the main area of Frijoles Canyon near the visitor center
I saw many of these magnificent creatures easily spotted by the white feathers on the underside of their wings, floating on the wind waiting for humans to do what we do best – be wasteful. Vultures are considered “nature’s janitors”
Turkey vulture in New Mexico
Feathered factoids about vultures: The short feathers on their head giving them that “crewcut” look is nature’s way of helping them stay sanitary while their heads are rooting around the carcass of their prey.
One of the biggest threats to vultures (including “New World” Vultures like California Condors) today is lead poisoning (working on a blog post about that). Hunters will maim a deer with buckshot but the deer escapes and wanders off to die. Vultures feeding on the carcass buffet unknowingly eat the lead shotgun pellets which results in their death.
I’ve always felt vultures were beautiful birds. This is a Turkey vulture.
Techno geek that I am, besides streaming XM in the helmet, Google maps was giving me directions the entire way through my earbuds courtesy of Ms. Android. I would stop for gas every 125 miles (only about 30 mpg when you’re traveling an average of 95 mph on the Rocket – speed limit was 75 from OK on down) because even though 6 ½ gallon tank sounds big for a motorcycle you never know where the next gas station is in Texas or New Mexico.
It was more than a little annoying hearing the words “in the next 800 feet make a U-turn and continue south on interstate whatever” every time I stopped for gas – she thought I took a wrong turn. I could see how she would get confused talking to all those people all over the country all at once. As punishment I would silence her occasionally but made sure I could hear her clearly once I started seeing signs for Las Cruces (New Mexico).
Dutifully I exited Interstate 25 at Route 152 per her suggestion and was to follow Route 152 for X amount of miles into Silver city. Suddenly I found myself on this beautiful 2 lane highway in the mountains. The fact that the sun had disappeared behind the clouds was minuscule compared to my motorcyclist’s dream come true of riding in the mountains – not on an interstate.
Rolling west, a couple of happy motorcyclists passed me eastward bound, exchanging mc waves. A car here and there and then signs for a town. Seeking no problems I downshifted to second gear and kept a solid 30 mile an hour speed which was captured by the County Sheriff’s radar gun at the bottom of the hill. I waved and kept going.
New Mexico is a beautiful state with as many plant species as birds. I didn’t see any tanager’s (they are found in the area) but I did see these flowers. I’ve always liked this picture. (can anyone help out on the flower species?)
The western tanager is found along the western coast of North America from southeastern Alaska south to northern Baja California, Mexico. Western tanagers extend east to western Texas and north through central New Mexico, central Colorado, extreme northwest Nebraska, and areas of western South Dakota to southern Northwest Territories, Canada.
The area I entered is named Gila National forest. I was clearly gaining altitude feeling like I was about to morph into a Walt Disney movie barely noticing the drizzle when I said to myself “Holy Crap”. I’m climbing a mountain on a 20 foot wide road with no guard rails, in the rain alone & the speed limits are between 10 and 15 miles an hour – there’s your sign(s). Normally I would’ve leaned the Rocket in & out of every turn, but today the roads were wet, I was in a hurry and riding solo. I’ve learned to maintain a relaxed grip at any speed on a motorbike but not being able to see around many of the turns was a bit nerve wracking.
To give you a sense of what the road looked like, I found this video.
It took me about 45 minutes to get to the other side of the forest
My mother and her friends had traveled the road a lot by car and were always amazed at the knuckleheads who didn’t do their homework and tried to muscle large RVs up & down the narrow twisting road. Ironically Catherine & I have friends that actually worked at the Gila national forest reception area for two or three summers. They always said they were close to my mom but it was interesting to see this remarkable place up close and personal.
After about 45 minutes of chanting to myself “motorcycles are line of sight vehicles, & with no else other than where you want to go – stay focused on the road – no sight seeing grasshopper” the road went from crinkled twists and turns to gentle curves. I was off and running – at the posted speed limit.
you can always take your bird with
With a reassuring voice Ms. Android guided me to mom’s front door. She was clearly happy to see me and a little surprised that I actually made the trip especially by the method I did. She said “put your bike up the sidewalk here”. I said “you’ve never met the Rocket”
All she could say was “I’ve never seen such a big motorcycle” I brought in my gear, placed the hefty triumph lock on one of the front rotors and began to chat with my mom. By the time I left we worked everything out. She was already preparing for a big house sale on Saturday. We confirmed arrangements to have a moving company haul all of her stuff to Chicago into a new assisted-living apartment on the lakefront. I love it when a plan comes together.
Not visiting mom’s place often, one can forget how Jewish mothers have a compelling need to feed you.
“Would you like a steak?’
“Do you want cinnamon sugar kugel or egg kugle?” (noodle pie)
“You know I’m diabetic I’ll take the egg kugel”
“You want a baked potato with that”
We had a great conversation before bed. She explained to me her desire to be near family at the age of 85. I think we both felt comforted by the thought and agreed that we would see each other at the very least once a month. I awoke to a bagel, cream cheese and lox from Sam’s Club (300 miles away) along with percolated coffee (anyone remember that?) – the best.
I offered to fly down, pick her up and fly back with her once the movers left. She was indignant – understandable for a woman who’s traveled to five of the seven continents on our Planit. “I can get myself back to Chicago just fine”. Silver city like any small town brings out friends and neighbors when “strangers” arrive. Mom’s friend Lisa wanted to meet me was kind enough to take this picture.
Mom was happy to look at and not ride the big blue motorbike
Interestingly her attached neighbor in the front of the building, Rob had an old Prevue parakeet cage cage I recognized it in the picture window when I arrived. The next morning I met Rob, retired but an aspiring artist. Noticing the three cute little parakeet faces in the front window I asked to come in.
He had all these very happy budgies
of all colors flapping around the apartment having a good ole’ time.
We’ll be sending a care package to Rob next week.
We said our goodbyes and they were happy goodbyes because we knew we would see each other again, soon. This was now the fifith time that I was packing the Rocket’s saddlebags and sissy bar bag. I finally figured out the Rubik’s cube of motorcycle storage. Everything fit perfectly when mom said “I made you lunch” handing me a shopping bag that weighed about 12 pounds.
I smiled and like a sailor re-rigging a ship heading into a storm I started snapping and unsnapping elastic cargo nets, leather belt clips and USB wires to enable my lunch (for me and any family of four that I might want to entertain at a roadside rest area) settle into in its own saddlebag so it would not get crushed.
I left on a different route bypassing the Gila national forest challenge although it was sunny, so I could access Interstate 25 northbound in a timely manner. I had two goals for the day. Make it to Amarillo dry and acquire a bottle of Jameson’s whiskey to enjoy in a motel room.
I’m normally a goal achiever but nature proved to be too much. By 7:00 pm not only was it now pounding rain but I lost daylight. About 90 miles south of Amarillo I saw a sign for the first hotel in close to 200 miles. I checked-in and asked if there was a place in town to buy whiskey?
Directions to a small liquor store not half a mile away on the main drag we’re a no-brainer and it was “only drizzling”. Sadly they stop selling alcohol in Texas at 9 o’clock. It was 9:05. Back to the “no tell motel” to get some work done. It’s not easy keeping the international renowned Windy City Parrot bird supply empire running smoothly, especially from a motorcycle seat
I have a high distrust of public networks especially because I’m exchanging information with a lot of you folks – my customers. FYI we never use public Wi-Fi (free or paid) and carry at least three sources of Internet (including my smart phone) wherever we are on the road.
A Chromebook and an iPad make a great redundant system for keeping in touch
as well as all the other chargers, wires, batteries and everything else that can fit into a very small computer bag.
I awoke to the sounds of an unfamiliar bird. Some of the Texas trees in the motel courtyard had leaves and others were just budding. In the top of the big tree with few leaves across from my room sat three big black birds. They weren’t crows or ravens. A quick phone call Catherine confirmed what I suspected – she had seen them in Nevada. Magpies! Magpies are part of the Corvid family. I briefly talk about Corvid’s here in Hookbills, hardbills, softbills & waxbills – just the feathered factoids
Moving northeast from Amarillo I had the foresight this time to stop during daylight acquire a bottle of Jameson’s for my fifth and final night’s stay on the road. Pulling into my second La Quinta Inn of the trip they once again were kind enough to allow me to park the Rocket under the front canopy.
The two most notable events of the final leg on Wednesday were getting lost coming out of St. Louis when Ms. Android took a smoke break (gotta be a stressful job) while going through downtown St. Louis and by the time I reached the southwestern area of Chicagoland I realized I underestimated my need for winter riding gloves. I also learned rain suits can help keep you warm when it’s 40 degrees (fahrenheit) and you’re traveling at 95 mph.
By the time I arrived home, Popcorn’s light was out and her cage was covered. We uncovered the cage and she was content to stay on her flat manzanita sleeping perch. In the morning when I opened the cage door she was more than happy to be back in her regular routine of flying after me around the apartment. Although she spent a lot of time on the top of my head being very clingy before I left for the shop.
When we got home from the shop Thursday, all Catherine could say was Popcorn never greeted “her” as loudly and as strongly as she had heard today. Popcorn was a very happy bird now that I was home.
3296 miles – six days – five states – 60 hours saddle time – 12 hours in the rain
be careful what you wish for
2009 Rocket 3 Classic – 2294 CC – 140 cubic inches – 2.3 litre engine – 140 hp – 157 ft/lbs torque (@1850 rpm) – 3 cylinder (6 spark plugs) water cooled
750 stock rear tire – 7-1/2 inches wide
there’s a reason this factory vid got 1.4 million views
written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing