Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
Photo: G. Lasley/Vireo
|Conservation status||Despite their ability to adapt to urban areas, surveys suggest that Verdin populations have declined during recent decades.|
|Habitat||Brushy desert valleys, mesquites. Most common in Sonoran desert and mesquite woods at lower elevations. Also lives in other kinds of low open brush, including desert stands of acacia and paloverde, thickets of saltcedar, low riverside woods. Common in suburbs of some southwestern towns.|
Forages actively in shrubs and low trees, mostly among smaller branches. Takes most of its food from leaf surfaces, sometimes hanging upside down to reach undersides of leaves. Often visits flowers for nectar, and will come to hummingbird feeders for sugar-water. Sometimes catches insects in the air, on the ground, or on the bark of branches.
4-5, sometimes 3-6. Pale green to blue-green, with reddish brown dots often concentrated around larger end. Incubation is by female, reportedly about 10 days. Young: Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 21 days after hatching, but continue to return to nest to sleep at night.
Both parents feed the nestlings. Young leave the nest about 21 days after hatching, but continue to return to nest to sleep at night.
Mostly insects. Feeds on many kinds of tiny insects, including aphids, caterpillars, scale insects, leafhoppers, beetle and wasp larvae, and many others. Small spiders are also important in diet. Eats berries, small fruits, and sometimes seeds; regularly takes nectar.
Male may build several nests, with female choosing one to use for raising the young. Nest: Placed well out on branches of thorny shrub or low tree, or in cholla cactus, usually 4-12' above the ground. Nest is a conspicuous hollow oval or sphere, surprisingly large for size of bird, made of thorny twigs. Entrance is low on one side; interior is well lined with feathers, grass, leaves, spiderwebs, for good insulation. Nests built late in spring tend to have entrance facing toward prevailing wind, may help cool the interior.
This year's contest is now open! Submit your best bird photos by February 20th for the chance to win great prizes.
Spend fifteen minutes counting birds, February 17 through 20, and report your results online. Your observations make all the difference.
Birds and the places they call home are under attack, but with your help, we can fight back.