Rufous-backed Robins at Cameron Trading Post

On my way to Blythe from the Grand Canyon, I detoured through Cameron Trading Post, near Tuba City, to see if the previously-reported Rufous-backed Robins were still around.

RBROs normally occur in limited numbers in southern and central Arizona during the winter. According to eBird, a bird made it as far north as southern Utah. A Northern Arizona record is notable, and two birds at once is especially interesting, so I made the 90-minute twitch. Of course, a¬†huge storm had blown through the region after the last sightings, so I figured the birds got blown away as well…

Cameron Trading Post is a small complex of buildings with a courtyard full of trees, practically the only trees in sight. I immediately walked toward those trees and the RBROs showed up along with a pack of American Robins. Interestingly, and perhaps because there were two birds, the RBROs called frequently. The birds must have just taken a bath in the rainwater runoff, as they were fluffing themselves up, preening, and taking shorts flights past a Russian olive tree, grabbing olives mid-flight.

Curiously, in the hour I watched them, the two RBROs seemed to be sticking together closely. When one would fly off, grab an olive, and land on a branch the other would soon follow. When one would fly high into a tree and begin preening, the other would fly in a minute later and join in. I wonder if this tells us anything about how these birds got to Cameron…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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