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      Nature Report: Brush Country Birds

      The arid brush country of deep South Texas is home to a colorful array of birds from bright red cardinals to shimmering green jays. And when the scorching summer heat hovers around the century mark, a ranch country pond is an irresistible attraction to these feathered denizens of the chaparral like the jaunty crested pyrrhuloxia. The great kiskadee is on the prowl, and from its perch overlooking a small pond the big yellow flycatcher will swoop down to snare an unwary insect, frog or minnow. The colorful kiskadee is an adept hunter and frequently returns to a favorite perch with prey, which it vigorously shakes before swallowing. Nearby, a bright orange Altamira oriole pauses at the entrance to its hanging nest before hopping in to feed its young. In addition to colorful year round residents like the kiskadee and Altamira, the southernmost tip of the lone state is also home to a variety of beautiful birds that are nesting summer residents like the blue grosbeak. The varied bunting is another summer resident that just can't resist taking a refreshing dip in the cool waters. When it comes to color however, another summer resident the painted bunting takes top honors. This brilliantly hued bird with its indigo blue head, lime green back and flaming red chest has often been referred to as the most gaudily colored American bird. There are surprising splashes of color in the arid wildlands, and even the little verdin with its golden head and tiny russet wing patch is a marvel|you just have to hope the rascal slows down long enough to get a good look at him. With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore