Escapito #1 Focus Study: Pyrrhuloxia Close Encounter!

When we left North Carolina, one of the birds we enjoyed immensely but sadly left behind was the Northern Cardinal. Such a brilliantly red, active year-round resident of the East. Fast forward to New Mexico and the State Park we visited after Percha Dam is called Rockhound. Known for its geology (thunder eggs) and breathtaking scenery (Florida Mountains), we were prepared to oooh and aaahhhhh at the view while finding a few rocky gems.

Little did we know the birds would captivate us, especially the Pyrrhuloxia, a cousin to the Northern Cardinal and full fledged member of the cardinal family.

No sooner did we set up camp and we were visited by a Pyrrhuloxia (pronounced peer-uuuuh-lox-zia). He must’ve been the group lookout, because he perched in the yucca next to our RV and began calling a warning. But not a warning to steer clear, rather an invitation to come and check us out! And a small group did fly in to investigate our stuff to within a foot of us.

The females and juveniles are both gray-brown, but the juvenile has a yellowish eye.

What a treat!

Cornell describes the Pyrrhuloxia as a ”dapper, tough-as-nails” songbird of the desert SW. A perfect description for such a cool bird.

By the way the scenery was breathtaking, and even though we didn’t find any thunder eggs, our close encounter with Pyrrhuloxias made our visit to Rockhound SP more than memorable.


  1. sgoodman56 says:

    I have a cardinal couple named Joe and Pam that have started to frequent my feeder and the jasmine vine outside my window. They ARE extraordinary!


    1. How excellent is that!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so happy to learn about this Cardinal cousin! I am visiting my folks in Ontario, Canada and enjoying all the flashes of red flitting about in the trees from the male Cardinals! Their birdsong has parts of it that sound like an electronic video game! I grew up around these birds and miss them as we don’t have them in the PNW! And, the tall tuft of feathers on their crest can be quite wild and comical looking! Thanks for sharing info. about this bird!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a treat to be visiting northern cardinals (and your folks too!). I’m sure there’s so much more to know about these guys. When we lived in NC, I wasn’t journaling much, so I have to study info under my belt. Do I intuit a new journal page from you about cardinals as they “chase butterflies?!”

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I have a page completed and am working on a blog post! It takes me awhile since work gets in the way… but I’ll get there! No butterflies out just yet, a little too early, but I really enjoyed seeing all of the dried milkweed seed pods standing, waiting to burst their leaves for the monarch caterpillars in the next few weeks!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Can’t wait to see your post!

        Liked by 1 person

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