Spanish name: bolsero de bullock
Named after William Bullock, and amateur English naturalist. They used to be thought to be the same species as the Baltimore Oriole. The oriole will puncture a cowbird's egg if it tries brood parasitism on its nest. (see Brown-headed Cowbird). A group of orioles is called a "pitch".
Photo: ADULT MALE © Shawn Billerman eBird S23393421Macaulay Library ML 35753861
Spanish name: tordo sargento
It is native to North America. When they migrate, they can travel at 30 mph. A pair of blackbirds can raise 2-3 broods per season. Each time they brood, they build a new nest. This keeps the nest from getting infected with parasites. A group of blackbirds is called a "cloud."
Photo:MALE (RED-WINGED)© Phil Kahler eBird S36814267 Macaulay Library ML 58123951
Spanish name: tordo tricolor
Very similar to the red-winged blackbird. This blackbird was classified as endangered in 2006. Their population has declined by 40% in the past decade.
Photo: MALE © Dan Murphy eBird S35958578
Macaulay Library ML 54496371
Spanish name: tordo de brewer
It is named after American ornithologist and naturalist Thomas Mayo Brewer. A colony can change its nest preference from year to year, sometimes in small bushes; other times in tall trees. A group of brewer's blackbirds is called a "keg."
Photo: ADULT MALE © Mark Ludwick eBird S33710500 Macaulay Library ML 45601601
Spanish name: bolsero enmascarado
This oriole is a very social species. They build their nests suspended from palm leaves. The female pokes holes in the leaf from below and pushes the fibers through, sewing the nest to the leaf. A group of orioles is called a "pitch" or a "split" of orioles.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Kevin Groeneweg
eBird S29243239 Macaulay Library ML 27735401
Spanish name: vaquero de cabeza cafe
These are brood parasites. They deposit their eggs in nests belonging to birds of other species, letting the other species raise their young. The cowbird's eggs hatch earlier than the host's eggs, giving them a competitive advantage over the other hatchlings. A group of cowbirds is called "herd" or a "corral."
Photo: ADULT MALE© Brian Sullivan
eBird S3685844 Macaulay Library ML 27266711
Spanish name: pradero occidental
The male is literally a two-timer. It has two mates at the same time. The females do all the incubation and brooding, and almost all of the feeding. A group of meadowlarks is called a "pod" of meadowlarks.
Spanish name: zanate mexicano
This species has expanded its range in the last century. It has moved northward from Mexico into most of western United States. They like to hang out in the Otay Lakes area.
Photo: ADULT MALE© Darren Clark eBird S28893795 Macaulay Library ML 52546901
Spanish name: sastrecillo
They are so cute. Both the male and the female incubate the eggs. Sometimes even at the same time! They travel in large flocks, but when it is time to breed, they break up into pairs. The nest is an impressive hanging basket with passageways and chambers. The nest can be an impressive foot long made up of spider webs, moss, and other plant material.
Spanish name: picogordo azul
This clever bird uses snakeskin as nesting material in order to intimidate potential predators. A group of grosbeaks is called a "gross" of grosbeaks.
Spanish name: picogordo tigrillo
It has a very melodious song. It is one of the few birds that can eat the poisonous monarch butterfly. You can see through the bottom of their nests; that is how thin they build them. It is believed that this construction helps provide ventilation. Sometimes they hybridize with the rose-breasted grosbeak. A group of grosbeaks is called a"gross" of grosbeaks.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Eric Ellingson eBird S31414238 Macaulay Library ML 37791821
Spanish name: colorin lazuli
Male Lazuli Buntings sing only one song, composed of a series of syllables, and unique to that individual. A group of buntings is called a "decoration", "mural" and "sacrifice" of buntings.
Photo: BREEDING MALE © Alix d'Entremont eBird S37225088 Macaulay Library ML 60361431
Spanish name: tangara de capucha roja
The red in its face is produced from the diet of insects which eat plants that are reddish! A group of tanagers is called a "season" of tanagers.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Nick Saunders eBird S37481129 Macaulay Library ML 60660141
Spanish name: chipe de pecho amarillo
We often hear them way before we see them., giving a series of hoots, whistles and calls. They also mimic the call of other birds. They are a type of warbler, but they don't look like one. In fact, they are the largest warbler. They seem to be shaped more like a mockingbird. A group of warblers is called a "bouquet", "confusion", or a "fall" of warblers.
Photo: ADULT © Kent Jensen eBird S37138154
Macaulay Library ML 59631831
Spanish name: cormoran orejudo
Their populations have increased dramatically causing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "manage" their populations. A group of cormorants is called a "flight", "gulp", "rookery", "sunning" and "swim" of cormorants. I think we should make up our minds and choose one of these.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Anonymous eBirder eBird S35880065 Macaulay Library ML 55250091
Spanish name: correcaminos norteno
They can fly, but prefer not to. They can run up to 15 mph. They erect their feathers to expose their backs to the sun's rays, causing them to warm up. Their diet is mainly insects, reptiles, rodents, tarantulas,and small birds. They have been known to attack and eat rattlesnakes. A group of roadrunners is called a "marathon" and a "race" of roadrunners.
Photo: ADULT © Lawrence Haller eBird S31676907 Macaulay Library ML 36124481
They are considered an invasive species. They probably escaped as caged birds. They have adapted well to this region. They eat seeds, but also like to scavenge in urban areas. They flick their tails constantly.
Photo: ADULT (CHECKERED) © Jens Eriksen eBird S38355459 Macaulay Library ML 64619911
Spanish name: cernicalo americano
The female is promiscuous, mating with several males before deciding to settle on a single male. The female does most of the incubation, but sometimes she lets the male take over duties. They like to hunt in the early morning or late evening, preying on large insects. Sometimes they will prey on small mammals, birds or frogs. A group of kestrels is called a "flight", "hover" and "soar" of kestrels.
Photo: ADULT MALE. Personal photo.
Spanish name: halcon peregrino
It is the fastest bird on record. It has been clocked at more than 175 mph. They used to be on the endangered species list, but thankfully, they were removed from that list in 1999. Their name means "coming from foreign parts" which is apt, because they have one of the longest migrations of any North American bird. A group of falcons is a "bazaar", "eyrie", "ringing" and "tower" of falcons.
Photo: ADULT © Jesse Gibson eBird S32042711
Macaulay Library ML 43036601
Spanish name: dominico americano
This goldfinch does a complete molt of its feathers in the spring. The brown-headed cowbird may attempt brood parasitism, but the cowbird hatching usually dies because the seed-based diet is not enough to support it. A group of goldfinches has lots of names. They include a "007", "charm", "rush", "treasury", and "vein" of goldfinches.
Photo: BREEDING MALE © Adam Jackson eBird S39314980 Macaulay Library ML 69515911
Spanish name: pinzon mexicano
Their coloring can range from a deep red to a golden yellow, depending on their diet. They were brought to our region from Long Island as caged birds. A small population was released in 1940, and they have adapted quite nicely here. A group of house finches is called a "development" of finches.
Spanish name: dominico de dorso oscuro
They are a monogamous species. They lay 3-6 blue eggs at a time. A group of goldfinches has many names. They include a "007", "charm", "rush", "treasury", and "vein" of goldfinches.
Photo: Adult male © Eric Gofreed eBird S36299958 Macaulay Library ML 55901211
Spanish name: dominico de lawrence
Their face markings make them look so cute. They love to eat seeds and insects, but their favorite seems to be the Fiddleneck plant. Something interesting about this species is that they migrate between east and west, rather than north and south between seasons. A group of goldfinches has lots of names. They include a "007", "charm", "rush", "treasury", and "vein" of goldfinches.
Photo: Bian Sullivan eBird S24132655 Macaulay Library ML 20044451
Spanish name: perlita azul gris
It flicks its tail side to side. This scares up hiding insects. They remove the wings of large insects before eating them. The will beat a large insect against a branch before eating it. They live up to 4 years old. These are noisy little birds making a raspy "spree" It is the only migratory in the winter, the migrate south to western Mexico and even as far as Honduras.
Photo: BREEDING MALE © Linda Chittum eBird S36018021 Macaulay Library ML 54711071
Spanish name: perlita californiana
This little guy is on the Federal list of endangered species. It has a very specific range, and this makes it vulnerable. Even though they are tiny, they mob big potential nest predators such as scrub jays, roadrunners, and cactus wrens. They eat mostly insects, but have also been observed eating berries. Their call is similar to the blue-gray gnatcatcher but is longer and more cat-like.
Photo: © Chezy Yusuf eBird S36860963 Macaulay Library ML58118531
Spanish name: achichilique de pico naranja
Very similar to the western grebe, but face is white above the eye. Just like the western grebe, they used to be killed by the tens of thousands for their feathers. They mate for life, but before they do, the have one of the most enchanting mating dance rituals in the world. Click picture for video link. A group of grebes is called a "water dance" of grebes.
Photo: ADULT © Darren Clark eBird S55070221
Macaulay Library ML 152758471
Spanish name: zambullidor orejudo
They can sometimes be seen by the thousands in San Diego. This grebe is flightless for 9-10 months, the longest period of any bird capable of flying. When it does migrate, it is a nonstop flight. They are excellent divers. feeding on aquatic animals. They are sometimes called "hell-divers" or "water-witches". A group of grebes is called a "water dance" of grebes.
Photo: ADULT © Darlene Friedman eBird S46425672 Macaulay Library ML 103828101
Spanish name: zambullidor de pico grueso
They swim like a duck, but do not have webbed feet. They are rarely seen in flight. They migrate at night. They prefer to escape predators by diving. Pied-billed means two-colored bill. They can dive to depths of 20 feet. They eat fish, nymphs, frogs, tadpoles and even their own feathers to help with Baby chicks ride on the backs of their parents until they learn how to swim.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Luke Seitz eBird S13518218 Macaulay Library ML 60982311
Spanish name: achichilique de pico amarillo
It is the largest grebe in North America. It has a yellow bill and red eyes. The black markings go below the eyes. They build floating nests. They are aggressive hunters spearing fish as they dive. Just like the clark's grebe, they have an elaborate mating dance. (see link on clark's grebe).
Spanish name: codorniz californiana
The state bird of California! They tend to participate in communal birding with multiple parents taking care of each other's broods. The topknot looks like a single feather, but it is a cluster of six overlapping feathers. They live in large colonies called coveys, but then they break up into pairs in the spring. A group of quails is called a "battery" "flush" or "shake" of quails.
Spanish name: gaviota de bonaparte
It is named after Napoleon's nephew, Charles Lucien Bonaparte, who was an ornithologist in the 1800's in America and Europe. It is the smallest gull in North America. Also, the only gull that nests in trees. A group of gulls is called a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging" and "squabble" of gulls.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Brendan Klick eBird S47360553 Macaulay Library ML 108341161
Spanish name: gaviota californiana
It is the state bird of Utah because it saved Mormon settlers in 1848 when their crops were being devastated by crickets. They are opportunistic feeders. They can be seen feeding in the Otay landfill. A group of gulls is called a "flotilla", "gullery", "screech", "scavenging" and "squabble" of gulls.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Brian Sullivan eBird S4044983Macaulay Library ML 27268321
Spanish name: charran caspia
They aggressively defend their breeding colony. They have been known to cause bloody wounds on the heads of people who get too close to their colony. However, if a bald eagle flies overhead, they will abandon their nests giving gulls an opportunity to feed on their young. A group of terns is called a "ternery" of terns.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Steve Kelling eBird S47478514 Macaulay Library ML 108830791
Spanish name: charran de forster
This tern is named after naturalist Johann Reinhold Forster. They are monogamous. Males participate in courtship feeding, where they bring food to the female and perform dances to try to impress her. Both male and female participate in the incubation and then feeding of the chicks. A group of terns is called a "ternery" or "U" of terns.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Steve TuckereBird S36591017 Macaulay Library ML 63314151
Spanish name: gaviota de pico anillado
It used to be hunted for it's plumage. Some call it the fast-food gull because it likes to scavenge around fast-food restaurants. Gulls as young as 2 days have demonstrated magnetic bearings that leads them in the appropriate direction for migration. A group of gulls is called a "flotilla", "gullery", " screech", and "squabble" of gulls.
Spanish name: gaviota occidental
This species was one of the antagonists in Alfred Hitchcock's famous movie, The Birds. The break open shells of sea urchins and clams by dropping them from the air and letting them break open on the rocks below. They also are known to harass cormorants and pelicans until they are forced to regurgitate their food, giving the gulls an opportunity to eat it up.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Joel Rurik eBird S28905481 Macaulay Library ML 26980281
Spanish name: pedrete de corona negra
Adults will brood chicks that are not their own. It is a very patient hunter waiting a long time for a frog or small animal to pass by. Sometimes they will vibrate their bills in the water to lure prey who want to investigate the disturbance. A group of herons is called a "battery", "hedge", "pose" and "rookery" of herons.
Photo: ADULT (AMERICAN) © Jeff Timmons eBird S38283561 Macaulay Library ML 64096231
Spanish name: garzon cenizo
This is the largest heron of North America. They mainly eat fish, but will also eat other small animals. They have been known to choke a small animal to death. A group of herons is called a "battery" of herons.
Spanish name: garza blanca
They were almost killed off in the 19th century for their feathers, which were used to decorate hats. They are the symbol of the National Audubon Society. The are slow flyers and retract their necks when in the air. A group of egrets is called a "congregation" of egrets.
Photo: ADULT © Alex Lamoreaux eBird S31130123 Macaulay Library ML 32782691
Spanish name: garceta verde
They are one of the few birds that use tools for hunting. They will drop bait into the water and grab a small fish that comes for the bait. They are known to wander long distances after breeding season. Some have even shown up in England and France! A group of herons is called a "battery" of herons.
Spanish name: avetoro minimo
It can straddle reed in deep water allowing it to access food that other herons cannot get to. If it gets threatened or scared, it will freeze, point its bill straight up, sway and blend in with the surrounding marsh. A group of bitterns is called a "pretense" of bitterns.
Photo: ADULT MALE© Rey Clermont eBird S22814517 Macaulay Library ML 34919391
Spanish name: garza de dedos dorados
They were hunted to near extinction in the late 1800's for their feathers which were used to decorate hats. Their plumes were once valued at $32 an ounce, which was twice the value of gold. A pair does not recognize each other; they have to go through an elaborate greeting ceremony to be recognized. If they don't pass the greeting test, they will be attacked. A group of egrets is called a "congregation" of egrets.
Spanish name: zumbador de allen
Their courtship flight is remarkable. They go back and forth in an arc of about 25 feet. Then the male does a 100 foot dive towards the female. They are very territorial. They will attack birds much bigger than they are if their territory is threatened. They have to since they must have regular and frequent access to their food source due to their metabolism.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Robert Hamilton eBird S33339347 Macaulay Library ML 44144231
Spanish name: colibri de cabeza roja
It was named after the Italian duchess Anna de Belle Massena. It has the biggest appetite of any other hummingbird. It's heart beats 1260 times per minute. It eats 50% of its nectar in one day! Its nest is about the size of a walnut. The egg is about the size of a jellybean. A group of hummingbirds is called a "bouquet" of hummingbirds.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Kyle Blaney eBird S13347123 Macaulay Library ML 45345081
Spanish name: colibri garganta morada
They do have a black chin, but their most distinguishing characteristic is their purple necklace. They will eat 3 times their body weight in nectar in one day if the weather is cold. They design their nests to expand as the nestlings grow. They can live up to 10 years.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Bill Maynard eBird S38192438 Macaulay Library ML63607981
Spanish name: colibri de cabeza violeta
They have a brilliant metallic purple crown and throat patch. Named after French nobleman Louis Marie Pantaleon Costa, Marquis de Beauregard.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Gordon Karre eBird S34202254 Macaulay Library ML 47682281
Spanish name: zumbador rufo
This species has the longest migration route of any other hummingbird going all the way up to south-central Alaska. It has an excellent memory for location. It will go back to the exact same feeder year after year. It has be known to survive temperatures well below freezing. A group of hummingbirds is called a "bouquet" of hummingbirds.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Spencer Follett eBird S38471816 Macaulay Library ML 65145691
Spanish name: cuervo americano
Highly intelligent birds. They can count and solve complex problems. If they encounter a mean human, they will teach each other to identify that person and remember him/her. If a crow dies, its family members will surround it, maybe to mourn it but also to understand why it died. They are faithful, romantic birds and will mate for life. A group of crows is called a "murder" or "congress" of crows.
Photo: ADULT©Henry Burton eBird S35289561 Macaulay Library ML 51777001
Spanish name: urraca de garganta negra
Their range is in northwest Mexico. A tribe of magpies somehow made it to southern San Diego. They continue to expand their range. They eat standing on one foot while holding their food with the other foot up to their mouths! group of magpies is called a "tribe" or "charm" of magpies. They are more common along the Tijuana River Estuary, but are sometimes seen near Egger Highlands.
Photo: ADULT © Allen Bond eBird S44062676
Macaulay Library ML 92042791
Spanish name: chara californiana
Considered intelligent, they will hide seeds in multiple locations and remember where they hid them. People love to see them because they are animated and vocal. They make basket-shaped nests. Pairs stay together throughout the year and sometimes even several years. A group of jays is called a "party" of jays.
Photo: ADULT © Nancy Christensen eBird S37488717 Macaulay Library ML 60701841
Spanish name: cuervo comun
They are tricktsers, who have been known to pull on the tails of cats and dogs. Many cultures view them as a symbol of wisdom and fertility. In the Christian tradition, they are seen as a bad sign, warfare and death. They are acrobatic and have been seen flying upside down. They are considered highly intelligent, right up there with chimpanzees and dolphins. They are also empathetic and faithful.
Photo: ADULT © Brian Sullivan eBird S2645796 Macaulay Library ML 27299051
Spanish name: martin pescador norteno
They sometimes share their tunnels with swallows. If they are being chased by a hawk, they will dive into the water to avoid being eaten. They will grab a fish out of water and pound the fish against a rock or branch until it is dead. A group of kingfishers is call a "crown" of kingfishers.
Photo: FEMALE © Ilya Povalyaev eBird S32403903 Macaulay Library ML 39304341
Spanish name: alondra cornuda
It is the only member of the lark family that is native to the new world. They return to their birthplace after every migration. They forage in open spaces. To impress a potential girlfriend, the male will fly 800 feet in the air, circle around while singing, fly straight down at a high velocity, suddenly open its wings at the last second and land softly. If this strategy works, they will be mates for life. A group is called a "happiness" of larks.
Spanish name: cuitlacoche californiano
It is one of the species that does "anting" allowing ants to crawl over their body. Scientists are not sure why this happens. One theory is that ants control parasites and mites. Another theory is that ants secrete a fluid that soothes skin or feather irritability. Thrashers mimic songs from several birds like the Northern Flicker, Bullock's Oriole, American Robin, and Red-tailed Hawk.
Photo: © Joan Tisdale eBird S38450173 Macaulay Library ML 65018461
Spanish name: cenzontle norteno
It is the state bird of 5 states. They will aggressively defend their territory and will attack pets and people that get too close. They flash their white wing patches maybe to intimidate. A group of mockingbirds is called an"echo" or "ridicule" of mockingbirds.
Spanish name: rascador californiano
They forage on the ground scratching the dirt with both feet in a fast, hopping motion foraging for seeds and insects. They are very territorial. A group of towhees is called a "tangle" of towhees.
Photo: ADULT © Matt Davis eBird S35475986
Macaulay Library ML 52550811
Spanish name: gorrion de ceja blanca
When it is breeding season, the female will develop a bare patch on her abdomen what fills with fluid. This allows her to efficiently transfer heat to her eggs. The head pattern of this sparrow changes in the fall and winter. A group of sparrows is called a "tournament" of sparrows.
Photo: ADULT © Evan Lipton eBird S23230113 Macaulay Library ML 27961971
Spanish name: junco de ojo oscuro
They are definitely not endangered. There are an estimated 630,000,000 individuals! Banders and birders use the code DEJU when talking about them (Dark-Eyed JUncos). A group of juncos are called a "ubiquity" of juncos.
Spanish name: gorrion arlequin
Most sparrows hop on the ground, but this one walks. It only hops during courtship. A courting male crouches on the ground, holds his tail at a 45 degree angle, spreads it tail feathers showing off the white tips, and struts with drooping wings almost touching the ground. A group of sparrows can be called a "crew" or "quarrel" of sparrows.
Photo: ADULT © Joshua Vandermeulen
eBird S36021275 Macaulay Library ML 55225641
Spanish name: gorrion cantor
It lives up to its name! It often hits a variety of notes in its song. Other birds have tried to imitate the song but cannot. A group of song sparrows is called a "chorus" of sparrows.
Photo: ADULT © Ryan Schain eBird S37071067
Macaulay Library ML 58977041
Spanish name: rascador manchado
They spend a lot of time foraging on the ground scratching through leaf litter looking for seeds and insects. During breeding season, they may spend up to 90% of their time singing to attract a female. However, once they find a mate, that percentage goes down to about 5%. My wife says that sounds familiar. ... Hmmm. A group of towhees can be called a "teapot" of towhees.
Spanish name: gorrion de corona blanca
These sparrows have dialects depending on the region, kind of like us! Males living between two regions may learn to be bilingual and able to sing both dialects, kind of like us! A group of sparrows can be called a "crew", "flutter", "quarrel" and "ubiquity" of sparrows.
It is the smallest of the poor-wills. It is nocturnal and can be heard way before it is seen. If you direct your flashlight at it, its eyes will glow. Instead of migrating like most birds, this one will hibernate. the Native American Hopi called it the "sleeping one." A group of poor-wills is called an "addiction" of poor-wills.
Photo: ADULT © Cyganowski eBird S25307648
Macaulay Library ML 24258491
Spanish name: chotacabras menor
They are active at twilight and dawn. They don't build nests. Instead, they lay their eggs on the ground. They fly through the air with their mouths open eating anything that lands in their mouth. A group of nighthawks is called a "kettle" of nighthawks.
Photo: MALE © Brian Sullivan eBird S19850744
Macaulay Library ML 27322291
Spanish name: lechuza de campanario
They eat their food whole. Then they regurgitate the bones and fur which is called owl pellets. They have ultra-sensitive hearing. Their super soft feathers help them fly silently at night. One ear is lower than the other. They usually catch about 4 small mammals per night. They usually mate for life. A group of owls can be called a "bazaar", "parliament" and "wisdom" of owls.
Photo: ADULT © Carlos Echeverria eBird S37073544 Macaulay Library ML58991071
Spanish name: tecolote llanero
They live on the ground and nest in burrows. These owls are active during the day. They will prey on small mammals, but they will also eat seeds and fruits. They particularly like the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. A group of owls can be called a "bazaar", "glaring" or "wisdom" of owls.
Spanish name: buho cornudo grande
They get their name from the tufts on their head. Their ears are a bit further down. They will eat birds from small ones up to really big ones like the Great Blue Herons. They will even eat other owls. The soft edges on their feathers allow them to fly silently and surprise their unlucky prey.
Spanish name: pelicano blanco
It is such a graceful flyer. They incubate their eggs using their webbed feet. They can hold 3 gallons of water in it's bill. Their upper bill develops a fibrous keel during breeding season. Their wingspan can be up to 9 feet. They used to be hunted for sport. A group of pelicans is called a "pod"
Photo: ADULT © Alix d'Entremont eBird S17715834 Macaulay Library ML 38691781
Spanish name: tortola comun
They are the world's smallest pigeons. They eat mostly seeds, but will also eat fruits and berries. A group of doves has many names. One of them is a "bevy" of doves.
Photo: © Volker Hesse eBird S17955698
Macaulay Library ML 39670911
Spanish name: paloma turca
They were introduced into the Bajamas in the 1970s, then some migrated to Florida in the 1980's. They quickly started spreading all over the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Photo: ADULT/IMMATURE © Ryan Schain eBird S26260883 Macaulay Library ML 21934901
Spanish name: paloma huilota
They are a game bird in a lot of areas. They stockpile food in their "crop" which is in their esophagus. When they sleep, they rest their head between their shoulders. They are surprisingly fast fliers, racing up to 55 miles per hour! The mate for life. The average lifespan is about 1 1/2 years.
Photo: ADULT © Ryan Schain eBird S17804738 Macaulay Library ML 37845121
Spanish name: paloma domestica.
Some call them "winged rats". They have been bred for food and for homing abilities. They were introduced to America in the 1600s. They have a remarkable ability to find their way home from long distances. A group of pigeons is called a "band" of pigeons.
Spanish name: gallareta americana
They are kleptoparasitic which means that when they don't feel like hunting for their own food, they will steal food from other birds. They swim like a duck, but they don't have webbed feet. Instead they have really large feet with lobes. A group of coots can be called a 'codgery", "commotion", "fleet", "shoal" and "swarm".
Photo: ADULT © Christoph Moning eBird S11842304 Macaulay Library ML 68049341
Spanish name: gallineta de frente roja
It is also called the common moorhen. Their diet consists of earthworms, mollusks, crustaceans, and insect larvae. a group of gallinules is called a "plump".
Photo: ADULT © Louis Hoeniger eBird S34822612 Macaulay Library ML 49544401
Spanish name: polluela sora
They are shy and seretive birds. They eat snails, seeds and insects. A group of soras is called an "ache" of soras.
Photo: ADULT © Ryan Y eBird S44801276
Macaulay Library ML 95780801
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Spanish name: alcaudon verdugo
Some call it the "butcher bird" because it impales its prey onto barbed wire or chain-link fences to eat later. The numbers have been on the decline. Another name it is given is the French Mockingbird. It is a small songbird, but it behaves like a raptor! A group of shrikes is called a "watch" of shrikes.
Photo: ADULT © Michael Smith eBird S28603938 Macaulay Library ML 65094161
Spanish name: capulinero negro
So elegant with its silky feathers and its proud crest! This cute fellow breeds twice a year in two different habitats. One individual will eat at least 1,100 mistletoe berries in one day. The ones in the Otay area love elderberries and insects. It is a good mimic. It has been known to imitate at least 13 different species. It is one of the few birds whose common name is the same as its scientific name. A group of silky flycatchers is called a "stand"
Spanish name: estornino europeo
There are 200 million in North America, and they are all descendants of 100 birds released in New York City's Central Park in the 1890's by someone who was a Shakespeare fan and wanted to see all birds mentioned in his plays. They are aggressive and will evict other birds from their nesting sites. When they fly in large groups, they create breathtaking scenes called a murmuration.
Photo: BREEDING ADULT © Dan Vickers eBird S36267938 Macaulay Library ML 55765161
Spanish name: golondrina tijereta
They used to be killed for their feathers. They make their nests out of mud. The mating pair will make about 1,000 trips to bring mud for their nest. They have a distinct deep forked tail. These little ones, which weigh about 8 pennies migrate about 5,500 miles! They live to be about 4 years old. A group of swallows is called a "kettle".
Photo: ADULT © Ian Hearn eBird S37318536 Macaulay Library ML 59982911
Spanish name: golondrina risquera
When the young leave their nests, they congregate in large groups called creches. The parents of the young can come and recognize their own young by voice alone. They build nests under highway bridges and awnings of tile roofs. They migrate all the way to South America and back!
Photo: ADULT © George Pagos eBird S37122954 Macaulay Library ML 60461951
Spanish name: golondrina de ala aserrada
The name of this swallow comes from the small hooks or serrated edges on the ends of their primary wings. If you run your finger along the edge of the feathers, it will feel like a rough file.
Photo: ADULT © Luke Seitz eBird S13518218
Macaulay Library ML 60982301
Spanish name: golondrina bicolor
These handsome fellows like to nest in tree cavities, but if you build a nest for them in your backyard, they may take you up on it. When they migrate or winter, their numbers can be seen in the hundreds of thousands! They can look like a dense cloud. A group of swallows can be called a "stand".
Photo: ADULT MALE © Greg Gillson eBird S31681830 Macaulay Library ML 35598211
Spanish name: vencejo de pecho blanco
They are acrobatic catching insects in midair. A pair reminds me of the show "House Hunters" in that they will look around together for a nesting site until they find one that is suitable for them. A group of swifts can be called a "box", and "swoop" of swifts.
Photo: © Liron Gertsman eBird S29858235 Macaulay Library ML 71593281
Spanish name: mirlo primavera
They are so lovable with an orange breast and cheerful song. What is not to love! They love earthworms, but they will also eat fruit. Some have even been seen catching small fish! They have been known to get intoxicated from honeysuckle. Males will grow black feathers on their head to attract a female. Then they lose these feathers when mating season is over. A group of robins is called a "worm".
Photo: MALE©Ashley Bradford eBird S35205324 Macaulay Library ML 51304651
Spanish name: azulejo palido
The female chooses the male to mate with solely on the nesting site, not on his looks or call or any other attribute. In the Otay valley I have spotted them hovering in the air looking for insects near the 125 bridge. That is where this picture was taken. A group of thrushes can be called a "mutation".
Spanish name: zorzal de swainson
It was named after William Swainson, an English ornithologist. It is also called the Olive-backed Thrush. Some say its song has a ventriliqual quality, making it difficult to locate. They also make their songs quiet to create the illusion that they are farther away than they really are. Such teasers!
Photo: ADULT © terence zahner eBird S37747673 Macaulay Library ML 61703291
Spanish name: azulejo de garganta azul
You are not the father! According to studies, up to 45% of nestlings are protected by a male that is not his. Hmmm! Male fights can get nasty. They grab each other's legs, pin them to the ground, and poke at them. European Starlings and House Sparrows often kick them out of their nests. For some reason, swallows sometimes defend them!
Photo: MALE © Jerry Ting eBird S33609930 Macaulay Library ML 58951141
Spanish name: copeton cenizo
They don't drink water. Instead, they get their water needs from the insects and spiders they eat. If you are looking for one, listen for their distinctive, high-pitched KA-brick! call. A group can be called an "outfield" of flycatchers.
Photo: © Alex Burdo eBird S29191958 Macaulay Library ML 63568851
Spanish name: papamoscas negro
These cuties are not shy around humans. They will perch in low areas looking for their next meal. When it is mating season, the male will show a potential mate several nesting sites. When the female decides on one, he will let her do all the construction! He just gets to do the fun part! Although they prefer insects, sometimes they will catch minnows out of a pond.
Photo: ADULT © Ian Davies eBird S6071029 Macaulay Library ML 31688981
Spanish name: tirano griton
In Spanish, the name means "tyrant shouter". It sounds like it is scolding you by saying "Come here!" It likes to perch in high areas. Named after ornithologist John Cassin, although he did not discover it. Pairing mates do a strange dance where they flap their wings and hover together over a nesting spot that they like.
Photo: ADULT © Roger Clark eBird S37055962
Macaulay Library ML 58916001
Spanish name: mosquero californiano
It's distinctive call is the best way to identify it with its "pe-WEET". The female is the nest builder binding bits of bark together with spider web material. It looks quite elaborate and well-made.
Photo: ADULT © Grace Oliver eBird S36397008
Macaulay Library ML 58120761
Spanish name: papamoscas llanero
Just like the black phoebe, this one is not shy around people. They have been in North America a long time. Their fossils have been found here dating back 400,000 years.
Their migration routes take them a long way, from southern Mexico to northern Alaska. When they come back to nesting, they like to come back to the same site. Named after Thomas Say, who is better known as being the father of American Entomology.
Spanish name: tirano-tijereta rosado
These beauties do a "sky dance" when in courtship. They do several acrobatic tricks in the air like the reverse somersault. It is the state bird of Oklahoma. Their dramatically long tail is useful when they are catching insects in the air. There are a couple that like to hang out near the Poggi Creek area.
Photo: ADULT © Ryan Shaw eBird S33271051
Macaulay Library ML 53545761
Spanish name: tirano de bordes blancos
They will aggressively defend their territory. They have hidden red frowns, but will show them off if they are provoked. The male does a provocative courtship flight by twisting and turning in the air, then stalling, and tumbling, flipping, and falling toward the ground. A group of kingbirds is called a "tyranny".
Photo: © Gerrit Vyn eBird S29734840 Macaulay Library ML 28952841
Spanish name: pibi occidental
If you ever watch the show "House Hunters," Wood Pewees act just like those couples. There is a lot of communication and negotiation on settling for a nesting site between pairs of pewees. They follow each other around and squat on branches and call out to each other. They usually choose a fork on a branch. A group of pewees is called a "squirt".
Photo: ADULT © Brian Hoffe eBird S37689886 Macaulay Library ML 61665381
Spanish name: mosquero saucero
When the brown-headed cowbird tries to lay its eggs on the Willow Flycatcher's, the flycatcher will bury those eggs deep in the nest or add more nesting material on top of the eggs. They will do all that they can to prevent the cowbird's eggs from hatching. Their call sounds like they are sneezing.
Photo: ADULT © Michiel Oversteegen eBird S32080803 Macaulay Library ML 37699131
Spanish name: viero de bell menor
This is an endangered species. They tend to build their nests in low shrubby areas, which makes them vulnerable to predators. In addition, brown-headed cowbirds lay their eggs in the vireos nests, lowering the survival rate of the baby vireos. Cats are also factor in their low numbers. A group of vireos is called a "peal".
Photo source: TheNatureCollective.org
Spanish name: vireo reyezuelo
This type of vireo does not migrate. They look a lot like ruby-crowned kinglets. Mating pairs remain together year around. They work together in making their nest and raising their young. The pairs are good communicators calling back and forth to each other.
Photo: ADULT © Tim Lenz eBird S6760411 Macaulay Library ML 38759941
Spanish name: vireo gorjeador
This one is easier to identify by the sound that by sight. Ornithologist William Dawson described its song as "fresh as apples and sweet as apple blossoms". Birder Peter Dunn described it "like a happy drunk making a conversational point at a party."
Photo: ADULT © Ryan O'Donnell eBird SS36310602 Macaulay Library ML 56162971
Spanish name: aguila cabeza blanca
Emblem of the United States. It prefers to take food from other raptors rather than hunt on its own. Ben Franklin said he wished is was not our national bird because of its "bad moral character." He also called it a "coward" because it gets harassed by much smaller birds. They can be playful passing objects to each other in mid air for no other reason than to play. Anyways, it's a majestic bird.
Photo:©Steven Mlodinow eBird S33584536 Macaulay Library ML45280681
Spanish name: gavilan de cooper
They skillfully fly through trees and vegetation hunting for birds. It does not always go well, as their bodies are sometimes found with bone fractures. Mating is tricky for the male as the females are bigger and can attack them for a good dinner. They are submissive and must wait for a reassuring call from the female so he can approach her. The males build the nest and provide the female and the young their food until they leave the nest. Personal photo.
Spanish name: aguila real
The largest raptor in North America, it soars with steady wings. It is the national bird of Albania, Austria, Germany, Kazakhstan, and Mexico. They will fight off coyotes and bears who threaten their young. In the United States, it is a felony to possess a feather or any body part. Golden eagle pairs build huge nests made of branches, bones and antlers. Mates cooperatively hunt and "sky dance".
Photo: ADULT © Jeff Bleam eBird S35741884
Macaulay Library ML 53666801
Spanish name: gavilan rastrero
It glides low over grassland and brush with their wings in a V shape. The white patch at the base of its tail is also a distinguishing feature. Their disk-like face makes them almost look like owls. They rely on hearing and vision to look for food. Males often have up to 5 female mates at one time. They sometimes subdue larger prey by drowning them. Its Fossils were found in Mexico dating 40,000 years.
Photo:MALE©Tim Avery eBird S36221173 Macaulay Library ML56176411
Spanish name: gavilan pescador
These skillful raptors are amazing. Over a lifetime, an osprey can log over 160,000 migration miles. They have a reversible outer toe and barbed pads that allow them to grab moving fish out of the water. Their hunting percentage is excellent at about a 25% success rate. When courting a female, the male does a "skydance" sometimes while holding a fish or nesting material. They often mate for life.
Photo:ADULT©Kris Perlberg eBird S34356520 Macaulay Library ML 48440631
Spanish name: aguililla de pecho rojo
Sometimes it quarrels with the American Crow, but sometimes they team up to chase the Great Horned owl out of their territory. They return to the same nesting territory year after year. When courting, the male performs a "skydance" soaring and swooping down quickly to impress the female. It is not known which sex chooses the nesting site, but both work together to build it.
Photo: ADULT © Chris S. Wood eBird S39390589 Macaulay Library ML 69950211
Spanish name: aguililla cola roja
It is the most common hawk in North America. My wife calls them "Highway Patrol" because they always seem to be atop of roadside telephone poles. Their courtship "skydance" is spectacular. Sometimes their talons clasp each other as they spiral down towards earth letting go at the last minute. Pairs stay together until one of them dies. A group of hawks can be called a"boil", "knot", "spiraling", and "tower" of hawks.
Spanish name: gavilan de pecho rufo
They look very similar to a Cooper's Hawk, but they are a lot smaller. They are about the size of an American Kestrel. The females, however, are about a third bigger. The tails are long and their wings are short and round, giving them good agility when flying around trees looking for birds. The males will tear off the head of its prey before offering it to his mate and their fledglings.
Spanish name: zopilote aura
It is amazing to see these vultures using the thermals to soar the skies as they try to sniff out carrion. They play an important role in our world by disposing of dead animals and preventing the spread of disease. Some might think they are unattractive, but they are faithful mates for life.
Photo: ADULT © Matt Davis eBird S33353088
Macaulay Library ML 44093901
Spanish name: milano de cola blanca
They can be seen hovering along the hills and meadows in the Otay valley. Some may think that they were named after the toy made of wood and paper, but it was actually the other way around. They hunt facing the wind hovering and then they make a dramatic dive with their talons out in hopes of getting a lizard, mouse or insect. During courtship, the male suitor brings food to its potential mate.
Photo:ADULT©Matt Davis eBird S33706401 Macaulay Library ML45571421
Spanish name: pato chalcuan
It used to be called "baldpate" because of the white stripe on its crown. This dabbling duck has a shorter bill making it more efficient for them to pluck off vegetation. During mating season, unsuccessful females and successful males will head north to large lakes to grow new feathers and then fly south for the winter.
Photo: MALE © Karl Krueger eBird S32889777
Macaulay Library ML 41993701
Spanish name: cerceta de ala azul
They are like us at a birthday party, they are the last to migrate north in the spring and the first to migrate south in the fall. They migrate super long distances, some from Canada to South America. They have the highest mortality rate of any dabbling duck. Possible reasons may be that they are hunted more or that they have an exhausting migration.
Photo: MALE © Dave Spier eBird S10399012 Macaulay Library ML 33376231
Spanish name: ganzo canadiense
Their white chinstrap makes them look so cute! They practice "assortative mating" which means that both sexes tend to choose mates that are similar in size. I think that's what my wife and I did, but we did not know that's what it was called. While their eggs are incubating, the females cannot fly because of loss of flight feathers.
Photo: ADULT © Max McCarthy eBird S34770350Macaulay Library ML 49344561
Spanish name: cerceta canela
The female does something clever to protect her nest. She places it below dead stems so that it is hidden from view on all sides. Then she approaches the nest through tunnels in the vegetation. A group of cinnamon teals is called a "seasoning" of teals. Birders can have a sense of humor!
Photo: MALE © Andy Bankert eBird S56154108 Macaulay Library ML 157938171
Spanish name: pato friso
These fellows look so elegant and proper; not a feather out of place! It looks like they are ready for a fancy duck dinner party. Don't let their looks fool you, they can be pirates. They are known to steal food from coots and ducks!
Photo: MALE © Carl Miller eBird S34979496 Macaulay Library ML 50154561
Spanish name: pato de collar
This is the ancestor of almost all domestic duck breeds! Breeding season is in the spring, but their courtship lasts all through winter. A mating pair is monogamous, except when the male sees another female he likes. Then the monogamy rule does not apply to him! They are strong fliers when they are migrating, flying around 55 miles per hour! When you hear them quack, it is usually the female.
Photo:MALE © Liron Gertsman eBird S25941277 Macaulay Library ML 39633711
Spanish name: pato golondrino
This is another elegant bird. When they migrate, they fly at night zipping through the air at 48 mph. There is a documented case of a pintail migrating non stop for 1,800 miles, so they are not just a pretty face; they are also tough. Their numbers have been steadily declining each year over several decades.
Photo: MALE © Paul Hueber eBird S12441477
Macaulay Library ML 51287381
Spanish name: pato cucharon norteno
The bill is impressive on this dabbling duck. It's not only big, but its also specialized with tiny fibers along the edges that filter out crustaceans, seeds and other nutrients from the water. They stay monogamous throughout the breeding season. The lose their flight feathers for a brief period, so they hide in thick vegetation out of sight while the feathers grow back.
Photo: BREEDING MALE © Paul Hueber
eBird S9966329 Macaulay Library ML 51286561
Spanish name: mergo copeton
This is the punk rocker of the duck world. They also call it the sawbill because it's thin bill has small serrations on the edges of its. This saw-like bill helps it hold onto the tiny fish it gets while diving. To meet its energy needs, it has to eat 15 - 20 fish per day. That means it dives about 300 times a day for 5 hours to get that many fish. No time to mess around, even if it is a punker.
Photo: MALE © Ian Davies eBird S17320344 Macaulay Library ML 23444211
Spanish name: pato de cabeza roja
Just like the brown-headed cowbird, the Redhead practices brood-parasitism. They will lay their eggs on other Redheads and a whole host of other waterfowl, even on Northern Harriers! To attract a mate, the male will do some amazing gymnastic maneuvers, bending itself almost in half with its neck to its tail, then flicking his head forward while making a cat-like sound. Hey, whatever works!
Photo: MALE © Greg Gillson eBird S22022151
Macaulay Library ML 37395401
Spanish name: pato de pico anillado
It has a chestnut collar on a black neck. It's hard to see the ring , but those weird 19th century biologists thought it was a good identifying feature. So that is what we have to live with. They seem to get harassed by loons and grebes for some reason.
Photo: BREEDING MALE © Ryan Schain eBird S10149641 Macaulay Library ML 36416221
Spanish name: pato tepalcate
This is what one naturalist said about this funny-looking duck: “Its intimate habits, its stupidity, its curious nesting customs and ludicrous courtship performance place it in a niche by itself….Everything about this bird is interesting to the naturalist, but almost nothing about it is interesting to the sportsman.”
Photo: MALE © Christoph Moning eBird S38131485 Macaulay Library ML 63309041
Spanish name: pato arco iris
What a spectacular looking duck! It is so ornamental. The male puts on quite a show for a potential mate. It will swim in front of females with its head, wings and tail raised. It will then do a drinking and preening routine. That's first base. If it gets to second base, they will preen each other. They sometimes practice brood parasitism.
Photo: MALE © Ryan SchaineBird S18074477 Macaulay Library ML 35998481
Spanish name: ampelis chinito
Exotic! The name comes from a waxy material on their wings, duh! They eat nothing but fruit. When cowbirds lay their eggs in the waxwing's nest, they don't survive because of the exclusive fruit diet. Waxwings sometimes get drunk if they eat overripe fruit. A female waxwing may take 2,500 trips to build her nest, but sometimes she cheats by taking material from other nests. A "museum" of waxwings live in the Riverbottom neighborhood near Poggi Creek.
Spanish name: chipe trepador
These are feisty little guys. They defend their territory aggressively against other species. They like to pry open pieces of bark or moss to uncover insects. Their bill is curved slightly downward which helps them in this endeavor. A group of black-and-white warblers can be called a "dichotomy" of warblers.
Photo: MALE © Ryan Schain eBird S36585913 Macaulay Library ML 57253261
Spanish name: mascarita comun
They can be found near lakes, ponds, and marshes. The bigger the mask, the sexier the male, at least that is what the female Common Yellowthroat thinks. The male is generally faithful to his mate, but the female shows no such fidelity, having multiple partners.
Spanish name: chipe olivaceo
We call it the "shaker" because of the way it shakes his head and almost entire body as it sings in the morning. It's a great backyard bird. Put some peanut butter in your nest and they might pay you a visit. It's not easy to see the orange crown.
Photo: ADULT © Ian Davies eBird S40044820 Macaulay Library ML 88558341
Spanish name: chipe de townsend
It is named after John Kirk Townsend. He and his naturalist friend Thomas Nuttall went on an expedition in 1835 and documented a lot of important botanical and wildlife findings. A lot of specimens are named after them. These little guys are so cute: the birds; I don't know about the naturalists.
Photo: ADULT MALE © Matt Brady eBird S6876042 Macaulay Library ML 45702491
Spanish name: chipe de corona negra
These small guys have a type A personality. They are always on the go with things to do and places to visit. Named after the father of American ornithology, Alexander Wilson. If their nest is threatened, they will feign a broken wing to distract the predator and keep their nest safe. The mating pair will often leave their nest, go out and cheat on each other. It is such a soap opera with them!
Photo: MALE © Sue Orwig eBird S33448696 Macaulay Library ML44453081
Spanish name: chipe amarillo
Brown-headed cowbirds often try to parasitize their nest, so the warbler builds an additional layer over the egg. Some nests have multiple tiers because of this. Some yellow warblers have been found trapped on spider webs. Male yellow warblers get in "circle fights" with each other, flying around each other in a circular motion and singing, almost like a rap battle. So cute!
Photo: ADULT MALE © Ryan Schain eBird S8144326 Macaulay Library ML 40199291
Spanish name: carpintero velloso menor
Kind of like sixth graders at a dance, the males and the females separate during feeding. the males take the good spots like small branches and weeds, and the females are left with trunks and larger branches. They like to eat insects and larvae, but they also eat acorns, berries, and grains. They like to nest in dead trees.
Photo: MALE © Evan Lipton eBird S34107464 Macaulay Library ML 47227441
Spanish name: carpintero de pechera comun
Most woodpeckers stay in one area year around, but the Northern Flicker migrates. Something else that makes them different from other woodpeckers is that they get most of their food on the ground searching for ants and beetles. They will peck on wood and metal like other woodpeckers, but it mainly to establish territory and communication. They are very handsome birds.
Spanish name: carpintero californiano
The Nuttall's Woodpecker is named after naturalist Thomas Nuttall. These fellows like to hang around oak trees, but they like to eat insects much more than acorns. A group of woodpeckers can be called a "drumming" of woodpeckers.
Photo: MALE © David M. Bell eBird S36553439 Macaulay Library ML 58829751
Spanish name: saltapared de bewick
This is a pretty hyperactive bird. It just will not cooperate when you want to take a good picture of it! There numbers are going down. Scientists say this is a direct correlation to the population of house wrens going up. Bewicks are monogamous pairs, probably because they forage and do everything together. The male will not let his mate out of his sight!
Photo: ©Greg Gillson eBird S27225069
Macaulay Library ML 66616821
Spanish name: matraca del desierto
This is a noisy bird, singing at all hours. This is one reason it is not a good neighbor. Another reason is that it will destroy other bird species' nests! If any animal even seems like it will prey on its nest, the Cactus Wrens will viciously mob it. They were once observed attacking a squirrel so much that cactus thorns were impaled on it and they kept on attacking until it ran away.
Photo: © Brian Sullivan eBird S9106419
Macaulay Library ML 27267941
Spanish name: saltapared barranqueno
They have a long bill and narrow head. This allows them to reach into narrow crevices to get insects. They get their water needs from the insects they eat rather than trying to find water directly. They tend to live on steep, rocky areas. Mating pairs seem to stay together year around. They even forage together and regularly call out to each other.
Photo: © Nancy Christensen eBird S37904675
Macaulay Library ML 62347981
Spanish name: saltapared continental
These little guys are fierce. They will pierce any eggs of birds that dare to nest in their territory. They will even kill nestlings and throw them out of their nests. Scientists believe that House Wrens are directly responsible for the decline in Bewicks Wren populations. They love to feed on insects. They have a wide range, which may be why they have the name "continental" in Spanish.
Photo: ADULT © Jerry Ting eBird S44451495 Macaulay Library ML 93937471
Spanish name: saltapared pantanero
They are very shy birds. They love to hide in the reeds, cattails, and thick vegetation of the marshes. They are also highly territorial. They will pierce eggs in nests that are sometimes even their own! They don't want any competition for food! A group of wrens can be called a "chime", "flight" and "herd" of wrens.
Photo: ADULT © Jay McGowan eBird S32045505 Macaulay Library ML 37717111
Spanish name: saltapared roquero
This fellow loves to sing! He has about 100 different songs in his repertoire! For some reason that scientists are not sure, it makes a walkway made of small pebbles and stones that lead to its nest. It doesn't drink water, even when it is nearby. It will get all of its water needs from the insects and spiders that it eats.
Photo: ADULT © Brian Sullivan eBird S30002945
Macaulay Library ML 29680841
Spanish name: camea
If you have ever dropped a ping pong ball on a hard surface, that is what the Wrentit sounds like. They are not wrens. In fact, they have no close relatives in North America! They are homebodies in that they will rarely travel more than 1,000 feet from where they were born! They are also faithful mates, sometimes pairing up with a mate from the time they are 30 days old to the rest of their lives.
Photo: Adult © DigiBirdTrek CA eBird S29160690 Macaulay Library ML 27527761
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