2018—Elegance in the Treetops

While we were in Madera Canyon, we heard that the birders visiting the lodge were excited about an Elegant Trogon seen in the area and lots of people came to the Coronado National Forest because they heard about the Elegant Trogan sightings.  For the first couple of days, we occasionally heard the trogons calling their harsh, yappy dog barking call but never saw one.

Then, one afternoon, during a brief rest break from hummingbird photography, Sharon found Richard and me idly chatting and told us Moose had staked out the male Elegant Trogan in a tree on a hiking trail near the lodge.  We quickly changed to our longest lenses and marched off toward the trail, camera rigs slung over our shoulders.  During the short walk to the trailhead, then throughout the walk over the creek and across the brush, we could hear the barking of the Trogon.  Then, we saw him, perched on the edge of a tree cavity searching for a mate.   The more colorful males find what they think is a good nest cavity, stake it out, then call to the female in the hopes she’ll come and find it acceptable.

Elegant Trogan 2

At one point, the female approached and landed in a tree directly over our heads.  The male dipped deeper in to the tree cavity and his calls were modulated, apparently a Trogon signal to the female about the nest cavity.   We watched the frustrated male and listened to his plaintive cry for about half an hour while the female flirted with him, then left.  Finally, the male Elegant Trogan took a last look around, gave up his quest, and flew away too.

Elegant Trogan

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