That's a Sonoran Desert Bald Chicken.
(I know. When you think "bald" you think "eagle.")
Bald eagles get all the press--what my friend Colonel Carson calls "NatGeo moments." It's true; when was the last time you saw a bird like this one in National Geographic?
On the other hand, when was the last time you saw a fish-eating eagle reading a self-help book?
This particular Bald Chicken's a nearsighted hen. Hens and roosters are easy to tell apart: the rooster of the species has a much larger comb on it's head, and the wattles on each side of the rooster's neck are bright blue.
What Desert Bald Chickens lack in publicity they make up for in their well-developed ability to network with each other to get things accomplished.
Research shows that the hens are especially good at this. Gathering in groups of twelve, they listen attentively while one hen reads to the rest.
I was fortunate to capture this photo during one of the reading sessions. (You can see she's in good voice.)
Tune in next time when Ranger Mike investigates the benefits of adopting the business model of the Desert Pack Rat.
Photo courtesy Alia Sweis