The desert is a harsh place, even for those plants and animals “perfectly adapted” to life here in the southwest. This adult Cactus Wren in the neighbors’ yard somehow discovered the downside of nesting in the prickly protection of a cholla.
It’s astoundingly rare to see such a thing; I can’t remember ever having run across an impaled adult of this species. What makes me wonder most, though, is that this bird was stuck not on wing or tail–the appendages most likely to swipe carelessly across a cholla joint–but on its belly, as if it had been pressed into the bed of spines from above. Did one of the neighborhood Cooper’s Hawks force the bird to crouch at just the wrong moment?