Tuesday June 16, 2009
Spring in the Arizona living desert is amazing to see! Between the colorful array of Cactus flowers and the wildlife doing the sacred “dance”, there is much to marvel at. Over the past month Doves have made their nests all over the property, mostly in obvious place like underneath patio roofs and high up in trees.
However, two days ago I walked outside and stood next the cactus by my back-door. I heard a noise, which was a Dove flying out of the cactus. I thought to myself what could possibly be so important that a Dove would hang out in a plant with a thousand sharp spikes. When I looked closer at the cactus I saw something astonishing, a sight only seen in the living desert.
This Dove family had chosen to make their nest right inside a folded paddle cactus. I guess they felt like this was the safest place. A little while later mother Dove showed back up.
Well, it will certainly be interesting to watch the mother give flying lessons from a cactus. I will continue to watch for updates, should be interesting!
I am sitting at my desk right now. It is Saturday 6:51AM and the view from my Tucson home office is pretty spectacular. The doves are nesting in the porch eves, the hummingbirds are fluttering around the blooming ocotillo and the prickly pear are preparing to bloom. As a write, a little bunny just walked up on to the porch enjoying the early morning weather. This week the Tucson desert around our home has been particularly beautiful and I thought I would tell you about three ways to enjoy the living desert.
I don’t want any of you to worry that my hints are going to cause you to do anything too strenuous. In fact you don’t even have to physically be in the desert to enjoy the living desert. And remember, this is Judy writing today. I gave up hiking, backpacking, camping, and bicycling a long time ago. So here we go…
1. Rent or buy a copy of Walt Disney’s The Living Desert. This film was released in November 1953! Yes, I know that is over 55 years ago, but it won the academy award in 1954 for best documentary and if you have never seen it, then you are in for a surprise. There was a time that I offered a You Tube video clip from the movie that deals with the cute ground squirrels; however, as is often the case the video has been disabled. Here you can visit a Walt Disney site and view the limited trailer. My parents took my sisters and me to see this movie in 1954 and I have never forgotten the beauty of the blooming cactus.
2. If you live in a desert environment, particularly around Tucson, AZ, then just take a walk in your neighborhood. It is spring time in the desert and for the next few months the cactus will take turns producing beautiful flowers and fruit. Just yesterday I was retrieving my neighbor’s mail and I had to stand back and wonder at the simple beauty of the living desert. And if you really think that a desert tortoise is just to be seen in the movies, here is a photo that Dan took last summer in Gates Pass a few miles from our home in Tucson..
3. For those of you who can not rent or buy the Living Desert and do not live in the desert, I invite you to watch my slide show of a RED TORCH CACTUS. This cactus is located outside my bedroom and Daniel decided to chronicle the blooming process. These photos were taken over the course of 24 hours. And you should know the flowers really are only in full bloom for one day! (I created this slide show using Googles’ Picasa Web Albums.)
So I will sign off for the day, more living desert for me to see, sans snakes!
P.S. If for some reason my slide show is really not of a Red Torch Cactus, I hope one of my readers will correct me.
A big congratulations to Linda McClure for making the Vimeo Staff Picks.
After watching the nest for a couple weeks, hummingbird incubation ranges from 16-18 days, two tiny hummingbirds were hatched. Look carefully to find the recently evacuated egg shell in the nest.
For more perspective on the size of these very tiny birds and even tinier offspring. Here is some footage of the mother preparing her nest.