Field Notes

Friday Creature Feature: Greater roadrunner

December 6, 2019

The greater roadrunner (Geococcyx californianus) is a striking and culturally famous bird of the southwest, from classic cartoons to local hockey teams. They are a member of the cuckoo family and is closely related to the lesser roadrunner (Geococcyx velox) that lives in Mexico. You can find greater roadrunners in deserts, grasslands, and arid scrublands…
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Turkey Time in the Sky Islands!

November 28, 2019

On this day when turkeys are at the center of public attention, it is important to learn and remember the history of our own native turkey in the Sky Island region.  There are two sub-species of turkeys native to Arizona: the smaller Merriam’s turkey found in the pine forests of Northern Arizona and the Gould’s…
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Creature Feature: Ringtail

November 22, 2019

The ringtail (Bassariscus astutus) is a small omnivorous mammal that can be found across the West. Ringtails prefer rocky habitats in desert, and in oak and pine woodlands. In the desert, ringtails are often found in riparian areas where water and food are more abundant.  Did you know that the ring-tailed cat is not actually…
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Another Tracking Workshop in the books!

November 5, 2019

Two weeks ago Sky Island Alliance hosted our Fall 2019 Tracking Workshop. We had a fabulous time with a group of 16 newly trained trackers. They quickly picked up the art of tracking through hands-on experience and time in the field to practice. During the workshop they learned how to observe the wildlife around them…
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New Border wall threatens Desert Oasis at San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge

November 4, 2019

Along the US border with Mexico, sits a unique marsh called the San Bernardino cienaga, where wildlife migrates across the international border between Mexico and the mountains of Arizona. This remarkable desert oasis has the highest diversity of bees in the world. With more than 500 species filling the air with sound as they pollinate…
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Creature Feature: Western Spotted Skunk

November 1, 2019

Did you know that the Sky Island region is home to four skunk species? There are the striped, hooded, and hog-nosed skunks, but the smallest is the western spotted skunk (Spilogale gracilis). You can tell the spotted skunk apart from the other species by their distinctive marbled coat and smaller size. The male skunk they…
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Ay Mariposa Screening Saturday, October 26

October 24, 2019

This weekend in Tucson, come experience the moving story of butterflies and people affected by the US-Mexico border at the screening of Ay Mariposa at the Loft Cinema. Co-presented this weekend by the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter and The Loft Cinema, Ay Mariposa tells a story of three characters in the Lower Rio Grande…
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Creature Feature: White-nosed coati

October 18, 2019

The white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) is a medium sized, omnivorous, mammal. You can find the white-nosed coati in the mountain and riparian areas of the Sky Island region. The coati ranges from the Southwest US, through Mexico, to Colombia in South America. There is another species of coati called the South American coati (Nasua nasua),…
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Borderlands Festival and Tracking Blitz

October 8, 2019

This past Saturday we celebrated the borderland region by attending the Borderlands Festival hosted by Coronado National Memorial. There was great dancing, food, and fun for all. Sky Island Alliance had an interactive table that taught how to identify common wildlife tracks. We also showcased our wildlife monitoring work in the region. Special shout out…
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Where Does Wildlife Go?

October 4, 2019

We recently explored a small section of existing border wall habitat on the US side of the border with Mexico at Coronado Memorial. A sandy wash meanders southward through the park from the Huachuca Mountains and abruptly runs into the steel border wall. As we looked for signs of wildlife on the move, sure enough…
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