Field Notes

Friday Creature Feature: Badger

December 13, 2019

The badger, also known as the American badger (Taxidea taxus) are a member of the weasel family. They have tan and grey bodies, and a distinctive black and white striped face. In North America, badgers live in open grasslands, deserts, and shrublands of the west. However, their range has been expanding east. Did you know…
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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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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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Wildlife Tracking 101: A-what-a-grade?

October 16, 2019

Animals have evolved various form of locomotion to get around. Terrestrial animals have common three types of locomotion: plantigrade, digitigrade, and unguligrade. You can see an animal’s locomotion type in their tracks, and is a tool to help you narrow down what animal made that track.  Please see our previous blog post: Anatomy of a…
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Wildlife Tracking 101: Anatomy of a Track

October 9, 2019

To learn how to track you must first understand some basics of anatomy. If you can understand what part of the foot made that mark, and if you know terminology, you can start to ID the track and communicate to other trackers what you see. The best way to learn the anatomy of the track…
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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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Wildlife Tracking 101: How many toes?

October 2, 2019

Did you know you can separate animal footprints, also called tracks based on how many toes you see? There are many variables that can affect how many toes show up, ground type, speed of the animal, and age of the track. But if you can count the number of toes you see, you are on…
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Meet a Cross-Border Cat—Mountain Lion

September 25, 2019

Puma concolor is known by many names: mountain lion, puma, cougar, catamount, and panther, but all refer to the same species. Mountain lions have the widest geographic range of any mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They roam across North and South America, but due to hunting pressures the mountain lion went extinct in the eastern…
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Meet a Cross-Border Cat—Ocelot

September 24, 2019

Known in Spanish as el tigrillo or ocelote, Leopardus pardalis is a neotropical cat that roams forests, scrublands, and savannas from South America northwards into the southern US. This spotted wildcat is roughly twice the size of a housecat, weighing up to 35 lbs. The ocelot is much smaller than the other spotted cat of…
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