Field Notes

Friday Creature Feature: Mule deer

February 2, 2020

You can find mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) across Western North American. From central Mexico to southern Alaska. They inhabit the deserts, grasslands, chaparral, forests and mountains of the region. In Southern Arizona, they are frequently seen at lower elevations in the deserts and grasslands, but they will move to higher elevations during the warm summer…
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Cameras and Corridors

January 25, 2020

Sky Island Alliance’s mission is to protect and restore the diversity of life and lands in the Sky Island region. This unique region bridges the Colorado Plateau in the US and the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico through a series of ‘Sky Islands’ in Arizona and Sonora that rise out of desert seas and provide vibrant mountain habitat for plants, animals, and people of the southwest.  At…
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Friday Creature Feature: White-throated woodrat

January 24, 2020

2020 is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac, and with the Chinese New Year tomorrow, we at Sky Island are celebrating one of the native rat species in the region! The white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) is one of the several native species of woodrat in Arizona. You will commonly see the white-throated…
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How we set up our wildlife cameras

January 18, 2020

Wildlife cameras are a useful tool to study wildlife in a non-invasive approach and answer many questions about wildlife behavior, occupancy, abundance, and land usage. At Sky Island Alliance, we use wildlife cameras to gather crucial data on wildlife species in the region. This data helps us inform the public and policy makers about the unique diversity we have in the binational region.   In the last decade, wildlife cameras have become cheaper…
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Friday Creature Feature: Gray Hawk

January 17, 2020

The gray hawk (Buteo plagiatus) is a medium-sized, silvery gray hawk, that has white underparts, a black tail with white banding and yellow legs. The gray hawk ranges from the Amazon rain forest all the way to the southwestern United States. They are migratory only at the North end of their range, where they arrive…
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Friday Creature Feature: Great Horned Owl

January 10, 2020

Their name comes from the horn-like feather tufts on the tops of their heads. The tufts are darker than the rest of the head, which improves their camouflage. As masters of disguise, their overall color is dependent on their location. So here in the desert, great horned owls are a lighter gray coloration while those in…
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Friday Creature Feature: Desert Cottontail

January 3, 2020

Continuing our lagomorph series of creature features, this week we are leaving the hares and go to the other group, the rabbits!   Rabbits and Jackrabbits are genetic cousins but are not in the same genus. Besides size and appearance, the main difference between the two groups is how they raise their young. As we discussed…
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Top 10 Wildlife Photos of 2019

December 31, 2019

During the course of 2019, Sky Island Alliance has collected 9600 photos of wildlife, 6645 of those came from cameras within 5 miles of the Border. This data was collected and submitted by our volunteers and partner organizations. It was hard to select the best photos, as every image of our Sky Island wildlife is…
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Friday Creature Feature: Black-tailed Jackrabbit

December 27, 2019

Last week we highlighted the antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni). This week we will cover the other Lepus species that we get on our cameras, the Black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus). You can find the black-tailed jackrabbit in low-elevation deserts and scrub lands across the west. They range from Missouri in the east, to the California coasts…
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Friday Creature Feature: Antelope Jackrabbit

December 20, 2019

Surprisingly many species in the southwest are understudied, and the antelope jackrabbit (Lepus alleni) is one of them. Found only in Arizona and Northwestern Mexico. The antelope jackrabbits live in desert shrub and grasslands. They prefer open spaces where they can spot and run away from predators in plenty of time. The antelope jackrabbit is…
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