Field Notes

Friday Creature Feature: Javelina

February 14, 2020

The collared peccary (Pecari tajacu), or more commonly known here in the Southwest as the javelina, is a stout pig-like creature with grizzled coarse hair, long nose, and short legs. They have a white line of hair running from under their neck to their shoulders, giving them their name. The collared peccary is in the…
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Friday Creature Feature: White-tailed deer

February 7, 2020

The white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) is native all the way from Southern Canada to Central  America. They thrive in many habitat types including, mountains, swamps, shrublands, and rainforests. In all these ecosystems, the deer prefer dense thickets for cover, with open grassy edges for food. In the Southwest white-tailed deer can be found at higher…
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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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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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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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Sky Island SPOTlight: Aravaipa Canyon

January 16, 2020

Introducing our Sky Island SPOTlight series! Throughout the next few weeks we will be introducing you to the beautiful places in the Sky Island region where we are lucky enough to work! Join any of our volunteer trips to see one of these gorgeous spots! First up, Aravaipa Creek Aravaipa Creek is on the northern…
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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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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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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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