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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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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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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