Field Notes

Microscopic View of a Desert Cardinal Feather

November 9, 2020

  We have two lovely cardinal species that reside in the Sky Island region, the Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) and Pyrrhuloxia (Cadinalis sinuatus), also known as the desert cardinal. Pyrrhuloxia has a prominent crest on its head, distinctive yellow bill (in contrast to the darker reddish-orange bill of the Northern cardinal), and gray feathers tinged with light red. When in flight, the…
Read more »

Friday Creature Feature: Gray Fox

November 6, 2020

Two fox species have been detected in the Sky Islands. One of these—the gray fox—is this week’s Friday creature feature! The gray fox is considered an urban-adapted species and is one of the animals listed on our FotoFauna checklist. So, grab a cup of something good and let’s learn!  Description:  While the name “gray fox” (Urocyon cinereoargenteus) may conjure up visions of a small, all-gray canine, the gray fox is actually a lot more…
Read more »

Microscopic View of a Cholla Fruit

November 1, 2020

When you zoom in closer and closer to living things you encounter in the Sky Island region, it’s amazing what you find! I was recently drawn to look more closely at the Desert Christmas Cholla (Cylindopuntia leptocaulis) growing in my yard. Its scientific name means cylindrical slender stem, a fitting name for this short and branching cactus abundant…
Read more »

Introducing FotoFauna: Our New Wildlife Monitoring Network

October 14, 2020

Dust off your backyard wildlife cameras—a new volunteer opportunity is here!  Sky Island Alliance is excited to announce the launch of Sky Island FotoFauna, a wildlife monitoring network powered by residents and organizations in the Sky Island region. We’re looking for backyard nature enthusiasts to join us by monitoring and submitting their local wildlife data to us monthly.  Here’s how you can help:  First, you’ll need a wildlife camera. If you haven’t set one…
Read more »

Youngsters on the Wildlife Cameras

September 9, 2020

  This is my favorite season for wildlife cameras, baby season! This year’s young are finally large enough to follow their mothers around and show up on camera. With the addition of our Border Wildlife Study cameras we are able to see even more youngsters than before. With these new cameras we were able to…
Read more »

Set Up Your Own Backyard Wildlife Camera

September 3, 2020

If you want to see animals roam through your own corner of the Sky Islands 24/7, learn how to set up a wildlife camera in your own backyard. Join us for this virtual Coffee Break to learn Sky Island Alliance tips and tricks for choosing the right camera for your interest and how to set…
Read more »

Where to Mount a Backyard Wildlife Camera

August 17, 2020

Choosing a location for a wildlife camera in your backyard is a really fun process but may require some trial and error to get just the right perspective of animals on the move around your home. I’ve experimented with cameras in many locations around my house in the Sonoran Desert and share what I learned about different types of backyard camera locations. Check out our previous…
Read more »

90 Days and 71 Species at the Border

July 24, 2020

Sky Island Alliance staff and volunteers deployed trail cameras along 34 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border in early March 2020. Our mission was to document the wildlife community living in one of the last wild and remote borderland corridors before border wall cuts it in two. Following the TEAM Vertebrate Monitoring Protocol (2011), we designed…
Read more »

Sky Island Coffee Break: Border Wildlife Study 90-Day Report

July 23, 2020

Register for the Zoom Link Here Join us as we share new results from the first 90 days of our Border Wildlife Study documenting species in the path of the border wall. Since March 9, 2020, our 60-camera array along 34 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border recorded a huge diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles, and…
Read more »

Destructive Border Wall Construction Accelerates in the Sky Islands

July 14, 2020

It’s been a difficult month in the borderlands, as COVID-19 cases soar in Arizona, and border wall construction continues at breakneck speed tearing through rugged, protected lands, and Native American sacred sites. Border wall construction is destroying large swaths of National Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges and National Forests in Arizona that are some of the most special natural places in our country.   Over the past weeks and months, border wall construction has drained water out from…
Read more »