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Cacti Flowers in Arizona

The rather spiky cactus is closely associated with Arizona and our desert landscape.   Late April and early May are blessed with cacti flowers that dot the desert with color.  From small landscaping cacti to the towering saguaro , blooms in many colors adorn the desert and residential landscapes around Phoenix. Many homeowners use slow-growing cacti as landscaping around the home.  A single cactus plant needs very little water, can easily handle our 100 degree days, and in general, needs almost zero care.  Each spring, they will burst into bloom and brighten a front or back yard.  The size of the cactus plant doesn't determine whether or not they will bloom.  Some cacti stay very tiny for their entire lives while others tower many feet tall.  This tiny cactus easily grows in a pot and displays a ring of beautiful pink flowers each spring.  This cactus is really only the size of a grapefruit yet blooms year after year never really getting noticeably bigger.   Some homes use cacti t
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Babies Emerge From Saguaro Homes

  I have had an exceptionally busy last few weeks.  I know that I am not alone in this however I have a rather nasty habit of giving up the very thing that makes me happiest and healthiest when I get very busy.  Some people might skip the gym or yoga class while others might eat much more fast food to save time.  I tend to skip my outings into nature.  As I talked about before, nature not only helps me find peace and focus but also helps me to feel more creative, connected to myself, and happier in general.  Earlier this week, I really didn't have the time but I took just one hour to venture into the wilderness and was rewarded by the continuation of  nesting season  and some babies beginning to emerge. I first stopped by a local lake and was treated to the sight of several ducks sitting on their nests.  They both had fantastic hiding places and each year I am struck by how very patient birds are.  These ducks will likely sit on their nests for weeks until their babies hatch.   I k

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Nesting Time for Arizona Birds

  Though our winters are mild, birds in Arizona still tend to nest in the spring and many will continue to lay eggs until the end of autumn.  The places birds find to build their nests in Arizona however might be very different than in other areas of the United States.   Saguaro cacti are a popular choice for many birds.  Homes are frequently already hollowed out of the saguaro flesh by Gila woodpeckers and are move-in ready with just a few tidying tasks.  This starling is guarding the nest's entrance while his mate ducked in and out of the saguaro cactus.  Long trails of dried grasses and branches quickly moved into the cactus while he stood and observed the activity.  The tall saguaro makes a convenient and fairly safe home for birds.  These homes are relatively easy to guard and while snakes do climb the cacti in search of food, they seem to prefer an easier meal that doesn't call for them to slither among thorns. I have seen starlings around my area for many years but I ne

Spring Has Arrived in Arizona

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Weekly Nature Breaks Provide Sanity

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Pelicans in the Arizona Desert

  I have lived in Arizona for over sixteen years and in that time I have visited the Pacific coast many times.  During my visits, I typically see many pelicans.  They are usually flying over the water in large groups or standing on the top of buildings resting.  Where I have never seen pelicans is around my home in the Arizona desert...until recently.   I have written about wintering birds that I have found at my local riparian preserve before but on a recent trip, I saw a pelican.  That feeling of seeing a new bird never gets old but seeing a pelican so out of the normal environment that I associate with pelicans made me doubt what I was seeing.  This guy was not terribly close to where I was standing and was simply much bigger than other birds as I scanned the water.  It wasn't until I zoomed in with my camera that I realized that this stately fellow was a pelican.  Even then, I will admit that I snapped off a few photos and then looked back at my camera to triple verify what