Birding: Impact of one plant species in a biotic community | The Daily Courier – Arizona News

Birding: Impact of one plant species in a biotic community | The Daily Courier – Arizona News

Eric Moore/Courtesy

A giant saguaro towers over the surrounding desert habitat below Pusch Peak in Tucson, Arizona.

This past week I was in Tucson for a few days enjoying a sibling reunion with my four sisters. It was fun to visit some of our old stomping grounds — the houses we lived in, the schools we attended, the churches where we worshipped and the desert where I used to hike and explore.

I moved from Massachusetts to Tucson at age 6 and lived at a boarding school for asthmatic children operated by the National Asthmatic Foundation. The facility was located on West Trails End Road on the east side of the Tucson Mountains. It now houses the State of Arizona’s Correctional Officer’s Training Academy (COTA).

Visiting the school where I lived over 50 years ago brought back a flood of memories, such as being separated from my family for four years at such a young age. The school is situated in a beautiful Sonoran Desert habitat not far from Gates Pass, Tucson Mountain Park and Saguaro National Park.

One morning, we all went for an early morning hike on the Linda Vista Trail at the base of Pusch Peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains. The elevation is about 2,600 feet, and the habitat is characterized by drought-tolerant and heat-tolerant bushes, trees and cacti.

In the month of June, some saguaros are still in bloom, while the fruit on many saguaros is ripening. However, the fruit on some of the saguaros had ripened to the point that it has burst open, exposing the bright red pulpy insides, creating access to hundreds of seeds…

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