The Baby Birds and the Cactus
The most iconic denizen of this desert is certainly the saguaro cactus. Its stately form is very recognizable and indeed has become somewhat synonymous with visions of the desert. This, though in fact it is only native to this particular desert—the Sonoran—and is only abundant in parts of it.
Happily, there are many in our area, high on a hillside overlooking the San Pedro Valley (more on that some other time, I’m sure!) The saguaros are not only remarkable and beautiful in their own presence, but they also provide homes to many little creatures. Over the years, woodpeckers and others drill holes in their sides—holes which the cactus reseals to create perfect nesting places for a variety of birds. Safety and relative coolness are to be found within.
Just across the road from us, there is one which we’ve been watching ever since we arrived. It contains multiple nests up and down its sides, and it is quite a busy place all day long.
One, two, three,
Squee, squee, squee;
Here the giant cactus tall
Makes a home for one and all;
Thrasher, woodpecker and wren
Build their nests each year again
In the safety of its height,
In its coolness, watertight.
Welcome each new baby brood
That hatches, fledges, cries for food,
And one day tries the open air
That beckons from beyond the lair
Within saguaro’s stalwart side
To soar, to flit, to dart, to glide
Above the canyons, valleys, hills
While old saguaro watches still.