Southwest Wildlife
by Jay Sharp


Testing the Waters
Looking for the birds in the desert Southwest? Follow the water for some surprising sightings.
(July 2009)

Wild Blue Yonder
Hundreds of miles from the nearest coastline, the Great Blue Heron can nonetheless be seen in the desert Southwest.
(August 2009)

Charming in White
Having survived a tragic fashion trend, the snowy egret is back and showing off its plumes — even here in the desert Southwest.

(September 2009)

Fellow Travellers
Flocks of migrating Sandhill Cranes may fly as much as 150 miles in a day. November brings them to New Mexico.
(November 2009)

Flight of the Snow Goose
These snowbirds don't need an RV for their annual migration to New Mexico and points south.
(December 2009)

Vagabond of
the Water Birds

The far-flying Cattle Egret has found its way across the Atlantic and all the way to New Mexico
(January 2010)

That Bird with Charisma
Real-life Roadrunners have just as much appeal as the cartoon critters chased by Wile E. Coyote
(February 2010)

Ordinary Miracles
Spring brings the Black-chinned Hummingbird.
(April 2010)

Song-Dog of the Southwest
Our love-hate affair
with the coyote.
(May 2010)

Kiss of the Prairie Dog
Black-tailed prairie dogs once numbered in the billions
(July 2010)

The desert's biters, stingers, stickers and poisoners
(August 2010)

Hawk Watching
The red-tailed hawk sets the standard for raptors
(September 2010)

Just Like the
White-winged Dove

In the Southwest, the song is
a familiar one
(October 2010)

A Bird to be Thankful For
There's more to the wild turkey than drumsticks
(November 2010)

This Little Non-Piggy Despite appearances, the javelina is not a pig
(December 2010)

Great Stott!
The mule deer is a classic high-stepper
(January 2011)

Giving a Hoot
Meet the controversial Mexican spotted owl
(February 2011)

Taking a Gambel
The Gambel's quail, decorative bird of the desertl
(March 2011)

The Bobcat's Tale
The bobcat has adapted to almost every US habitat, including here
(April 2011)

The ugly, the bad, and the good.
(May 2011)

The Bird's Got Talent
The curve-billed thrasher may not look like much, but it sure can sing
(June 2011)

Butterflies are Free
Here you can glimpse 40% of all US butterfly species
(July 2011)

Flying in Style
Southwest New Mexico is home to a half-dozen species of swallowtails
(August 2011)

It's Good to be Great least when you're a great-tailed grackle, for whom life is mostly worth crowing about
(September 2011)

What's Bugging You?
In the insect world of the Southwest, variety is the spice of life
(October 2011)

Creepy Crawlers
Millipedes, centipedes, scorpions and spiders — oh, my!
(November 2011)

The Giving Tree
The yucca is a veritable Walmart for desert dwellers
(December 2011)

The Noble Agave
The plant that gives us tequila and a once-in-a-lifetime bloom
(January 2012)

Collective Wisdom
When harvester ants get together!
(February 2012)

Something that Belongs
The Mesquites – uninvited guests or welcome neighbors
(March 2012)

Quoth the Raven
Crows and ravens occupy a prominent place in our imagination
(April 2012)

A Lost World
Lessons from an 11,000-year-old sloth found near Las Cruces
(May 2012)

Water, Water Nowhere
Thirsty for knowledge about desert survival?
(June 2012)

Pretty Foxy
The gray fox can be an elegant and resourceful neighbor
(July 2012)

American Icon
The plains bison also roamed early New Mexico
(August 2012)

The Great Pretender
The Sonoran gopher snake evolved to mimic a rattler
(September 2012)

Our Vanishing Riparian Landscapes
Can we meet the threats to the Southwest's water systems?
(October 2012)

A Real Hoot
Meet the burrowing owl, Frank Sinatra of the owl clan
(November 2012)

Mavericks Among Us
The ocotillo, ephedra, sotol and allthorn — all highly individualistic plants
(January 2013)

Outlaw Desert Plants
From homegrown outlaws like mesquite and creosote bush to foreigners like salt cedar, invasive species are reshaping the desert.
(April 2013)

Gift of the Magma
The Organ Mountains are home to a diverse ecosystem
(May 2013)

Tracks of Time
Life before the dinosaurs at Prehistoric Trackways National Monument
(July 2013)

Survival of the Thriftiest
The plants of our desert Southwest have developed a variety of strategies for surviving and even thriving in hard times
(August 2013)

Peak Experiences
The proposed Organ Mountains–Desert Peaks National Monument encompasses a vast array of geologic and human history.
(November 2013)

Unwelcome Guest
The invasive salt cedar, or tamarisk, hogs our scarce water supplies
(May 2014)

An Uncommon Common Plant
The humble creosote bush proves its adaptability over
tens of thousands of square miles of southwestern desert.
(July 2014)

Desert Icon
The ocotillo's impressive adaptations to help it survive
(October 2014)

Winning the Shell Game
The desert box turtle has found ways to survive in the arid Southwest (November 2014)


Southwest Wildlife


Jay W. Sharp is a Las Cruces author who is a regular contributor to DesertUSA, an Internet magazine, and the author of Texas Unexplained.

Jay writes about wildlife for Desert Exposure.



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