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Although I’ve temporarily ceased my automobile-based wildlife hunts, I haven’t by any means quit looking for images to post. In recent days I’ve been taking long, solitary walks in our neighborhood, looking for wildlife to photograph. Our subdivision was carved out of the desert and there’s a lot of desert wildlife at hand. So, my walks have been pretty fruitful, so far.
One of the creatures that I photographed the other day is this White-winged Dove, perching on a budding Saguaro Cactus.
Both the dove and the Saguaro are important indicators of our rapidly approaching summer.
White-winged Doves are a common hot weather sight in our community. They’re migratory in the Tucson suburbs, showing up each year in late March or early April and staying until mid- to late September. Their arrival coincides with blooming Saguaros. The doves have a close relationship with these giant cacti, feasting each year on the nectar, fruit, and seeds that the cacti produce. It may be that the doves help pollinate these cacti, I’m not certain about that.
However, I am certain about this: the doves’ appearance and the budding Saguaros are sure signs of rapidly approaching hot weather. In southern Arizona, spring is very brief, lasting only until mid- or late April. By then, we’re beginning to get days consistently in the 90’s (above 32 degrees Celsius) and much, much hotter weather lies immediately ahead. The rising temperatures also coincide with the driest weather of the year. We rarely receive rain after the early part of April and the very dry heat will persist until the advent of our monsoon thunderstorms, hopefully by early July.
So, when I see White-winged Doves, like this bird, perching on Saguaros, I know that summer is upon us.
White-winged Doves are so common in our area that people tend to disregard them or find them to be annoying (they’re very messy birds). That’s a pity because they are very beautiful. I hope this image is proof of that.
Image made with a Canon 5Div, 400mm f4 DO II lens+1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 250, f5.6 @ 1/2000.