Natural History Articles
A collection of natural history articles about the desert from our Desert Place newspaper column. Click on the titles to see and download them to your computer. DAC members' enthusiasm about various aspects of life in the desert inspired their research and writing over the last few years.
Desert Awareness Park
in Cave Creek, Arizona
A Desert Place by The first “A Desert Place” column from 1983.
Adventure at Your Doorstep by In tune with the world of the Sonoran Desert.
Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? by Taxonomists add increasing complexity to our old understandings.
Biodiversity by What is it and do we need it?
Cooking in the Desert by Solar cooking is another way to enjoy our unique desert climate.
DAC 30th Anniversary by Preservation and education remain the mission.
Dark is Great by Living in the desert: clear skies, brilliant stars, luminous moon.
Fire: the Good, the Bad and the Necessary by Use defensible space to protect your home.
Desert Awareness Park by A family park in the heart of Cave Creek.
How to Plant a Rock by All about landscape boulders.
Learning to Know the Desert Takes Time and Patience by Your reward is a beautiful new experience.
Letters from the Desert by Want to feel at peace?
On Caring for Spaceship Earth by We’re all crew members and we’re all stewards.
Rabies by A disease to be aware of and respect.
Spring Comes to the Harcuvars by A desert awakens.
Summer is Here by Use your senses to detect the signs of summer.
Take Home A Boor Site by Let no one say all was beauty here until you came.
Water Filled Jugs Can Cause Fires by Convex lenses can concentrate the sun’s rays.
Weather with the Weathersmith by Tips to cope with our unique Arizona weather.
When Civilization Encroaches by We benefit when we leave the desert as natural as possible.
Bobcat and House Cat have
Close Encounter in Cave Creek
(photo courtesy Dick Mueller)
Alert! Wildlife Poisonings by There are more humane methods to eliminate rodents.
Bark Scorpions by Nothing to mess with.
Barn Owls and Mineshafts by The symbiotic relationship of barn owls and old mineshafts.
Be Aware of the Buzz by The defensive Africanized honeybee.
Black Cardinal is Really Phainopepla by The “Shining Robe”.
Bobcat by The most common, but rarely seen, southwestern cat.
Brave Heart by The remarkable hummingbird.
Brown Spiders by Equally as menacing as the Brown Recluse.
Cattin’ Around with the Bobcats by Enjoy what you can see in our Sonoran Desert foothills.
Cave Creek: Refuge for Desert Fish by Their presence testifies to the incredible nature of the Sonoran Desert.
Cobwebs by A sure sign your house is being cleaned.
Coyote, God’s Dog by We are fortunate to have the coyote as our Foothills neighbor.
Crotalus in the Cabin by A remarkable encounter.
Desert Bighorn Sheep in the Cave Creek Area by Reintroduction possible into the Desert Foothills.
Did You Know? by Unusual, perhaps useful facts, to know.
For the Birds by Bird feeding and unintended consequences.
Got Bugs? by We may have a dry heat, but don’t take them for granted.
Greetings from the Critters by A report on a few recent sightings from my “roost”.
Hawks and a Year in the Desert by The joys of living among exotic wildlife.
If You Find a Baby Quail by How you can help baby quail survive.
Invasive Crayfish by Another example of unintended consequences.
It’s A Bullsnake, But It’s No Bull by What to do when you encounter a bullsnake, or two, in your house.
Large Black Birds by How to tell ravens from crows.
Little Brown Towhee Wears A Rusty Beanie by Who is that little brown bird?
My Friend, Jack by That is, Jack, for jackrabbit.
Nature Is Evil? by Is it really that scary out there?
New World Turkey Vultures by Soaring beautifully over the Desert Foothills.
Our Backyard Watering Hole by Hardly a day goes by without some sort of performance.
Quail Log: March 26th to May 4th by A primer on quail birthing.
Quail Show Concern for Babies by Bonding within quail families.
Small Birds Give Ground to Thrasher by You’ll know me by my distinctive whistle.
Snakes and Spiders Won’t Do It Alone by Why I like snakes and spiders.
Solitary Bees by Distinct from honeybees and vital to the Sonoran Desert.
Tarantula Crossing the Road by The gentle giants of our spider world.
The Green Umbrella by Mourning doves take up residence.
The Kissing Bug by You can call this sneaky bug by many names.
The Ringtail by When is a cat not a cat?
There’s a Quail Nest in My Geraniums by Quail can live happily alongside humans if humans cooperate.
Turkey Vultures Return for Summer by Turkey vultures do their share to keep the world clean.
We Brake for Baby Quail! by May we protect this never-ending source of enjoyment.
Whatever Happened to the Horny Toads? by Thriving in the wild.
Who’d Choose a Cactus Wren as Arizona’s State Bird? by A unique and independent character.
Who’s Not Appreciated? by Lizards: kind of nice to have around.
Ironwood in full bloom
along the Go John Trail
(photo courtesy Dave Mills)
A Pretty Parasite? by Here in our Sonoran Desert, there is a parasite that is actually pretty.
Bulbils and Our Century Plant by A reproductive oddity.
Cattails at the Jewel of the Creek by Is this good news or bad news?
Climate Change, Precipitation, and Native Vegetation by The importance of those not-so-pretty shrubs for erosion control.
Desert Plants Kept Native Americans Healthy by How did the indigenous people stock their medicine chest?
Don’t Bust the Crust by Why cryptobiotic crust needs to be protected.
Fires Threaten Balance by Non-native grasses, introduced by man, are the culprit.
Fountain Grass by A beautiful, but invasive grass, not to be befriended.
Growing Wildflowers in the Sonoran Desert by Tips for growing Sonoran wildflowers in your garden.
How Plants Keep Their Cool by They can’t move out of the sun; so how do they survive?
Identifying a Plant Community by What’s it like to live in a 1,154.121 plant community?
Let the Games Begin! by The olives are ripe!
Mesquite by Lush refuge.
News Flash: Desert mistletoe is not a threat to native trees by Rather, we are the threat.
Our Desert by A land of thorns, prickles and spines.
Raking (Or Is It Raping?) the Desert by Why not tidy up the desert?
Salt Cedar Eating Beetle by Beneficial beetles take a bite out of salt cedar.
Savvy Can Keep Desert Broom in Check by How to reduce the proliferation of this native plant.
Seeds by The interesting diversity of seeds.
Self-Guided Nature Trail by DAC helps private community create nature trail.
Sonoran Desert Edible Plants by A rich harvest is available to you without planting or watering.
Spring Wildflowers in the Desert by Learning about Sonoran Desert ephemerals.
Stop Winter Seeds Now by How to use pre-emergents compatibly with native plants.
Stress On Agaves by A tiny weevil can take this noble stalk down!
Sun Stunts Plant Growth by A provocative idea.
The Curse of the Salt Cedar by Best intentions lead conservationists astray.
The Desert Pharmacy by A natural pharmacopoeia for you in the Sonoran Desert.
The Hard Life of a Desert Giant by Saguaros cope with their natural challenges or die.
The Sacred Datura by Thornapple, Moon Lily, Jimsonweed, Whatever.
Tree Growth and Pruning by How to prune Sonoran Desert trees.
What Does CAM Mean to Your Cacti? by My cactus grows very well, thanks to CAM.
Wildflowers, Weeds and Wildfires by Let’s be part of the solution, not the problem.
Archaeology in the Northern Periphery by Are we in danger of “using up” the Desert Foothills?
Rock Art Call Waiting from 2000 BC by Communicating through the eons.
Illustration from Just How Steep Is That Trail?
Bag-It by Be a special hiker - carry a plastic bag with you.
Desert Appreciation by Personally enjoying the beautiful Sonoran Desert.
Just How Steep Is That Trail? by A geometry primer applied to hiking.
Take a Hike! by Commune with nature in our most uniquely beautiful desert.
The Hare and the Tortoise by Pace hiking.
Who Goes There? by Tracking wildlife.
Desert Awareness Committee Hike 2010