Flora and Fauna News

Sonoran Desert Edition

Monday, Apr. 23rd, 2018
Vol. 21 No. 3

Heavy Perfume Hits
Orchards and Neighborhoods



PHOENIX, Az. ----- White-winged Doves, (Zenaida asiatica), which had been trickling back into the Sonoran Desert over the past two months, have finally arrived in large numbers. These doves are considerbly larger than their year-round-resident cousins, the Mourning Doves. In flight, White-winged Doves sport a distinctive white patch about midpoint in each wing, and the tail is squared off rather than tapered.

After spending the past seven months in the warmer parts of Mexico and Central America, white-wings are ready for the onslaught of intense summer heat. Mating and nest building are the first order of business with males actively cooing their prospective mates from dawn to dusk and females searching out prospective nest sites. Within the cities white-wings can often be seen foraging in Bermuda grass lawns where they nip off tender flowering buds. In the Sonoran Desert the return of White-winged Doves coincides with the ripening of ocotillo seeds, an important natural food supply. In about two weeks the saguaro cactus will begin blooming where white-wings find another important food supply in the form of nectar and pollen. The most important food for white-wings will be the ripening saguaro fruit at the end of June; by then the white-wings' eggs will have hatched and the nestlings will demand lots of food.

The White-Winged Doves may be ready for the summer heat, but are we?

Current Weather Conditions in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, from the National Weather Service

Click for Phoenix, Arizona Forecast

Photo © Mike Plagens

Zenaida asiatica) feeds upon the seeds and fruit of the saguaro cactus (Photo taken end of June 2002).

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Flora and Fauna News, now in its 20th year of publication, appears several times
per month and provides current information about the birds, insects and plants
(natural history) living in the Arizona Sonoran Desert.
Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 2018
Send questions or comments to mjplagens@arizonensis.org

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