While the monolithic saguaro cactus, stretching its arms to the blue desert sky might well be the most popular emblem of the Sonoran desert, you won't see any saguaros around Sedona, at least not in the wild. Most of red rock country is too high in elevation for the saguaro, but not so for Arizona's other well-known cactus, the prickly pear. They're tolerant of many different soils and climates, which is why you'll see it all over the state. Prickly pear flourish in the hot dry Sonoran desert and mingle with the pine trees at up to 9000 feet in the high country.
Sedona Wildlife and Natural History
Animals, Birds, Reptiles and Amphibians, Insects, and Plants of Sedona and the Verde Valley
Learn all about wildlife, including birds, trees, plants, and flowers, common to Sedona and the surrounding area. The natural history of the Sedona and the Verde Valley is unique, with the riparian green-belt of Oak Creek attracting a surprising diversity of animals and birds.
Walk outside to take out the trash or just enjoy some time in your backyard, and depending on what part of the country you're in, you never know what you're going to see. Usually, it's something funny with the neighbors, or maybe something more interesting.
The northern cardinal is a common bird around Sedona, Arizona, but generally rare in the Western states. Sedona is in the far northern part of its range in Arizona. In fact, most cardinals in the USA are only found East of the Rockies.
A short day trip from Sedona, area visitors can venture into the high desert wilds of Northern Arizona to find prairie dog colonies, referred to as "towns." These cuddly-looking little "dogs" peer curiously above their burrows, always on the lookout for danger and signaling their clan through a variety of chirps and calls. Endearing to watch, they love to hug and kiss (literally!), and exhibit a complex yet fascinating lifestyle while benefiting over a hundred other wildlife species.
There it was. A loud, distinctive, and short “peek” directly overhead. Then another and then several in a row: what birders refer to as the “rattle call.” The glare of the afternoon sun made it a little difficult to look up in the direction of the sound, but after a bit of repositioning, there he was — busy working at a small hole in the skeleton of what appeared to be a pinyon pine.
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