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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.

Tarantuals appear on roadways during summer rains in Sedona.

Summer Rains Sound Like Love to Arizona Tarantulas

The already-lazy traffic comes to a halt one damp afternoon in the town of Sedona, Arizona.

Two people are in the middle of the two-lane highway through town, holding up their hands to stop the cars and poking at something on the ground with their toes, ushering it slowly toward the curb. The drivers' irritation reflex begins to kick in, until they see the cause for the holdup. It's Arizona's version of the Boston children's classic Make Way for Ducklings - it's Make Way for Aphonopelma Chalcodes, better known to most of us as the desert tarantula.

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Towering ponderosa pines at West Fork, Oak Creek Canyon, Sedona, Arizona.

Ponderosa Pine and the Coconino National Forest of Arizona

As a girl raised among the dense rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, crowded with ferns, rhododendrons, and dripping with primordial mosses, my first glimpse of a Northern Arizona forest was a little disconcerting. Frankly, there just wasn't that much to it. From the roadside, all you see is a carpet of grass, lanky tree trunks spaced unsociably apart, and not much else. I was sure this was a sign of something amiss, but later learned this is just what a good stand of ponderosa pine should look like.

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Sedona Birding: Ladder-Backed Woodpecker at Bell Rock Pathway

Ladder-back WoodpeckerThere 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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