Eagles and Elves…

a-to-z-letters-e

You’re probably wondering what eagles could possibly have to do with elves in the Sonoran Desert.  Well…they both live in the Sonoran Desert!

Yes, we do have eagles that fly overhead, but the eagle I’m referring in this post is the eagle claw cactus.  I’m not sure how it got that name – maybe because the cactus spines like similar to an eagle’s claw?

Eagle_claw_cactus_flower_bloom

This cactus is a native plant of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico areas.  It varies in color from grayish-green to bluish-gray, and reaches a maximum size of about 45 centimeters tall by 20 centimeters wide. The body of the cactus is made up of curving sections that twist around it, and will have up to 10 spines protruding from each areole. The spines are pretty looking – they vary in color from pink, to gray, to brown.  The eagle claw cactus usually blooms in June, and its flowers range in color from pink to magenta.  One side note I discovered in my research on Sonoran Desert plants/animals whose names begin with the letter ‘e’ is that the eagle claw cactus is listed as an endangered species!

eagle claw cactus 1

On to the elves!  The Elf Owl, that is.  🙂  This little creature lives in the southwestern United States and Mexico. It’s the world’s lightest owl, with a body weight of about 1.4 oz. and runs in length from 4.9 to 5.7 in long.  Tiny!

Elf_Ow_Cropped_very_small

Elf Owls usually live in abandoned, north-facing woodpecker cavities in Saguaro cacti, sycamores, cottonwoods, and other hardwood trees, to raise their young.  They feed mainly on insects, such as moths and other flying buggies.  I think they’re cute – what do you think?

Elf_owl_puffed

So what did I learn along the way of writing this post?  That even cactus can become endangered!  Who would have thought that?  🙂

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Joe Owens
    Apr 08, 2013 @ 17:45:44

    That certainly is a tiny owl. I have never heard of this cactus. I will be back to expand my knowledge with the help of your informative posts!

    Reply

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