Thursday, April 8, 2010

Saguaro Hotel

Holes are often found in saguaros. Some are good, some are bad, some are plain ugly. The nice, small generally pecked by woodpeckers or flickers making nests. Sometimes, starlings or other birds take over the hole the following year and sometimes they move right in!

But holes that are lower down aren't usually bird nests as they don't provide the same protection. Larger holes, same deal.  So how do they get there?
Rocks make holes in saguaros. Bullets do, too. Sometimes a cold snap will freeze tissue and later in the spring or summer a black ooze starts running down.  If the saguaro is healthy, it fights off the rot - otherwise it loses limbs or it dies.
At any rate, the saguaro scabs over any cuts, scrapes or holes providing a dry nesting place, but perhaps even more importantly, offers an evened out temperature range with cooler daytime temps and less nighttime temp loss. (temperatures can vary by 30 - 40 degrees F from night to day in the desert).

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