Flowers for Bats campaign


This year's Flowers for Bats campaign has come to a close. Thank you for your efforts tracking flowering of cacti and agave!

We are thrilled to welcome our new student, McKinsey Tighe to the outreach team! You'll be hearing a lot more from her in 2024!

Read on to find out what we learned from your observations this year. Your data are making important contributions to help the USFWS understand when and where nectar sources are available for the lesser long-nosed bat, and how these nectar sources respond to changes in the environment.

We hope that you will join us again next year. Your observations made at the same sites over multiple years are especially valuable in helping us to understand the variation in flowering in cacti and agave.

Photo: Lesser long-nosed bats by Merlin Tuttle's Bat Conservation

What you reported on saguaro and agave this year

This year, 119 observers reported data at 67 sites - thank you for your efforts!

The map below shows your reports for open flowers in the two most reported Flowers for Bats species - Saguaro (triangles) and Palmer's century plants (square). You can explore this visualization here.

We had 18 local phenology programs report data on cacti and agave this year, along with 49 backyard observers. We appreciate our partners because they provide training for volunteers, bring in data from hard to reach locations, and participate in a variety of other conservation efforts related to the lesser long-nosed bat. Our backyard observers provide critical information about flowering timing across the urban to rural gradient.

In 2023, you captured a total of onsets of open flowers for saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea), desert agave (Agave deserti), Palmer's century plant (Agave palmeri), and Parry's agave (Agave parryi). This year had an unusually low proportion of open flower reports for saguaro in May. You can explore these two visualizations in further on our Flowers for Bats Campaign Dashboard.

In the past six years, saguaro flowers opened in early April, peaked in May, and ended in mid-July. There was in increase in open flowers reported in 2023 from last year, but numbers are still lower on average than previous years. You can explore this visualization here.

Agave palmeri open flowers varied more between years than did saguaro. This year had a similar peak in open flowers as 2020 and 2022. In 2023, the proportion of yes records for open flowers in July and August was higher than average. You can explore this visualization here.

As we continue to add to this dataset, we'll continue to discover patterns of when agave and saguaro have flowers, when the peak occurs, and explore how climate variables such as temperature and precipitation influence flowering phenology. 

We hope that you will join us again next year to continue reporting on your saguaros and agaves. You are helping us to learn more about when and where flowers are available for bats and other pollinators!  

Nature's notebook stickers!

Would you like a holographic nature's notebook sticker (pictured at right)? Send your mailing address to and we will mail one to you.

Thank you for your contributions to this important project, we couldn't do it without your efforts!


Samantha Brewer

Outreach Coordinator


McKinsey Tighe

Student Outreach Assistant


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