To Friends Of
Cave Creek Canyon

Owls Are Us!

                                                by Helen Snyder

Great Horned Owl by Helen Snyder

Did you know that the Coronado National Forest's  Cave Creek Canyon in the Douglas Ranger District has the densest nesting population of owls measured anywhere? I studied nesting birds of prey here in 2002-2008, and of the 305 nests of raptors found in my study area  80% were owls.  Of the 11 owl species nesting here, the commonest ones are Whiskered, Elf, and Western Screech Owl, with Northern Pygmy,  Great Horned, Barn and Mexican Spotted Owl next in 
abundance. And one or more pairs each of Long-eared, Burrowing, Saw-whet and Flammulated Owls nest regularly in my study area which lies  in the Cave Creek and Silver Creek drainages and private lands east to Foothills Road.
Several of these owls are among the species birders want most. Whiskered Owls are found in the riparian and hillside forests upstream of the Visitor Information Center, and Flammulateds nest in slightly higher elevation mixed conifer forests. 
    [Whiskered Screech by Lori Conrad]     
The latter occur all through the coniferous mountain west, but the Whiskered Owls are much more a bird of the southern Sky Island region.
 If you go "owling", a responsible guide can help you find and view the birds. You can look on your own, but for the birds' sake it's best not to start playing recordings of their calls to attract them until a good hour and a half after sunset, because most of the feeding of young happens in a mad rush right away after dark, tapering off after young are full and the hunting adults won't be impacting their brood by having to stop hunting to respond  to a recording.  On one night in my study, a pair of Elf Owls delivered insect food to their brood every 45 seconds between 7:30 and 8:15!
In the 2018 final Coronado Forest Plan, the designation of the entire Cave Creek Canyon watershed was recommended as the Cave Creek Canyon Birds of Prey Zoological Botanical Area (ZBA) adding to the South Fork ZBA already in existence.  This formal designation will enable a management focus on research, birding, an d quiet recreation in this famously rich hot spot of biodiversity, beloved to so many of us whether we're birders or not.
                                                                                             [Elf Owl by Tony Donaldson]

Spotted Owl young in Cave Creek 
Canyon by RoseAnn Rowlett

9 AM - 1 PM


Many Local Experts & Exhibits

[*While supplies last]

Willow Tank Update

by Rene Donaldson

As this is being written, Willow Tank is being filled after a long dry spell to rid it of non-native, invasive bullfrogs. Go check out the water level and the new shadecloth over one blind. Look for more on Willow Tank in the next newsletter.

Larry Rivers, owner of the property, has removed most of the cattails and has substantially increased the size of the island which will now provide a safe nesting place for the birds.  Thanks Larry.  You can also see the growing willow trees planted in recent years. It is now being refilled with the pumping of water generated by solar power equipment donated by First Solar.

Visitor Information Center News

We were very happy to have Wanda and Dave Baird from Michigan and Ann and Duanne Swift from Wisconsin
 as our hosts at the VIC for January-March.  They really enjoyed their time here.

Dave was our volunteer of the month in March, narrowly beating out the most popular volunteer we have ever had - Biggie [pictured].  Dave did a magnificent job of creating the displays for our soon to be coming Display Room.  Dave is a master craftsman!

We are pleased to welcome back Steve and Laura Paulson for their fourth  hosting time at the VIC.  They even introduced a new pair of hosts for the VIC Dawn and Rich Bailey.  

Mike Jacobi is also here and is keeping everything running smoothly.  
Mike and Barney Tomberlin presided over the recent 

Also returning is the Gila Monster being held by Mike Jacobi.   Can you see the other Gila Monster? 

Mike also has been doing some 
planting  around the VIC:
Notice the fresh paint?  Former hosts Rick and Joan Schneider dropped by and offered to repaint the walls of the VIC!

On Sunday 4/7, I [Mike] was at the VIC for a few minutes and looked around and there were 6 people there in Friends of Cave Creek Canyon shirts and a visitor buying one [she didn't want to be in a picture I guess].  So we had to take a picture:

All of these are/have been hosts in the past.
Front row: Joan Schneider, Steve and Laura Paulson
Second Row: Mike Jacobi, Mike Williams, Rick Schneider

Some of The Hummingbirds of April

                                 Male Lucifer           [by Carol Comeau]

Male Costa'

[By Laura Paulson]



[by Dawn Bailey] 

 A female Blue-throated hummer came back to my house in early-March and began refurbishing an old B-Throated nest which has been unused for the last 3 years. I am happy to report that I think her eggs have now hatched.   Maya Decker

Spring Flowers

Above and below by Debb and Bud Johnson
By Lori Conrad


Emission Nebula in Auriga
With Open Cluster M38

by Rick Beno

2019 FoCCC M embers of the Board

FOCCC 2019 Officers and Board

Reed Peters         President                                         Other Board Members  
Sheri Ashley        Vice President                           Bob Ashley     Wynne Brown  
Mike Williams      Vice President 
                       Alan Craig     Rene Donaldson
Rick Beno 
Rolf Koford         Kim Vacariu
Stevie Wayman    Secretary
Ron Kaczor Cecil Williams




Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon
PO Box 16126
Portal, Arizona 85632


Visit Our Website 



Thanks to our "Sustainer's Circle" members 
for their generous support:  
Tom Arny, Bob and Bettina Arrigoni, Susan Dalby & Eskild PetersonNancy and Thomas Denney, Mary George, Bill and Sally Hague, Paul Hirt and Linda Jakse, Don Hollister, Pi Irwin and Zsombor Zoltan, Ken Jenkins, Leuthold Family Foundation,  Barbara Lounsbery,  Patrick McNamara, John and Karin McQuillan, Barbara and Pete Miller, Patricia Parran, Tom Roseman and Paula Baldwin, Delia Scholes, Donald and Martha Squire and Bob and Sherry Zoellick.

Please support our Business Members  who  have given generously to Friends Of Cave Creek Canyon.  Without their assistance, we would be hard pressed to accomplish our goals. Click on their names to check out their websites.    
                 Cave Creek Ranch                           Chiricahua Desert Museum
             Naturalist Journeys, LLC                               Orchid Davis   
                 Sky Island Rolfing                                         Wynne Brown 
                  Chiricahua Gallery                                   Ol' Morani Ranch
                  Casa Petra Vera                                    Ed Newbold Wildlife Artist
                     Quailway Cottage                                    Sky Island Lodg                               The George Walker House                          Painted Pony Resort
Portal Peak Store and Lodge                               Daussin & Associates
              Ski Island Grill & Grocery                              Gardenwerks 
Business Memberships start at just $50.00!