The Chihuahuan ravens (Corvus cryptoleucus) in this story have returned to the same nest in the Emory oak (Quercus emoryi) for years. It has been so many years I wonder if it is the same breeding pair or more likely an offspring with a mate that returns to the stomping grounds of its youth and starting the cycle over. I only hope it continues for as long as we live in our home near the banks of the ol’ guajolote for these rascal ravens are highly entertaining.
There are two species of ravens found in the borderlands of southeastern Arizona. The aforementioned Chihuahuan and the common raven. The common raven is larger, but compared to what when you see them right? The good news is that they seem to occupy different habitats. The very handy book Finding Birds in Southeastern Arizona (a must!) says common ravens are found throughout southeastern Arizona “where Chihuahuan ravens are absent.” Thank you.
The trouble with relying on Arizona Flora botanical names is that it hasn’t been updated since 1960 and nor have I. The prickle poppy discussed is Argemone pleiacantha not A. platyceras. And whereas I learned of three species in Arizona there are now nine species recognized in Arizona. Now you know and I apologize for not being more current and botanically up to date. It is in the poppy family, Papaveraceae…I believe I shouted extra vowels and consonants in my excitement. The common name is prickle poppy, though I have seen the name “cowboys fried egg” used and I doubt anyone will go for my suggestion of “sunny side up poppy” so prickle poppy it is. Anyway, you find it on old hammered agricultural land, along roads, or in fields and arroyos from 1,400’ to 8,000’ in elevation. It’s native and it is beautiful.
Some notes: the photos are mine. Can you see the two juvenile raven heads sticking out the nest? There is a wonderful book about ravens by Tucson author Lynn Hassler. The Raven, soaring through history, legend and lore, Rio Nuevo Press, so local and local. The prickle poppy photos were taken on our land.