Early on a summer morning, a white-winged dove uses its tongue to eat from deep within the fruit of a saguaro. The red covering many of the spines atop the cactus is not blood but rather pulp and juice from already-eaten fruit.
The skies on the 4th of July exploded in color as a white-winged dove fed from fruit bursting at the seams atop a saguaro. Taken early in the morning along the Latigo Trail in McDowell Sonoran Preserve.
The sun was up and shining on the tops of the saguaros but when this white-winged dove dropped down to feed on the fruit on a lower arm I was able to photograph it in the soft reflected light. The full sun arrived seconds later. Taken on July 4th while the saguaro were fruiting and the white-wings still flew above the desert.
This ocotillo had just started leafing out in the middle of July with the arrival of summer thunderstorms in the Sonoran Desert. The white-winged dove perched in the morning light is one of thousands I have seen, they are not only the bird I see most in our backyard but out in the desert as well, never more so when seemingly one or two or three were atop every saguaro as they devoured the ripening fruit. But after a self-imposed two week ban to allow a knee to heal, I returned to the trails twice last weekend and didn’t see a single one. Not one!
From what I’ve read, the white-wings arrived in the desert about the time I did and will be leaving this fall. So I suppose in a month or so they will be gone from our backyard as well. The smaller mourning doves and much smaller Inca doves will appreciate it, the larger white-wings are more aggressive, but our cats and I will miss them.