white winged dove feeding on a saguaro

Dove on Saguaro

The saguaro cactus, an icon of the American West, is protected in the Saguaro National Park which was established in 1933.  In addition to this giant cactus, the park protects and preserves a multitude of Sonoran Desert plants and wildlife.  The 15-minute video, “Voices of a Desert,”shown at the Red Hills Visitor Center set a respectful tone for our visit.  We learned that the saguaro flower only lasts 24 hours and produces as many as 2,000 seeds.  During one saguaro’s lifetime, however, maybe no more than one seed will grow to maturity.  White winged doves were prevalent during our visit and taking advantage of the flowering saguaros.   We watched one stick its beak deep into a saguaro flower as we started our half mile walk to the Valley View Overlook.  This was one of several hikes off the five mile unpaved Bajada loop drive.  We also walked the Desert Discovery Trail and the Cactus Garden Trail near the visitor center.  The Saguaro National Park is a great place to see saguaro cacti, no two are alike.