Rain last fall, winter and spring changed the face of the desert. The drought was broken. Old plants grew bigger; new plants emerged; and wildflowers and grasses carpeted what had otherwise been nearly bare sand for years. The increase in vegetative matter meant more food for foraging animals. Insect, lizard, rodent and rabbit populations have exploded in size and variety. And that increase has in the last three months been followed in our neighborhood by the new, persistent presence of higher order predators (as well as increase in the coyotes that we always see, or more accurately, hear) that we had not previously seen.

A pair of Western Screech owls have taken up residency in our neighbor Miguel’s tree canopy, and often show themselves in daylight. Here’s two pictures from Miguel:

We’re also seeing a Cooper’s Hawk on patrol in the area in mornings and afternoons. Miguel was able to get this photo:

About Jay Babcock

I am the co-founder and editor of Arthur Magazine (2002-2008, 2012-13) and curator of the three Arthur music festival events (Arthurfest, ArthurBall, and Arthur Nights) (2005-6). Prior to that I was a district office staffer for Congressman Henry A. Waxman, a DJ at Silver Lake pirate radio station KBLT, a copy editor at Larry Flynt Publications, an editor at Mean magazine, and a freelance journalist contributing work to LAWeekly, Mojo, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Vibe, Rap Pages and many other print and online outlets. An extended piece I wrote on Fela Kuti was selected for the Da Capo Best Music Writing 2000 anthology. In 2006, I was one of five Angelenos listed in the Music section of Los Angeles Magazine's annual "Power" issue. In 2007-8, I produced a blog called "Nature Trumps," about the L.A. River. Today, I live a peaceful life in the rural wilderness of Joshua Tree, California, where I am a partner in with Stephanie Smith.
This entry was posted in birds, Cooper's Hawk, weather, Western Screech Owl, wildlife corridor and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Philip Miller says:

    We’ve seen hawks, and owls on Yucca Mesa plus a few feather piles.

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