Desert Life: Fauna

As a realtor, I got to know the city where I lived, and as a resident I ventured into the rest of the Coachella Valley. I enjoy hiking, and here in the desert I especially enjoy the sightseeing during a hike. As it happens, Joshua Tree National Monument is just on the other side of the small mountains bordering us to the north in Desert Hot Springs. In those mountains Big Horn sheep appear in the morning and are daily sights for the morning hiker who knows which trails to roam. Quail and dove families scurry around freely. The higher you go, the grander the sights. Look back and you’ll see Desert Hot Springs behind you and Palm Springs beyond.

The ranch I live on is 40 acres and has a stream that cuts  diagonally across the land which levels out into sizable wetlands that host migrating fowl of every type. Here they have sources for water, food, shelter, and only natural predators. Keeping your cats inside helps keep those predator numbers in balance, and protects your cats from becoming prey themselves, as they are a favorite snack of coyotes and sometimes even aerial predators like hawks and owls. This unfortunate fate is also too common for small dogs and other pets whose owners abandon them in the desert or just let them run around loose. So please think twice when considering taking in a pet, remember they are part of the family, and need to be protected like family.

Each spring, ducks and other waterfowl nest in the small pools protected by desert willow trees and tamarisk trees where crows and hawks don’t see the eggs from the air. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of ducklings following their mom, learning to swim. Traffic around some of the pools can at times get confusing as lines of ducklings cross lines of baby doves and quail who definitely do not swim, and must be corralled by mom before getting to the water.

Western Tanager in Jacaranda Tree
Western Tanager in a Jacaranda Tree

Even folks who don’t live on a ranch often see quail, roadrunners, lizards, and other desert fauna right in their yards, or only a short walk away. For those who love nature sightseeing day trips, there are many nearby places great for bird and nature watching. Big Morongo Canyon Preserve is just up Highway 62, just to the west you’ll find Whitewater Preserve and to the east there is the Coachella Valley Preserve; all of these preserves are important stop overs for migratory birds as well as being great spots to find native flora. The Whitewater Preserve has even been known to have a bear wandering through on occasion, and bighorn sheep can be found in the hills surrounding the canyon through which the Whitewater River flows.


Beautiful scenery and Monarch Butterfly in Mission Creek Preserve

Yes, we do have a river flowing through the desert nearby, the Whitewater River flows through the desert as does Mission Creek, and both are a source of water for abundant wildlife. The Mission Creek Preserve is just across highway 62, about a 10 minute drive from Desert Hot Springs, and is a beautiful place to hike, especially in spring when the desert’s famous wildflowers are in bloom…but that’s a whole ‘nother post!

If you’d like to know more about what makes Desert Hot Springs so special, call me, realtor Rick Teisan, at 760-835-8363. I don’t just sell houses and commercial properties here in Desert Hot Springs, I live here and I love it. Let me show you what else there is to love about this wonderful little community where you can still enjoy open spaces and spectacular desert views!