Format: Softcover, 186 pages
Publisher: University of Arizona Press, September 1993
Join author John Alcock on a tour of the Sonoran Desert and a trek along Usery Peak and Superstition Mountain in southeastern Arizona as he offers his observations of this remarkable desert ecosystem and its environs. In a series of essays, Alcock, a zoology professor at Arizona State University in Tempe and the author of several works on the Sonoran Desert, describes his encounters with saguaro cactus, kangaroo rats, army ants, termites, gnatcatchers, towhees, coyotes, black bears, warblers, and other flora and fauna and their behaviors and roles in the desert ecosystem. He discusses the history of settlement and growth in Arizona and the hostility of Anglo settlers toward Native Americans, which virtually destroyed the Arizona Apaches.
The masked bobwhite, he reminds us in one essay, was hunted to extinction in Arizona at the beginning of the century. Not so long ago, however, a bird watcher traveling in Mexico spotted a few being raised for enchilada stuffing, bought the lot, and reintroduced them to the Southwest, where they are now making a comeback. Alcock is not kind to ranchers, whom he faults for causing ecological damage by grazing livestock on deserts and other public lands and for failing to understand the precarious balance of the desert. All readers will easily identify with Alcocks love of this land and wish they were there.