Feasting On Saguaro Cactus Fruit   2 comments

Each spring the white-winged doves return from wintering in Mexico and the air is filled with their mating calls. The hoots and coos are so common they sometimes drown out the sounds of other birds.

White Winged Dove (1 of 1) blog

The return of the white-winged doves plays a very important role in the life cycle of the saguaro cactus. When saguaros flower, white-winged doves move from flower to flower, sipping nectar and pollinating the plant.

White-Winged Dove on Saguaro-1764 blogOnce the flowers become fruit, the doves have a new food source. The sweet fruit is filled with thousands of tiny seeds, which pass unharmed through the digestive system of the dove. If seeds are passed while the dove is perched on a tree or bush, that tree or bush might become a nurse plant to the growing saguaro. Such a plant protects the young saguaro from extreme weather and animals and greatly increases its chances of survival.

White-Winged Dove on Saguaro-1763 blogFor the Tohono O’odham, the saguaro cactus and its fruit (bahidaj) is a very important part of their heritage. The towering saguaro cactus provides both physical and spiritual sustenance for the people. With temperatures now over 100 degrees, the bahidaj is now ripening and being harvested by the Tohono O’odham.  (Images by kenne)

— kenne

White-winged Dove Abstract Art(1 of 1)-9 blogWhite-winged Dove Abstract Art by kenne

 

2 responses to “Feasting On Saguaro Cactus Fruit

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  1. Nature does amazing things to spread seeds and protect plants.

  2. Never tire of this iconic imagery! Thanks, kenne.

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