Mixed Conifer Zone

Animals

Clark's NutcrackerClark's Nutcracker: A relative of the jays, these birds are specialists in gathering, caching, and consuming conifer seeds. They can carry up to 70 seeds at a time in a special pouch under the tongue. Clark's Nutcrackers work in male-female pairs to raise their young and are not found in large flocks.

 

Hairy WoodpeckerHairy Woodpecker: 75 percent of the diet for these birds consist of insects and insect larvae, and they particularly like the larvae of bark beetles. Populations of these birds may thus increase dramatically in times of bark beetle infestations. They nest from late May to mid June each year in a new nest cavity, and will even try to excavate wooden siding on houses.

 

PorcupinePorcupine: Once rare, during the 1920s and 1930s porcupine populations grew so large they were considered a threat to Northern Arizona's forests. Porcupines can strip enough bark from a tree that it will grow in a deformed manner, or may even girdle a tree and, thus, kill it. Mountain lions are the main predators of porcupines, and it's thought that hunting mountain lions to near extinction caused an explosion of porcupine populations. Now that mountain lion hunting is regulated, the lion populations have rebounded, and porcupines are once again rare.

 

Trees

Mixed-Trees-Aspen-e1468970149681-150x150Quaking Aspen: These are deciduous trees that shed their leaves in winter. The leaves are broad with a flexible stem, and they will flutter with the slightest breath of wind, thus exposing most of the leaf to sunlight for photosynthesis, and protecting any one part of the leaf from overexposure.

 

Douglas Fir: These trees can be found at much lower elevations in cool, relatively dark and moist pockets, but they reach maximum numbers within the Mixed Conifer Zone. Douglas Fir cones are easily recognized by the forked tongues that stick out underneath the scales.

 

 

White FirWhite Fir: This fir will hybridize with the Cork Bark Fir, which is the common fir found at higher elevations. The relatively smooth bark of the White Fir distinguishes this tree from the Cork Bark Fir.

 

 

Flora

Antennaria parvifoliaAntennaria parvifolia
Pussytoes have male and female flowers on separate plants. Female flowers can also produce fruit without being fertilized. It makes an excellent ground cover.

 

 

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi
Kinnikinnick is a relative of manzanita and is found at high elevations in eastern Arizona. It has pink to white urn-shaped flowers that bloom from March to May and produces bright red edible berries. The leaves have been used in smoking mixtures.