Pinyon Pine/Juniper Zone

Animals

Pinyon JayPinyon Jays: Unlike the other jays from this area, pinyon jays travel in large flocks of dozens to hundreds of birds. An expandable esophagus allows each bird to carry up to 40 seeds at a time back to an area where the flock caches them, sticking them into the ground or into crevices. The birds consume the cached seeds over the winter, and feed them to their chicks in the early spring. Although they prefer pinyon seeds, these flocks will range throughout the other three life zones searching for other conifer seeds when the pinyon crop is low.

Hopi RattlesnakeHopi Rattlesnake: This is a small subspecies of the prairie rattlesnake. These two males were wrestling for territory on the trail to Red Mountain. These snakes feed on mice, birds, and lizards, and are found at elevations from 4,000 to 9,000 feet.

 

 

Eastern Collared LizardEastern Collared Lizard: These lizards range from 1,400 to 8,500 feet in elevation, and eat insects, spiders, lizards, and even small snakes. Found in dry, open regions, the collared lizard is also found in other parts of Arizona, Missouri, Texas, and California. Collared lizards are known for their ability to run on their hind legs.

 

Common RavenCommon Raven: These birds are usually found singly or in pairs, rarely in flocks. They are omnivores and are famous for stealing food away from unwary hikers. The common raven is found all over the Northern Hemisphere. Young ravens travel in flocks, but older ravens mate for life, with each duo defending a territory.

 

 

Trees
Pinyon pine
Pinyon Pine: Pinyons are the only pines in Northern Arizona that exhibit "masting", the production of a very heavy cone crop in some years, and few or no cones in others. Pinyon trees yielded pinyon nuts which were a staple of Native American diets on the Colorado Plateau.

 

One-seed juniperOne-Seed Junipers: These trees are tough, drought-resistant, and well-distinguished from the Utah Juniper by having separate male and female trees, as well as branching upward from ground level.

 

 

Utah juniperUtah Juniper: These junipers have male and female cones on the same plant, and usually have a branchless trunk, rather than branching from ground level. Utah Juniper bark is very similar to one-seed juniper bark.

 

 

Flora
Agave parryiAgave parryi

Parry’s Agave is only found in the southwest U.S. and Mexico above 4,000 feet. Many Agave species are monocarpic meaning they flower once in their lifetime and then die. Agaves are widely cultivated and used to make tequila and mescal. The hearts of the plant are roasted and eaten.

 

Echinocereus engelmanniiEchinocereus engelmannii
Engelmann's Hedgehog Cactus is typically found below 5,000 feet. It produces purple flowers from February to May and edible fruit that is said to taste like strawberry.