What’s Happening in the Sonoran Desert in February & March?

What’s Happening in the Sonoran Desert in February & March?

Want to know what’s happing in the Sonoran Desert? Go outside and walk around to see for yourself!  Of course you can always check here first.

February & March are the months of emergence, long nights are getting shorter and short days and getting longer. The Sonoran Desert soaks in the energy from the sun and if charged from El Niño rains – like this year-  the ground is hirsute with green annuals beginning to burst with spring colors!

The Sonoran Desert is a spectacle of life and birds from across the western North American continent migrate through or hang out in the diverse geography of the region.


Flora: Brittlebush (Encilia farinosa)

  • Brittlebush is an important, short lived perennial, supremely adapted to drought conditions and a provider of cover, and energy resources for desert animals, from pollinating bees and harvester ants, to seedeating sparrows and finches.
  • Enjoy the springtime show of yellow flowers and silvery leaves cascading in globular form across the rocky slopes of the Santa Catalina and Tucson Mountains. 

Fauna: Phainopepla (Silky Flycatcher)

  • Contrary to their family name, silky flycatcher, the phainopepla primarily eats berries and has a very strong territorial relationship with the desert mistletoe.
  • Phainopeplas have a long tail, red eyes, and white patched wings. The males are distinguished by the feather crest on their heads while the females and immature males are gray in color.
  • Their prefered habitat includes arid scrubs and they are often seen in mesquite brushlands. When it’s time to incubate their eggs, both the males and females tend to their young. 

Weather & Climate: Winter to Spring

  • Winter in the desert is mild. Temperature fluctuations throughout the day are noticeable as the chilly nights are followed by sunny and warm afternoons.
  • Winter is also a time to welcome a few days of light, fast moving, cold winter rains originating in the Gulf of Alaska. In parts of Mexico the cool even quaility of winter rains are called las equipatas or “little packages”. Las equipatas can bring snow to high elevations and even the valley bottoms like what happend on February 22, 2019 in Tucson!
  • In February, the average high is 65° F and the average low is 35° F.
  • In March, the average high is 72° F and the average low is 44° F.

Community & Culture:  What’s happening in Tucson?

  • The Tucson Festival of Books – is one of the finest book festivals in the United States and is a nexus for local authors and issues that matter to us in the Sonoran Desert Borderlands. ITE will have a presence at the National Parks pavilion in front of the UA main library March 2 & 3. Please stop by and visit us, as well as our National Park partners!
  • ITE youth will be leading tours of the Chuk-son Trail.

Know of other natural events happening this month?? Share them with us on Social media or shoot us an email at admin@ironwoodtreeexprience.org.

-Happy Exploring Everyone –