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Critters Abound in the Gardens

Joanne Winer

July 18th, 2006

Celia’s Rainbow Gardens may not have many human visitors during the heat of the summer but there are still lots of critters to keep us company as we water every week.

Last week while watering, we saw many kinds of lizards in the Gardens, coming out of their holes in the ground and from around the trees to get some of the water we were putting on the trees and plants. There was one huge white lizard that just stood still while I sprayed near him (or her) and seemed to like the shower.

In one of the big trees near the fountain, there are a family of desert rats living and each time I spray the water on the aloes surrounding the trees, they come out of their holes beneath the tree and run for the other side of the little wash to hide under another one.

They are pretty small so must be this year’s babies. As much as I hate rats, they are kind of cute in their own way.

We also see many rabbits out there, hiding under the bushes and waiting for us to put out the water around the trees. They tend to eat the cacti sometimes, which is very frustrating, but they are so cute that its hard to stay mad about it.

Around dusk, when we water, there are dozens of quail cooing all around us and you can often see them running like the dickens across the trails, usually two adults and lots of little ones heading for the fountain where they can get water anytime or to the ponds we have for them.

The pond also provides water for the many kinds of birds that nest in the cacti and trees. You can see them swooping down — vultures, hawks, cactus wrens, cowbirds, doves, and even hummingbirds keep us entertained with their songs and soaring wings while we just look in awe at them.

Ground squirrels are abundant and of course there are the snakes and scorpions that we have to watch for when walking anywhere in the Gardens.

We even hear the haunting cry of the coyotes who live there in the northern part of the Gardens when they are getting ready to hunt for their young.

Celia’s Rainbow Gardens are located in Quartzsite, Ariz.