Flowers for Bats campaign

Agave flowering seems to be finally decreasing throughout Southeastern Arizona. In the Catalina Mountains, agave flowers have dried up and the plants now have many fruit capsules on their branches (see photo at right from Molino Basin, taken by technician Camille McCollum).

In the Vail area, observers are still reporting open flowers in Agave palmeri . Keep watching your agave plants until all the flowers have dried up! Your final "no" observation for flowers or flower buds and open flowers is important for pinpointing when flowering ended.

In other news, the Lesser Long-nosed Bat Post-delisting Monitoring Plan that includes our Forage Phenology Monitoring Protocol is now out for public comment until October 2nd. After comments have been addressed, the plan will be finalized and used to guide monitoring efforts over the next 15 years.
What you are reporting on saguaro and agave
You are reporting on columnar cacti and agave at 60 sites so far this year in Southeastern Arizona, and 70 sites across the Southwest.

In addition to our backyard observers, we have many partners who have submitted data this year, including Tohono Chul, Tumamoc Hill, Borderlands Restoration, Tucson Botanical Garden, University of Arizona Campus Arboretum, Watershed Management Group, Leslie Canyon NWR, Buenos Aires NWR, Kartchner Caverns State Park, and Saguaro NP.

Thank you for your efforts!
Sites reporting on cacti and agave in 2019 in Southeastern Arizona. Colors correspond to the names of the species at the top. Darker colors indicate more observations submitted.
The first round of saguaro flowering and fruiting has mostly ended across Southeastern Arizona. Saguaro can also have a second round of flowering and fruiting in the fall, which are reflected in reports of flowering in the past several weeks.
You reported that the proportion of saguaros with open flowers peaked this year around the beginning of May. Ripe fruits peaked in July.
American century plant ( Agave americana ) was the first to have open flowers in Southeastern Arizona, beginning in May. Palmer's century plant ( Agave palmeri ) had open flowers starting in early June, with Parry's agave ( Agave parryi ) starting shortly after.
Your reports shows that the proportion of Parry's agave with open flowers peaked in late June, while open flowers on Palmer's century plant peaked in late July.
Keep an eye out for a second round of saguaro flowering over the next couple months. We'll take a look at your reports in our next message, and also look at how this year stacked up to last year for flowering of columnar cacti and agave flowering.

Don't hesitate to contact with any questions!

Thank you for your contributions to this important project!
More ways to get involved
Have you ever noticed your hummingbird feeder mysteriously drained in one night? 

Your feeder might have been visited by nectar feeding bats! Learn how you can report activity at your feeder through Arizona Game & Fish's Backyard Bats: Bat and Hummingbird Feeder Study .

Photo: Lesser long-nosed bats at a hummingbird feeder, Richard Spitzer
Erin Posthumus