• Montezuma Peak

    Coronado

    National Memorial Arizona

Animals

Mountain Lion walking in the grass

Mountain Lion.

(NPS photo)

A look at distribution maps of several animal classes – reptiles, birds, and mammals, for example – shows Coronado sitting at the center of a unique biological vortex. Here, four major biological provinces intersect: the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, and the Sierra Madre and Rocky Mountains. The result is an ecological melting pot where species richness is much greater than it would be within one province alone. Some of that richness includes a dozen species of hummingbirds, the coatimundi and javelina, and many reptiles – among them female whiptail lizards that reproduce without benefit of males.

At night, the grasslands hum with the scurryings and diggings of an abundant assortment of mammals – pygmy mice, pocket mice, grasshopper mice, harvest mice, deer mice, kangaroo rats, woodrats, skunks, coyotes, and ringtails. White-tailed deer, Montezuma quail, whiskered screech owls, and cottontail rabbits are common denizens of the oak woodlands and piñon–juniper forests.

Did You Know?

Montezuma Canyon in the snow, Coronado National Memorial

Coronado was searching for the ‘Seven Cities of Cibola’ when he began is expedition in 1540. What does Cibola mean? It is most likely a Spanish corruption of (She Wo No)- Land of the Zuni.