Just found out that my city, Rancho Mirage, has three “official mascots”. Seems appropriate; flora and fauna surround us and in some cases live among us. So it must have been difficult to select only three to single out for the honor. Roadrunners jet through my garden. Coyotes skulk along the Whitewater Wash. Jack Rabbits cavort under Smoke Trees. Chuckwallas and all types of other lizard family creatures can be seen feasting in the spring on flowering desert bushes. But indeed three of our natural world have been nominated, vetted and finally after much deliberation given the distinction of being worthy of “official” status by our august leaders.
The official Rancho Mirage flower is none other than the Desert Sunflower that carpets vast areas and sets the horizon ablaze with a golden glow. Popular with the birds and the bees these February through May boomers are a common sight in the California Desert.
Our bird, which is crazy about the Desert Sunflower, is none other than the Cactus Wren. At 6.4 inches in length the Cactus Wren is the largest bird of its type in the U.S. It’s distinctive low raspy cha, cha, cha, cha, cha can be heard on hikes and from the patios of our resorts.
The most coveted distinction goes to our largest mammal – drum roll please – the Bighorn Sheep. In fact we are so enamored of this magnificent desert denizen that we built a multi-million dollar fence to keep them from wandering across Highway 111 and getting clobbered by motorists. Believe me a Big Horn Sheep can ruin a Bentley. Since the Big Horn Sheep lends its proud profile to our City logo we take a keen interest in their preservation. Hard to see this magnificent creature in the wild, but a visit to The Living Desert where there is a small herd that can be seen every day of the week.