One of the things I like about living in the desert is that I'm fairly close to the Living Desert!
The Living Desert is in Palm Desert, CA and is a combination desert botanical garden and zoo that specializes in desert-dwelling critters. The place started with North American animals, but has expanded to include many African species as well.
One activity I enjoy is "Wildlife Wonders," which is something like a trained animal act. However, the critters don't do cutesy, anthropomorphic tricks. They're trained to do things they normally do in nature, only they do these things on cue.
My favorites in this show are the raptors, or birds of prey: owls, hawks, eagles. I've inserted photos of three birds I've used, or intend to use, in my paintings of the desert. From left to right: Sundance the redtail hawk, Hudson the Harris' hawk, and Olympia the golden eagle. (So far, only Sundance hasn't appeared in a painting -- but she will some day!)
If you'd like to learn more about, or visit, the Living Desert, their Website URL is: http://www.livingdesert.org.