SENIOR BIRDERS VISIT ARIZONA



Senior Birders are Buzzing to Arizona

 Senior Birders will love Sierra Vista, Arizona. Located at the center of one of the finest birding areas in the United States, Sierra Vista is often referred to as “The Hummingbird Capital of the U.S.” We know that hummingbirds are small and interesting but beyond that, many people have limited information, so I wanted to provide some of the most fascinating hummingbird facts.  In truth, the hummingbird is an amazing creature.

The mild climate, proximity to Mexico and diverse habitats, including 9,000-foot mountains and the magnificent San Pedro River Valley, make southeastern Arizona a major hot spot for rare and unusual species of birds.

What Senior Doesn’t Love Hummers?

Can you think of a single individual who does not love Hummers.  Many of us senior citizens hang out our little red feeders full of red sugared water just to watch the birds come in to feed.  Tiny as they are, hummers don’t seem to fear humans, making them fun to watch and highly addictive.  Baby hummers have to eat too and mama is there to do it.

In Sierra Vista you will find White-eared, Costas, Annas, Roufous, Magnificent and more. There are at least fourteen varieties that inhabit the Sonoran Dessert in Arizona. I recently heard an Arizona desert specialist who was giving a talk ask the audience, “What do rattlesnakes and hummingbirds have in common?”  No one knew the answer.  “They live in Arizona!” he responded.

Hummingbirds are found only in the Western Hemisphere. They are fierce and fearless despite their diminutive size. When it comes to defending their nectar or sugar water feeders, you can expect the males to pursue any interlopers right out of your yard. They will not hesitate to collide with another bird. They can fly backwards and upside down if they have to.

Hummingbird Banding

When I read about banding hummingbirds, I asked myself…”How in the heck to they catch them and band them?” But they do. Researchers conduct hummingbird banding to collect study data on the migratory patterns, breeding habits and other behaviors of these incandescently colorful birds.

The two Sierra Vista locations encourage senior citizens to visit and observe researchers and licensed hummingbird banders carefully do their work.  When the summer migration of hummingbirds has begun, it is a perfect time to witness the rare treat of hummingbird banding.

Two locations in the Sierra Vista area offer senior birders the unique opportunity to see the tiniest of birds being weighed, banded, fed and released. Banding is conducted on Fort Huachuca and at the San Pedro House through the migratory season. The AZ Game and Fish Dept. has a short video with information on hummingbirds.

The good folks down in Tucson have a hummingbird project ongoing for seniors interested in increasing hummer diversity.  So buzz on down to Arizona and enjoy the thousands of hummers that are just waiting for you to come and see them.  jeb

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