While COVID is not necessarily in our rearview mirror, I am excited to announce that for the first time since 2019, several of the annual birding festivals are going to be in-person this year. If you have never attended a birding festival, I strongly recommend participating! Here are some upcoming events over the next few months:
The Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival takes place April 21 to 24 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. The park is only about an hour’s drive from Prescott, and it is a great area for birding. There is an armchair birding area, several lagoons, trails, and of course the Verde River!
There will be a variety of presentations covering topics such as Verde River ecology, birding basics, (I will be teaching a beginners class on bird identification, which includes a bird walk), wild plants, backyard birding in northern Arizona, and more! As part of the festival, there will be in-person guided bird tours across the Verde Valley, as well as in Prescott and Flagstaff. For more information, and to register for events, visit verderiver.org/birding-festival.
Here in Prescott, the Alta Vista Garden Club is hosting its biennial Garden Tour on Saturday June 4 from 8 a.m. to 3p.m. Tickets are $20 and go on sale April 1 and are available at Jay’s Bird Barn. This self-guided tour features five local gardens, each with a slightly different take on four-season gardening.
On the day of the tour, programs, maps and wristband IDs will be available from 8 a.m. to 11a.m. at the flagpole at the Prescott Yavapai College campus, 1100 Sheldon St. Wristbands will be required for admission to the gardens. Members of the Alta Vista Garden Club will be in the gardens to answer questions and to lead discussions. For more information, visit their website at altavistagardenclub.org.
The International Hummingbird Society is hosting its annual Hummingbird Festival at the Sedona Performing Arts Center on the campus of Sedona Red Rock High School. The mission of the Hummingbird Society is to “teach people about hummingbirds, and they will understand them better; and from that understanding and caring, will come to support their protection.”
The festival takes place July 29 to 31, and includes three days of presentations by hummingbird experts from around the world. The festival includes self-guided hummingbird garden tours, a hummingbird banding demonstration, a hummingbird Market Place (Jay’s Bird Barn will be a vendor), birding trips, a gala dinner and food concessions. For more information, visit their website at http://www.hummingbirdsociety.org.
The summer session for the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival takes place Wednesday Aug. 3rd through Saturday Aug. 6th in Sierra Vista, and is headquartered at the Cochise College Library Hall. Registration opens on April 1.
The festival includes a keynote dinner with a keynote speaker, vendors, exhibitors (Jay’s Bird Barn will be there), small group, car-caravan guided field trips and COVID-safe group van field trips to more remote locations. Additionally, there will be seminars and workshops. For more information, visit swwings.org.
This Saturday, April 2, our local Prescott Audubon Society Chapter is hosting a two-hour bird walk in Watson Woods. The walk is open to birders of all ages and levels. Experienced Prescott Audubon birders will lead the bird walk. Meet at the Peavine Trailhead parking area on Sundog Ranch Road. No registration is required, and everyone is welcome. Remember to purchase a parking pass.
I led a Jay’s Bird Barn bird walk to Watson Woods this past Saturday, and we had a wonderful day. We observed several examples of birds checking out nesting locations, such as northern flicker, western bluebird and northern rough-winged swallow. We also saw a lesser goldfinch building a nest in a cottonwood tree. Spring is here!
Until next week, Happy Birding!
Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn in Prescott, Arizona. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.