This past week I got off the couch and took advantage of the amazing weather we are having. I did some day hikes in the Prescott area. As I was enjoying the 60-degree weather, it was hard to believe it had snowed only a few days earlier in the week!
Our warm temperatures have created a unique challenge for those who feed birds in their yard. On Monday of this week, the phone was ringing off the hook. Each caller seemed to have the same question: Why do I have bees at my seed feeders? This is not an unusual occurrence when the weather turns unseasonably warm in the middle of winter. Bees, tempted by such pleasant weather, are fooled into coming out of their hives to search for food. Needless to say, in the middle of January there are no wildflowers for the bees to visit.
In an effort to procure food, bees stumble across bird feeders filled with grain – including corn. Why are bees attracted to corn? Corn has a very high sugar content (think of high-fructose corn syrup), and bees readily go after corn in an effort to get sugar.
Take heart, though, as this situation is only temporary. When we get another cold spell, the bees will go back to their hives. When spring arrives, and there is a profusion of flowers available, they will stay away from your seed feeders.
One of the many benefits of living in Prescott is the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor activities. The Community Forest Trust and the Open Space Alliance are teaming up to host a free one-day symposium on Saturday, Jan. 31, at Prescott College titled “Get Off the Couch: The University of Outdoor Recreation.”
The symposium will include exhibitors such as The Hike Shack and Star Island Motorsports. Jay’s Bird Barn will be there exhibiting optical equipment, including binoculars, scopes and tripods. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with exhibitors to learn how to choose the right equipment best to meet their needs.
Another aspect of the free symposium is a series of breakout sessions in which speakers will be talking on a variety of subjects, including wildlife tracking, kayaking and canoeing, choosing and using a GPS device for the outdoors, backpacking Central Arizona and birding Central Arizona.
Space is limited, so it is important to pre-register. The way to do this is by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Include in your email your name and the breakout sessions you want to attend.
There is another event still several months away – but it is not too early to start thinking about the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. This year’s festival runs from Thursday, April 23, through Sunday, April 26, and online registration opens on Sunday, Feb. 1. Log onto www.birdyverde.org to register. Last year’s festival logged an incredible 194 bird species in just four days!
This evening at 7 p.m., the monthly Prescott Audubon Society meeting takes place at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave. The meeting is free and open to the public. Roy Smith will be speaking about an incredible adventure he participated in – a National Geographic supported journey across the Brooks Range Mountains. The expedition skied on frozen rivers and deep snow through the Northern Taiga Forest onto the exposed Arctic Tundra – a 400-mile, 40-day journey through one of the most remote regions on the North American Continent.
Get off the couch, and, until next week, Happy Birding!