bchb0008wlConcerned customers ask me every spring whether hummingbird numbers are down this year compared to last year. I personally feel that this year’s hummingbird numbers are pretty much right where one would expect them to be for this time of year. Remember, the peak season for hummingbirds is late August and early September.

Arizona is considered the hummingbird capital of the United States – particularly southeastern Arizona. Here in the Central Highlands of Arizona, we get several varieties of hummingbirds including Anna’s, black-chinned, broad-tailed, rufous and occasionally calliope and Costa’s.

Many people have difficulty identifying hummingbirds because hummingbirds rarely sit still long enough for you to get a really good look at them. Adding to the challenge is the fact that there is typically a significant difference between male and female plumage. For identification assistance, I invite you to check out the hummingbird images we have on our online bird guide at www.jaysbirdbarn.com.

A wonderful way to learn more about these delightful flying jewels is to attend the annual Hummingbird Festival which is this Saturday, June 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Flagstaff Arboretum. Jay’s Bird Barn is one of the sponsors of this event. I will be there all day along with Dena Greenwood, the manager of our Sedona store.

Here is a brief run-down on some of the scheduled events:

• Arizona Game and Fish Department will have an information booth with the theme “Basic Hummingbird Watching for the Family.”

• From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Northern Arizona Audubon chapter will be providing activities for children.

• At 10 a.m. and again at 3 p.m. Ross Hawkins, founder and president of the Hummingbird Society, will give a presentation titled “Hummingbirds: The Most Magical Birds in the World.”

• At 11 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. there will be a guided garden tour presented by ecologist Gwen Waring. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn about native plants that are effective in attracting hummingbirds to your yard.

• At noon and again at 2 p.m. Arizona Game and Fish Department representatives from Adobe Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will be providing a wildlife program.

• At 4 p.m. Michael Neubauer will be presenting a class titled “Capturing Hummingbird Images” which should be very informative and helpful to those who are trying to learn how to photograph hummingbirds.

Saturday’s event is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn from the experts on how to attract birds to your yard – more specifically, hummingbirds. We have this conversation here at the bird store over and over again. When you want to attract birds to your yard, you may think it easy to put up a feeder here or there, but there really is a lot more to it than just putting out some feeders.

The most important thing you can do to attract wild birds to your yard is to create an inviting habitat – a habitat full of life – with a variety of flowering, nectar-producing and berry-producing trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and grasses. A yard full of decorative rock is not inviting to wild birds, as you need to create a habitat.

If you have never been to the Flagstaff Arboretum, the Hummingbird Festival is a good excuse to go. While there, you can purchase drought-tolerant plants that hummers love, and there will be vendors present with a selection of feeders, books and hummingbird related items. For more information on Saturday’s event, and for directions, visit the arboretum website at www.thearb.org.