I attended the city council meeting Tuesday night where the council discussed the proposed wildlife feeding ordinance. I was impressed with the thoughtful consideration the council is giving to this topic. I personally felt really good about the community’s response and the council’s desire to do what is right on this issue. A vote was not taken so that some of the wording can be tightened up.

After the meeting, I returned to the store to finish up a little work. At one point, I went to carry some trash out to the dumpster behind the store and discovered a large great-horned owl sitting up in a bare tree right behind the store. As I left the store, a Say’s phoebe was settling in for the night on its favorite roosting spot.

Having just left the council meeting where there was a lot of discussion about wild birds, I couldn’t help but reflect how incredible Prescott is in terms of birds. It is probably safe to say that more varieties of bird species have been observed in Prescott than almost any other city in the entire United States.

There is somewhere between 700 and 800 different species of birds in North America. Amazingly enough, about 370 of those species have been seen within a 10-mile radius of the courthouse plaza in downtown Prescott. This means almost half of all of the bird species found in North America have been seen right here in the Prescott area. That is just downright amazing. Prescott is the place to live if you love nature!

We are blessed to live in an area where there are so many opportunities to learn about the wildlife and plants that make the Central Highlands area of Arizona so special. Here is a list of some events coming up in the next few weeks that you might want to participate in.

• Today is the first day of the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. This annual event draws birders and nature lovers to the Verde Valley to participate in workshops and field trips. The festival runs through Sunday. For more information, visit their website at www.birdyverde.org.

• This Saturday, April 23, from 9 to 11 a.m. is the annual Granite Creek Cleanup. Prescott Creeks is hoping to have at least 500 volunteers for this event. I would recommend showing up around 8:30 so that you can get checked in, get your T-shirt, have a snack, and get your work assignment. For more information, visit their website at www.prescottcreeks.org.

• That same day, the Highlands Center for Natural History will be hosting its first ever “What you Need to Know to Grow” event. This free event includes three different classes taught by local plant experts. Registration is required. The phone number for the Highlands Center is 928-776-9550.

• On Thursday, April 28, at 7 p.m. the Prescott Audubon Society meeting will feature Landscape Architect Steve Morgan, who will talk on landscaping with an emphasis on native plants. The meeting is at Trinity Presbyterian Church located at 630 Park Avenue. The meeting is free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Prescott Audubon Society website at www.prescottaudubon.org.

• Saturday, April 30, is the Highlands Center for Natural History’s annual Native Plant Sale. This is a great opportunity to buy plants that will thrive in your yard, and require minimal watering or care once they are established. For more information, visit their website at www.highlandscenter.org.

Until next week, Happy Birding!