129189aA few weeks ago a customer walked into the store with a bath towel in her hands, and I knew instantly that there was probably something very special wrapped up inside the towel. She had been driving on Rosser when she saw a bird in the road that had been hit by a car. She stopped and rescued the bird and brought it to the Bird Barn.

What she rescued was indeed very special – it was a cedar waxwing, a small songbird weighing just over one ounce. Cedar waxwings have several distinctive field marks including a crest, a black mask across the face and a waxy substance on its wing and tail feathers.

This little bird unfortunately had lost all of its tail feathers in the mishap.

While we specialize in helping individuals attract wild birds to their yards, we are not licensed with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to provide rehab for injured or orphaned wildlife. I needed to find a home for this poor bird, so I made a call out to the Heritage Park Zoological Sanctuary. I explained the situation, and I was cheerfully told to bring the bird out to the zoo.

I appreciate the willingness of the staff and volunteers at the zoo to provide care for injured wildlife. We are fortunate to live in a community where there is so much concern devoted to the preservation of habitat and the wildlife that calls this area home.

Another example of caring community members is the Prescott Audubon Society’s program to provide bird seed to care centers in the Prescott area – at no charge to the facilities. Many of the residents who live in these longterm care facilities enjoy watching birds. Members of the Prescott Audubon Society donate money to the local Audubon chapter so they can purchase birdseed for the care centers! There are also times when community members who know about the care center birdfeeding program stop by our store to buy a bag of bird seed and donate it to the Audubon Society.

There are many opportunities in Prescott where individuals can learn about the natural history that surrounds us. Whether you are interested in astronomy, or botany, or geology, or ornithology or any other number of ‘ologies,’ there are several non-profit organizations dedicated to the education of community members on topics such as these. Organizations such as the Highlands Center for Natural History, the Prescott Audubon Society and Prescott Creeks Preservation Association bring value to our community and are real treasures in our community.

However, sometimes the treasures in our community are not organizations, but rather individuals. For example, Prescott resident Bonnie Pranter has been teaching community education courses at the Yavapai College campus in Prescott for over 26 years! So many lives have been touched by Bonnie. Her passion for nature – particularly birds – has resulted in hundreds, if not thousands, of people developing a personal connection with nature.

In April, Bonnie will be teaching yet another class at the college titled, “Introduction to Birding.” The class will help individuals learn about the hobby of finding, observing and enjoying the birds in the Prescott area, as well as learning how to use binoculars and field guides, and learn bird identification tips, and much more.

The class is a mixture of in-classroom instruction as well as field trips. The classes are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8 to 11 a.m. and begins April 14 and ends April 23. To register, go to www.yc.edu/commed or call 717-7755 to register by phone.

Until next week, Happy Birding!