The title for my column last week was, “Are the hummers back?” I received many comments on my column, including the following funny story from one of our customers on the very day my column was published in The Daily Courier.
“I read your article this morning with a little skepticism thinking another couple of weeks would be just fine for putting out my hummingbird feeders. This afternoon, my wife and I were chatting at our breakfast nook table when I looked out the window and noticed a hummingbird land in my front yard’s honey locust tree. It soon flew through our covered front porch area where I normally hang my feeders only to fly off disappointed. I’m sure he gave me a dirty look as he flew by our window. Darn, I should have followed your advice! I’ve got a feeder out now, but still owe our hummingbird visitor an apology.”
This past week, I followed my own advice and put out two hummingbird feeders—one in the front yard, and one in the backyard. While I haven’t yet seen any hummers at the feeders, it is just a matter of time. Unfortunately I’m not home very much during the day, so I might have a hummer and not even realize it.
The month of February is when registration opens up for several spring birding festivals. In April, the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival will be celebrating its 19th year. The festival runs April 25-28 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. I encourage you to visit their website at VerdeRiver.org/Birding-Festival to register for some of the many wonderful bird walks and educational classes they offer.
As an organization, Jay’s Bird Barn has been affiliated with the Verde Valley festival since 2005. It is one of my favorite venues. We camp at the State Park, and before and after the vendor tent opens each day we spend all of our free time birdwatching. We also help with bird walks and teach classes on bird identification and optics. We also sponsor the Welcome Reception.
There are two birding festivals coming up in May. The first is the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival in Sierra Vista, Arizona May 1-4. This festival is actually held twice a year—in May, and again during the first week of August. Spring birding in southern Arizona is really amazing. There are so many specialty birds found in southeastern Arizona. I love birding in southern Arizona and attend the summer festival every year as an optics vendor. For more information, check out their website at www.swwings.org.
The second birding festival in May is the Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival in Cortez, Colorado which runs May 8-12. This will be our third year attending this event, and we will be assisting with a guided a bird walk. We will also be teaching a class on optics—specifically digi-scoping. Digi-scoping is the hobby of nature and wild bird photography using a spotting scope in conjunction with either an iPhone or a SLR digital camera.
This year’s keynote speaker at the Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Festival is Noah Strycker, who is only 32 years old! Strycker is the Associate Editor of Birding magazine, and is the author of four books about birds.
In 2015, Strycker set a world Big Year record by seeing 6,042 species in one year—that is more than half of the birds on Earth! His 2017 book, Birding Without Borders, relates his experience in 2015 as he visited 41 countries and all seven continents! Wow, that would be my dream come true!
Until next week, Happy Birding!
Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with two locations in northern Arizona – Prescott and Flagstaff. 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.