The calendar shows that it is officially spring! This means it is time to prepare for spring migration. Already I have received reports from customers of some very early sightings of migratory birds, such as rufous and black-chinned hummingbirds.
A sure sign of spring in our yard is the ravens working on their nest. We have a large ponderosa pine tree in our yard that the ravens use every year. This week I have observed them bringing sticks to the nest, so they are making preparations for egg laying and brooding.
A customer caught pictures this past Saturday of a Bald Eagle at Lynx Lake, breaking branches off of a ponderosa pine, presumably to carry them to its nest. While it is likely its mate is already sitting on eggs, the only explanation I can come up with for the branch breaking is perhaps the nest needed some repairs as a result of the high winds we have been experiencing lately.
There are several birding and nature festivals coming up of which you may want to take advantage. Close to home, we have the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. The festival is April 26-30.
This popular festival includes guided bird walks, workshops, vendors and exhibitors. Registration is required to participate, so I encourage you to Google the festival name to access the schedule and registration information.
A few weeks later is the Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival in Sierra Vista. They host a Spring Fling, May 2-5. It’s a great opportunity to visit the unique ‘Sky Island’ ecosystem of southeastern Arizona. Birdwatching in the Huachuca and Chiricahua Mountains — as well as in Sonoita and Patagonia — is a rich and rewarding experience. There are many species of birds that occur in this part of the United States that you will not see anywhere else in the country, such as the elegant trogon.
Southwest Wings will host a second birding festival in August, during monsoon season, when fall migration is underway. I encourage you to Google this festival by name to access registration information.
Also in May is the Ute Mountain Mesa Verde Birding Festival in Cortez, Colorado. This festival is May 9-13. Attending this festival in Southwestern Colorado will result in different bird species than the other two festivals. Again, Google the festival name to access the website with more information.
Jay’s Bird Barn will be present as a vendor at all three festivals, and we will be guiding bird walks and teaching workshops for the Verde Valley Festival.
Earth Day celebrations will be taking place in both Prescott and Sedona on Saturday, April 21, and we will have a booth at the courthouse plaza in Prescott and at Red Rock State Park in Sedona for this one-day event.
The Highlands Center for Natural History, also in Prescott, will be having a special event on Saturday, May 12, to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. I will share more information on this event as it gets closer.
Tonight (Thursday, March 22) is the Prescott Audubon Society’s monthly membership meeting at 7 p.m., at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 630 Park Ave., Prescott. Ryan O’Donnell, a senior research biologist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, will talk about amphibians, reptiles and mammals in Yuma County. The event is free and refreshments will be served. I hope to see you there.
Until next week, Happy Birding!
Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, with three locations in northern Arizona – Prescott, Sedona 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.