Search Results for "hummingbird"

  • Miraculous, mysterious: Eric Moore talks hummingbirds & the Sedona Hummingbird Festival

    Jul 3, 15 • ndemarino • 5enses, FeatureNo CommentsRead More »

    By James Dungeon [Editor’s note: The following interview was culled from conversations between the reporter and  Eric Moore, owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, 1046 Willow Creek Road, No. 105, 928-443-5900, JaysBirdBarn.Com. He is one of the vendors at the Sedona Hummingbird Festival, which runs July 31 through Aug. 2 at the Sedona Performing Arts Center at Sedona Red Rock High School, 995 Upper Red Rock Loop Road, in Sedona. Tickets range from $18 for a one-day pass to $50 for a three-day pass. Find out more at HumminggbirdSociety.Org.]   What can you tell us about the Sedona Hummingbird Festival and hummingbirds in Arizona? It’s put on by The Hummingbird Society, a nonprofit based in Sedona. The first one was in 2012, if I remember correctly. I’ve been involved as a vendor since the first festival. Jay’s Bird Barn has always had a close relationship with The Hummingbird Society proper and to the festival. Arizona is the hummingbird capital of the continental U.S. One thing to keep in mind is that hummingbirds only occur in the New World. We think of them as exotic, tropical species, but they’re not in Africa, Australia, or New Zealand — places we might otherwise classify as tropical. The majority of hummingbirds are in Mexico, Central America and South America.  East of the Rockies in North America we only have one variety, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird. But,

  • Hummingbird

    By Johanna Shipley As spring days grow longer, hummingbirds begin to appear in the Central Highlands of Arizona. They return to areas where they found good food sources in years prior including nectar feeders. Some stay and nest while others simply fuel up for a longer migration. Regardless, they’re welcomed for their entertaining, pugnacious character and their beauty. Here, in this part of Yavapai County, we’re likely to see four different species — Anna’s, Black-chinned, Rufous, and Broad-tailed — while a handful of other species make rare appearances, to the delight of local birders. You can see many more species on a trip to Tucson and other points south. The bulk of the world’s roughly 325 hummingbird species are found in the equatorial tropics, but only in the Americas. Hummingbirds are remarkably suited for their nectar-loving life style. Their wings beat in a figure-eight motion which allows thrust and lift from all angles. Thusly, they can hover at flowers, fly forward, backward, sideways, and even upside down. A hummingbird matching motion with a waving flower on a windy day is a marvelous sight to behold. Their extra-long tongues lap up nectar — they don’t suck it up soda-straw fashion. However, they don’t just drink nectar. They also snap up tiny insects for protein and minerals, sometimes raiding spider webs. When it’s time to nest, those same spider webs become the

  • Bird of the Month: Hummingbirds

    By Eric Moore August is a magical time for those who enjoy watching hummingbirds. The migration route for many species goes right through Arizona’s Central Highlands. In addition to our summer residents — Anna’s, Black-chinned and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds — Rufous and Calliope Hummingbirds are also passing through. Where are they headed? Most hummingbirds that summer in North America winter in Mexico or Central America — no small feat for birds weighing only 3-4 grams. Migrating hummingbirds need increased body fat stores. You can help by putting out nectar feeders. The key to attracting a lot of hummingbirds is using feeders with six to eight feeding ports. Hang multiple feeders in close proximity to each other, and avoid feeders that leak and attract ants, bees, and wasps. ***** Eric Moore is owner of Jay’s Bird Barn, 1046 Willow Creek Road in Prescott. Contact him at Eric@JaysBirdBarn.Com

  • News from the Wilds: September 2017

    Sep 1, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris September glows in golden light, rich with scents of late summer — its sunrises are heady with the fragrance of white Sacred Datura flowers, fading into the noontime butterscotch of sun-warmed Ponderosas, and then into the dusk sweetness of bricklebush. In much of North America, September marks the beginning of the colder part of the year, with last harvests and cold nights. But in the lower latitudes, such as the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona, September is still summer, though with hints and foreshadowings of autumn. The monsoon rains usually continue into the early part of the month, tapering off eventually into glorious sunny days, with extraordinary flowering of purple four-o-clocks, asters, and morning-glories, red penstemons and Scarlet Creeper, yellow sunflowers and daisies, and the tall, strange tree-like Wright’s Thelypody (Thelypodium wrightii), with its white flowers. Insect diversity, too, continues to grow and change, with some of the largest insects of the year making their debut. Look for the large brown Rhinoceros Beetle (Xyloryctes jamaicensis), the Great Ash Sphinx Moth (Sphinx chersis), and the gigantic leaf-mimic katydids of the genus Microcentrum, as well as the harmless (though somewhat alarming) Giant Crab Spider (Olios giganteus), which is often seen in houses as temperatures fall outside. It is in this time of extraordinary plenty that many creatures begin to prepare for the coming cold season. Most of our woody plants

  • News from the Wilds: August 2017

    Jul 25, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris August susurrates with storm and shower interwoven with the cacophony of resonant thunder and the assonance of cicada song. In the high heat of summer, the monsoon rains turn the land to emerald, and it seems as though living things are everywhere. Many mammals are teaching their young to forage in this time of plenty, while young birds are on longer and longer forays away from their parents. Ectothermic animals, such as lizards and snakes, whose body temperatures are tied closely to ambient temperatures, are at their most active now, chasing insect and rodent prey, while insects, from the minute leafhoppers to the massive saturn moths, enter their time of greatest abundance. The majority of woody plants bear their seeds during this season, including Coffeeberry (Rhamnus californica), Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana), Apache Plume (Fallugia paradoxa), and all seven of our oak species. Many herbaceous (non-woody) plants are growing and flowering now, most of which are specialist monsoon plants and did not appear in the spring. This is the time of plenty for many birds and mammals, as insects of all types proliferate, from giant moths to enormous strange and beautiful beetles, to dragonflies, who reach their peak now, while alien-like cicadas measure the day’s heat with their shrill cries. This second flowering brings with it a glut of insect prey, which sends a wave of life through our

  • News From the Wilds: June 2017

    Jun 2, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris June can be a pretty tough time in the Mogollon Highlands of central Arizona. It is reliably the driest month of the year, with nearly 2 out of 5 years receiving no precipitation at all, and most others receiving only the most minute amounts. If there is any rain, it comes at the end of the month with the first of the monsoonal storms. In fact, the drought of June is critical in bringing about the rains of July, because as the hot, dry air in the Sonoran Desert and the Interior West rises it draws the moist, humid air from the Sea of Cortez northward into our region. Whenever these wet air masses enter our area from the south they bring the possibility of rain, but without the heat that accumulates this month the rain will not fall. But it is possible to observe this large-scale, regional climatic pattern evolve by watching the movement and development of the different cloud species as they move across our skies — a pursuit known as cloudspotting. June mornings tend to dawn clear and bright, but especially toward the end of the month, cumulus clouds appear and begin to build in the hot afternoons. These clouds may start as relatively small Cumulus humulis, wider than they are tall and uniformly white, and then turn to Cumulus mediocris, as tall as

  • News from the Wilds: May 2017

    Apr 28, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris May is the great turning of spring to summer in the Mogollon Highlands of Arizona. Winter is firmly past, and the seasonal creeks usually run with the very last percolating snowmelt while extraordinary flowers abound. But May is also the beginning of the dry season, as regional climate patterns shift, and the winter storms that had been flung off of large storm systems over the Pacific are replaced by northering warm, wet air masses from the Sea of Cortez. Eventually these air masses will mature into the titanic cumulonimbus and torrential rains of our summer monsoon, but they are fueled by heat, which will not build sufficiently until late June. We are lucky enough to have not one, but two distinct flowering seasons per year — our first great flowering happens this month, while the other great flowering is after the monsoon rains of mid-summer. Interestingly, many of our flowering plant species are unique to one or the other period. This bimodal flowering season is matched by peaks in activity in our animal species, as well. Insect activity follows flowering very closely, as insects either pollinate flowers or disperse the seeds that result from that pollination. The peak in bird, mammal, reptile and amphibian activity follows shortly after insects, as insects constitute much of the diets of these animals. Because of this, the diversity of species and

  • ‘Everything’s Hometown’: Winging it with nature in Prescott

    Mar 31, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Alan Dean Foster's PerceivingsNo CommentsRead More »

    The author in a Tuareg headdress. Courtesy photo. By Alan Dean Foster We’ve lived in Prescott for 36 years and I still take the local nature for granted. It’s amazing how downright blasé you can become over time about such things. It’s usually when we have visitors from out of town, often from metropolitan areas where the only real wildlife tends to hang around liquor stores, that I realize how fortunate we are, and how each of us really needs to take time from work and commuting and the damn TV and the addictive internet to get out and have a look around town for something besides the weekly arts and crafts festival. We’re doubly fortunate because our house backs onto one of the several major creeks that run through town. That gives us access not only to more wildlife but to a greater variety of visitors, as critters that tend to hang out elsewhere come down for the occasional drink. There’s the rare bobcat, and deer, and skunks. We had a bear once, a long time ago, and of course coyotes and javelinas are a steady presence. But to get a real feel for Prescott city wildlife you have to pay attention to the birds. I’m not going to turn this into a birdwatcher column. For one thing, there are better local resources available and for another, I’d probably

  • News from the Wilds: March 2017

    Feb 27, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, News From the WildsNo CommentsRead More »

    By Ty Fitzmorris March is an alluring month in the Mogollon Highlands, but ultimately a deceptive one. Glorious sunny days abound, glittering with butterflies and migrant songbirds, and highlighted with the earliest wildflowers and luminescent leaves. But March is also one of our wettest months of the year, and most of that moisture comes in the form of snow. Large storm systems over the Pacific Ocean throw off snow storms that sweep into our area from the north, dropping anywhere from inches to feet of snow, and bringing us firmly back into winter. Because of its trickster nature, March one of the more dangerous times for the creatures in the wilds. Many mammals are bearing young now, some insects are emerging from creeks and pupae as winged adults, and birds are making nests or migrating back into the area from the tropics. The dramatic cold snaps can therefore cause many of these species severe temperature and food stress and sometimes lead to their deaths. In spite of the warm temperatures and sunny days, most of the native plants of the Highlands — with the exception of the wind-pollinated trees — refrain from growing and flowering. They will wait until the days are reliably warm and frost-free, each species determining this through a unique combination of day-length, soil temperature, the number of accumulated days of cold, and other cues. Non-native plants,

  • Plant of the Month: Fremont Cottonwoods

    Jan 30, 17 • ndemarino • 5enses, Plant of the MonthNo CommentsRead More »

    By Mara Trushell With a height that can reach 130 feet and a trunk that can span over four feet in diameter, Fremont Cottonwoods (Populous fremontii) are giants within riparian ecosystems. These glorious trees are common along lake shores, rivers, and streams in Arizona from 150 – 6,000 feet elevation. The grayish bark is thick and furrowed at maturity and massive trunks support extensive branches that spread into broad, open crowns. Cottonwoods not only have a noteworthy visual presence; they also have a significant ecological role. Whether an individual tree or an expansive forest, it’s the entire tree, from root tip, to canopy structure, to seed capsule, that supports a rich habitat, complete with food and shelter. The life of a cottonwood begins within moist soils. With substantial amounts of consistent water, these fast growing trees soon reach their full potential. Intricate root networks stabilize the soil along stream beds, and saplings offer leaves that are a food source for many mammals. As cottonwoods reach maturity a multitude of flowers are produced in long-stranded catkins, just before the leaves fully emerge from their buds each spring. Both male and female flowers are obscure but develop into long catkins. Female flowers develop seeds with attachments of soft cotton-like puffs that catch the wind and carry them off to spread the next generation further afield. Summer brings dense foliage that attracts a

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