Wild+Life is a monthly e-newsletter with news about wildlife-watching activities, wildlife natural history, habitat and research projects benefiting wildlife, fun facts and upcoming events. Sign up to get Wild+Life delivered to your inbox every month.
In This Issue
- AZGFD in the News: Agency proposes to downlist humpback chub on the Colorado River, citing recovery efforts
- Wild Arizona: Coming soon: AZGFD’s 2020 Outdoor Expo
- Walk on the Wild Side: Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area
- Upcoming Events: Peregrine falcon lecture is Feb. 27
- Fast Facts: Sandhill cranes always celebrate Valentine’s Day
- Video of the Month: Cameras to count wolves
AZGFD in the News: Agency proposes to downlist humpback chub on the Colorado River, citing recovery efforts
Kudos to The Arizona Republic and reporter Debra Utacia Krol for a recent article about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to downlist the endangered humpback chub on the Colorado River.
“It’s a huge success story,” said Julie Carter, statewide native aquatics program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department, one of more than a dozen government and private entity partners in the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program. “This reflects a tremendous amount of work that biologists have done over the years all throughout the basin.”
Carter said the proposed action by the Service would be the first for an Arizona fish since 2006, when the Gila trout was downlisted from endangered to threatened. Read the story
The largest hands-on outdoor expo in Arizona is set for March 28-29 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s annual Outdoor Expo will feature everything from wildlife exhibits and family fishing tanks to kayaking at the 90,000-gallon “Lake Paddlemore” and trying out firearms in a safe, controlled environment on the range.
“We’re not aware of any other free event of this scale that combines conservation, recreation and industry into such a welcoming environment for the public,” said Ty Gray, AZGFD director. “This is where people can find plenty of hands-on activities, see educational exhibits, test and purchase the latest equipment and products, and connect with social organizations that can provide countless ‘next step’ experiences to support their outdoor passions.”
Last year’s Outdoor Expo drew the largest two-day crowd in the event’s 15-year history. More than 52,000 people visited the Outdoor Expo and participated in the myriad activities available.
Another great event is expected with more than 150 exhibitors, including outdoor recreation and conservation groups, government agencies and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services.
For more information, visit azgfd.gov/expo.
They flock by the thousands to Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area every year.
The sandhill cranes arrive first, winging their way from their summer nesting grounds from as far away as Canada, Alaska and even Siberia.
Then come the visitors, drawn by the sight of these long-legged, long-necked birds — 3 to 4 feet tall with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet — and their unmistakable rattling, trumpet-like calls, which can be heard up to 2 ½ miles away.
Without a doubt, this wildlife area in southeastern Arizona is one of the best places in the nation to observe sandhill cranes in the winter months. In addition to these fascinating birds, the waters of Whitewater Draw attract ducks, geese, herons, egrets, shorebirds, gulls, terns and a wide variety of raptors.
Other critters that call the wildlife area home include the Plains leopard frog, as well as many species of toads. In the grasslands and along the trails, Mohave and Western diamondback rattlesnakes, coachwhip, gopher snake, kingsnake, Western hognose snake and other species can be seen from time to time.
Directions: The closest town is McNeal. From Tucson, take Interstate 10 east toward El Paso; merge onto Arizona Highway 80 east toward Tombstone and Douglas; turn left on Davis Road; turn right on North Central Highway; turn right on West Bagby Road; turn right on Coffman Road.
For more information, and to view sandhill cranes on the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s live-streaming camera, visit: www.azgfd.com/wildlife/viewing/wheretogo/whitewater/.
Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting — 8 a.m. Feb. 21 in Parker, Ariz.
The next meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be Friday, Feb. 21, at the La Paz County Boating Safety Center, 8484 Riverside Drive, Parker, Ariz. The public meeting begins at 8 a.m. More information.
Lecture Series: Peregrine falcon — 6-8 p.m., Feb. 27 at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
A peregrine falcon makes a cheetah look slow. This bird is the world’s fastest vertebrate, as well as a highly skilled predator. Listed as an endangered species only a few decades ago, the peregrine falcon has made an incredible recovery and since has been removed from that list. Learn more about these amazing raptors from Jeff Meyers, watchable wildlife program manager for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The cost is $34 per person ($27 for members). Register.
Tres Rios Nature Festival — 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. (Feb. 29), 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (March 1) at Base and Meridian Wildlife Area in Avondale, Ariz.
Tres Rios Nature Festival is a free, two-day outdoor event that showcases the rich diversity of wildlife habitat, history and culture of the Gila River drainage, which is made up of the Gila, Salt and Agua Fria rivers. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will be providing free activities, such as fishing, archery, canoeing and kayaking. Need help baiting a hook? The department will have volunteers on hand. More information.
How about some love for the sandhill crane?
The long-legged, gray-plumaged birds, which number in the thousands this time of year at the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area in southeastern Arizona, would be the perfect wildlife ambassadors for Valentine’s Day.
- For starters, sandhill cranes have a crimson cap that’s shaped like — OK, wait for it — a heart.
- They are devoted. Sandhill cranes mate for life.
A breeding pair will maintain a strong bond by putting on elaborate courtship displays, remaining near each other and calling in unison.
Arizona Game and Fish Department researchers are conducting a one-year study to determine if trail cameras are an effective method of measuring the abundance of endangered Mexican wolves.