Wild+Life is a new monthly e-newsletter with news about wildlife-watching activities, wildlife natural history, habitat and research projects benefitting wildlife, fun facts and upcoming events.
In This Issue
- Living With Wildlife: Feeding Hummingbirds
- Fast Facts About Hummingbirds
- Mark Your Calendar: Tres Rios Nature Festival
- Walk on the Wild Side: Boyce Thompson Arboretum
- Mark Your Calendar: AGFD Outdoor Expo
- Video of the Month
Many people set out feeders filled with sugar water (nectar) to lure hummingbirds to their yard or garden. When feeding hummingbirds, follow these tips:
- White granulated sugar to water ratio: 1:4. Don’t use other forms of sweetener or honey.
- The red sugar-water mixtures commonly sold for feeders are a waste of money, and red dye may harm hummingbirds.
- Clean feeders with a little vinegar water and rinse thoroughly.
- Refresh water frequently on hot days (every day, in the desert in summer).
- Be alert in spring: Put the feeder up as soon as you see or hear a hummingbird. This can happen in March or early April, even at higher elevations.
In desert areas, feeders can be left up year-round. At higher mountains (above 6,500 feet), take them down in the late fall (October–November), a week after you’ve seen the last hummer for that year. Water in feeders may freeze, so bring them inside on very cold nights and set them out again just before sunrise: Frozen feeders are useless to birds.
- Along with nectar from flowers or feeders, hummingbirds also eat insects.
- A hummingbird may beat its wings 70 times in just one second.
- Eighteen species have been seen in Arizona, more than in any other state except Texas.
- Our state’s smallest hummingbird is the calliope, which weighs 0.1 ounce — about the same as one penny.
- The iridescent patch of colored feathers found on the throat of many adult male hummingbirds is called a “gorget.” They may use it to attract mates, scare off competitors or signal social status.
Note new dates: April 1-2
(Originally scheduled March 4–5, the festival has been moved to April due to high water levels)
Base and Meridian Wildlife Area
7602 S. Avondale Blvd., Avondale
Cost: Admission and parking are free
This outdoor festival showcases the rich diversity of wildlife habitat, history and culture of the Gila River drainage. From guided bird tours and canoeing on the river to educational displays about Southwest wildlife, there is something for everyone.
You can’t have wildlife without habitat, and one of the best ways to learn about wildlife in the upland Sonoran Desert is by visiting Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park. Located near Superior (about one hour’s drive east from Phoenix), it’s worth seeing at any time of year. Spring is especially welcoming because this winter’s rains make for a promising wildflower display.
More than 230 bird and 72 terrestrial species have been tallied as permanent or migratory Arboretum residents. To maximize your chances to see and photograph wildlife, time your visit for the cooler morning hours or for late in the day. Water attracts wildlife, so along the 1.5-mile main trail, plan to stop at Ayer Lake. Also take your time as the trail meanders along Queen Creek. Water-loving trees there provide shelter and food for many mammals, birds and reptiles.
The $12.50 daily admission includes special opportunities such as bird walks, wildflower walks and tours of the main trail, all led by expert guides. For event dates and times, visit http://arboretum.ag.arizona.edu
Ben Avery Shooting Facility, off Interstate 17 at exit 223 in Phoenix
Sat., March 25, 9–5
Sun., March 26, 9–4
Cost: Admission and parking are free
At the 10th annual Arizona Game and Fish Department Outdoor Expo, see live wildlife up close, take a workshop, visit with vendors, hike a field course, collect cool camping tips or learn what it feels like to paddle a kayak. There’s so much to do, you won’t know where to start!
In February 2017, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in partnership with the city of Scottsdale and the McDowell Sonoran Conservancy, began to study the mule deer of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, to identify important movement corridors and seasonal habitat preferences. The information gained will guide future wildlife management on the preserve and assure the long-term stability of the area’s deer population. Watch this short, exciting video of a deer being released, and you’ll know why the handlers wear helmets.