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
- Wild Arizona: AZGFD’s 2020 Outdoor Expo set for March 28-29
- AZGFD in the News: These bald eagle nestwatchers help an imperiled species soar again over Arizona
- Walk on the Wild Side: Page Springs Fish Hatchery
- Citizen Science Opportunity: Spotlighting endangered black-footed ferrets
- Upcoming Events: All Vultures Eve is March 12
- Video of the Month: Gambel’s quail study: From golf course to desert
Get ready to attend the largest hands-on outdoor expo in Arizona.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s 2020 Outdoor Expo is scheduled for March 28-29 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix. This family-friendly event is free and offers plenty of activities, including:
- Wildlife exhibits
- Family fishing tanks
- Kayaking at the 90,000-gallon “Lake Paddlemore”
- Trying out firearms in a safe, controlled environment on the range
- Cowboy mounted shooting competitions
- Outdoor recreation presentations
More than 150 exhibitors — including outdoor recreation and conservation groups, government agencies and commercial vendors of outdoor products and services — will be on site, as well.
“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.”
For more information, visit azgfd.gov/expo.
Kudos to The Arizona Republic and reporter Debra Utacia Krol for a recent article about the members of the Arizona Bald Eagle Nestwatch Program. The nestwatchers are an essential component in the comeback of the desert nesting bald eagle from fewer than a half-dozen nests in 1970, to 89 nests in 2019.
Working with state wildlife managers, the nestwatchers camp out in nesting areas for 10 days at a time with four days off. They record nesting behavior, how long each partner departs the nest, favorite perching sites and interactions with other birds.
The Page Springs Fish Hatchery is much more than just the state’s largest coldwater fish production facility, producing almost 700,000 trout each year.
Nestled among the cool pines of the Coconino National Forest, families enjoy hiking the nature trail bordering Oak Creek, and children like visiting the show ponds to see the hatchery’s finest and largest trout.
The recently completed nature trail, which features signage that describes riparian habitat and wildlife, meanders through the hatchery grounds and along Oak Creek. The trail is a great place to see wildlife and view birds. Some common birds in the area include the black-crowned night-heron, great blue heron, belted kingfisher and Clark’s grebe.
The unique setting of the hatchery provides habitat for other wildlife species. A few fish-eaters, like skunks and raccoons, have been known to stop by and sample the trout. In fact, Arizona Game and Fish Department employees rescued a skunk a few years ago when it attempted to swim in one of the raceways. In the surrounding uplands, mule and white-tailed deer, javelina, elk and black bear are seen from time to time.
In addition to being a major trout producer, Page Springs also features a smaller warm-water hatchery. Bubbling Ponds produces sportfish, such as bluegill, largemouth bass and walleye, as well as sensitive species such as razorback suckers and Colorado pikeminnow that are used in native fish conservation and recovery efforts.
The hatchery is located on Page Springs Road, just south of where it crosses Oak Creek. Page Springs Road is located west of Interstate 17, between State Route 89 and Cornville Road.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking volunteers to assist with spotlighting efforts to help document the population of endangered black-footed ferrets in Aubrey Valley and on the Double O Ranch near Seligman.
As part of the recovery effort, the department has scheduled two spring spotlighting events — March 12-15, and a split seven-night event April 10-12 and April 16-19 (the department also conducts two spotlighting projects in the fall). The spotlighting method involves using high-powered lights to locate and identify black-footed ferrets. Their eyeshine is reflected by the spotlight and helps surveyors in capturing these elusive, nocturnal carnivores.
Volunteers must have the ability to stay attentive from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. while spotlighting for black-footed ferrets and use, or learn how to use, a Global Positioning System (GPS). Volunteers can sign up by e-mailing email@example.com — with “spring spotlighting” in the subject line — by March 6 for the first event and by April 6 for the later opportunities.
Volunteers are reminded to include their full name, a contact phone number, month(s) and night(s) available to spotlight, and full names of others who also will be attending (a parent or guardian must accompany any youth under 18). Volunteers also should note any equipment they can bring, such as GPS, clipboard, headlamp, pen, binoculars, walkie-talkies, compass, cordless rechargeable spotlight, backpack or 4X4 vehicle.
A total of seven black-footed ferrets, including six wildborn animals, were caught in 2019, down from nine in 2018.
Visit www.azgfd.gov/wildlife and click on “Nongame Species” for more information about the black-footed ferret recovery effort.
All Vultures Eve — 5-7 p.m. March 12 in Wickenburg, Ariz.
Come witness the spectacle of hundreds of turkey vultures in migration along the Wickenburg pedestrian bridge (Hassayampa River Walk). In addition to activities for both adults and children, binoculars and spotting scopes will be available to borrow to get a closer look at these birds. Don’t miss seeing Wild at Heart’s rescued vulture, “Mojo,” and learning about these fascinating creatures from wildlife biologists. The event is free. More information
Arizona Game and Fish Commission meeting — 8 a.m. March 20 at the International Wildlife Museum in Tucson.
The next meeting of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission will be Friday, March 20, at the International Wildlife Museum, 4800 W. Gates Pass Blvd., Tucson, Ariz. The public meeting begins at 8 a.m. More information
2020 Outdoor Expo — 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (March 28), 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (March 29) at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix.
Get outdoors with Game and Fish! The department’s 2020 Outdoor Expo has it all — wildlife, fishing, paddling, archery, shooting sports, conservation, off-highway vehicles, education, assets auction — and it’s free! The Ben Avery Shooting Facility is located at 4044 W. Black Canyon Blvd., Phoenix. Exit Interstate 17 at Carefree Highway, go west ½-mile and follow the signs. More information
The Arizona Game and Fish Department is partnering with the University of Arizona on a two-year research project to find out if moving quail that reside on golf courses to the desert is an effective way to bolster declining populations.