While it’s still officially summer, seasonal changes are in the air. Fall migration becomes apparent beginning in August. Birders who want to know when and when exotic and rare birds are verifiably reported can consult with Tucson Audubon’s Rare Bird Alert. This twice weekly update on the comings and goings of less than common birds in our area is available to the public via phone or computer. Be sure to put Tucson Audubon in front of Rare Bird Alert when you type it into your search on the phone or computer or looking up the number in the phone book.
Madera Canyon has been recording more Plain-capped Starthroat Hummingbirds this season than any time in the past. We’ve seen reports of three at a time at the cabin feeders. These very rare species of hummingbirds have been seen regularly up until publication time. Other unusual and rare species can be seen in Madera Canyon that you will never see in your backyard. If you’ve never been to Madera Canyon, as a birder, you owe it to yourself to have a very memorable experience. And this is one of the best times of the year to see some really wonderful birds there!
Rufous Hummingbirds are beginning to become more plentiful throughout their range and we’ve heard a few reports where they have shown up this season in greater numbers than previously recorded. A number of customers have made similar backyard reports to us.
And, the last piece of news regarding migration, which many birders will be happy about, is the White-wing Doves will be getting ready to migrate to Mexico by the end of the month. If you live in the city proper, you may notice that not all White-wings will disappear before September. Out in the desert, away from Tucson, these doves will be migrating south. Where ever it is legal to hunt them, their season begins Sept. 1st; they usually and reliably are gone. But, within and near dense human population, where hunting is not allowed, you may notice that not all White-winged Doves migrate in a timely manner. Late brooders may not yet be physically developed enough to take on a long migration. Injured or ill birds may not migrate. Some will persist in staying put while ample food may be available. But, by and large, the flocks that have populated your backyards will be gone soon.
Bees at hummingbird feeders
Bees can be a problem at nectar feeders that are not bee-proof almost any time of the year. It seems this time of year we are experiencing bee, particularly in vacuum-based, gravity fed feeders. Only pan-type feeders are designed to disallow bees from accessing the nectar. A liberal amount of mineral oil, and only mineral oil, will prevent them from landing anywhere they must be to gain access. Smear a coat of mineral oil at least an inch all around each food port and the bees will soon get the message and not bother the feeder. This is a temporary measure and needs to be repeated in order to be effective. Bee-proof feeders permanently solve the bee problems.
Matt's Private Bird Walks
Matt has family obligations and vacation time this month and there will be no group bird trips this month. However, he will take individuals and small groups (up to three people) out into the field for private bird trips. Those of you who have gone on his monthly Sunday bird trips know what a knowledgeable, personable, and experienced birder and trip leader he is. So if you would like to identify birds with Matt you can request a bird trip with him by contacting him directly. In this manner, he is not limited to only one Sunday per month and can devote more attention to an individual or two or three as opposed to larger groups. Matt can be reached directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone. His number is 869-2828. Make arrangements with him for time, date, place, and costs in advance.
Jon's Trip: Nova Scotia to Florida
Several have inquired about my trip east and had difficulties viewing/ locating the link to our website where a larger selection of photos is featured in a side show. The slide show focuses on several of the bird species I observed, the landscape and habitat I was in, and a miscellaneous photo here and there.
Clarisa, Justin, Matt and Jon
Sunday, June 22, 2014
We will be meeting in the Safeway parking lot on the North West corner of Continental off I-19 (south bound exit) at 05:45 in the morning. Please contact Matt Norris to meet him in the store, prior to the trip, to sign and read your waiver of liability and to make your $15 payment of cash or check to him. This trip marks 3 years of Matt leading BirdWalks and is also his birthday BirdWalk as he turns 30 this month. So come on out and have a great day of birding with Matt and other birders.
Target species for this trip include but are not limited to:
Magnificent Hummingbird (Seen last week at feeders)
White-Eared Hummingbird (Seen last week at feeders)
*This trip is limited so please contact Matt and get your waivers signed and payments made. You can catch Matt in the Wild Bird Store on Wednesdays through Sundays when no birding trip is taking place.
No, these are not real feathers. No matter how long you look at them, or what angle of viewing, you’ll have a hard time convincing yourself that these are not real feathers.
They are, in reality, a masterpiece of digital capture by Elgin artist Matilda Essig. 100% of the viewers of this archival inkjet print insist that what they are seeing is actual feathers mounted on a board and framed! This image (24"x10") represents the new frontier in digital printmaking, and for bird lovers looking for artwork that will always thrill the viewer, this may be the Holy Grail! Sale is of print only.
You may see Matilda's primary work on Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands at the upcoming 'Desert Grasslands' exhibition at Tucson Museum of Art, opening in January 2013. $250.00 #27
Depending on your browser some may not be able to open. It does work well in Firefox and Safari.
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Zhangli Bu is a Chinese national who is a junior at the U of A studying journalism. Her family resides in China and she intends to make a career in journalism. Like many 22 year olds, she enjoys mucic, traveling and reading. She approached me at the store asking for permission to make a video about our business and how the business evolved. This is the result of her effort
Webster Hummingbird Feeder
We are very pleased to announce we now have in stock the authentic reproduction of the first feeder designed by man to feed hummingbirds, the Webster feeder. Originally designed in 1928 for his disabled wife to enjoy watching hummingbirds, Mr. Webster had the feeder made to his specifications by the chemistry and physics glass blowing lab at M.I.T.
The Webster’s maintained glorious estates near Cambridge and a summer retreat on a New Hampshire lake and had a large staff of gardeners and landscape architects to maintain several acres of flower gardens at each location. They let the general public stroll the grounds at no charge after church each Sunday for a few hours. As they had some of the largest flower gardens in all of New England, they also attracted large numbers of Ruby-throated hummingbirds each season. Their properties became known as the best locations in that region to observe hummingbirds.
Naturally, when the visitors saw the first hummingbird feeder, and how successful it was even surrounded by acres of nectar producing flowers, they wanted one for themselves. Mr. Webster had several hundred of these feeders created and sold them for $10.00 each (a lot of money back then!). When Mrs. Webster died in 1948, he created 500 more feeders and donated them to the Audubon Society in January of that year. National Geographic magazine featured pictures of the first hummingbird feeder being used in the February issue. The public clamored for the hummingbird feeders and the Audubon Society sold out of them within the month. They disappeared off the market until The Wild Bird Store has reintroduced them more than half a century later.
We have a very talented local glass blower, making these authentic reproductions for us and the birds really enjoy using them. They cost $49.99 and you’ll not only enjoy watching the hummers use them repeatedly, but, you’ll also own a piece of American birding history!
We are excited to announce that we are starting to shoot some simple informative birding videos that appear on YouTube and our website. You can subscribe (for free) to see them when new ones appear by going to The Wild Bird Store YouTube Channel. We hope to offer many topics and hopefully go on location to Tucson area birding hotspots. Please submit your comments, questions or ideas.
Join us, won't you?
On October 11, 2011 I was invited to do an interview on “the Jolt”, AM 1330. The show Ron Asta’s Tucson gave us a digital recording of the interview. The show runs about 36:36 minutes long. We didn’t get through all the talking points we wanted to so I’ve been asked to return for a second interview sometime in the near future. We’ll keep you posted. We did have a great conversation about the nectar eating bats that are unique to our area and a little about birding. The next conversation will focus more on the wonderful birds we experience here.
The Wild Bird Store has moved to 3160 East Fort Lowell Road, on the southeast corner of Country Club Blvd. and Ft. Lowell Road – in the Winterhaven Square. After two decades, we are beginning a new chapter in our efforts to aid and educate birding enthusiasts in a...
THE WILD BIRD STORE
Located in Tucson, Arizona and begun in 1992 as a true mom and pop business, has a strong regional
reputation as an independent wild bird store featuring our line of innovative
and unique wild bird products. Our loyal customer base depends on us for
quality products, expert advice and dedicated customer service.
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no longer have to wait at the periphery of the yard for the feeding frenzy
to quiet down before coming to the feeder. Now, with this feeder for their exclusive use, they can feed undisturbed from sunrise to
sunset. This weight-activated feeder will accommodate the entire cardinal
family - from fledglings to adults. All other birds both heavier and lighter
NUTS 'N' BUGS
If you had to choose just one food for birds, one they would not only
survive on, but actually thrive on, Nuts 'n'
Bugs is it! Created from a recipe of ground pecans and dehydrated
insects (over 1,000 per pound), it has calcium, soybean meal, and rendered
suet to bring in insect and nut eating birds. With Nuts
'n' Bugs you can attract a wide variety of insect eating
birds- many of which are not attracted to seeds.
GOLDFINCHES IN SOUTHEAST ARIZONA
Photo by Richard at SearchNet Media
Southeastern Arizona birders have experienced a phenomenal increase in the numbers of goldfinches that can be attracted to our backyard birding stations.
Twenty years ago and more, it took us months to attract our first goldfinches. Patience, we reminded ourselves as we did our customers, is the number one rule for birders.
The preferred food for the intended species and the right feeder to deliver that food is number two. Understanding these principles will always reward us and the birds.
Nyjer seed, unlike true thistle, is the preferred choice of seed for all the goldfinch species. Most other species in our area will reject Nyjer for almost any other seed that is easily available and accessible. Almost any design of thistle feeder filled with Nyjer seed will attract mostly goldfinches. The feeder models that have food ports under the perches are species specific to goldfinches.
BIRDS, WATER AND SUMMER HEAT
Cooper's Hawk by Richard at SearchNetMedia
In our desert heat, we are stating the obvious - birds need clean reliable water sources all year round, but no more than when the temperature soars. As we write this, the projected heat for this afternoon is 113°F, and likely to remain in the triple digits for the rest of the week. As the drought deepens in southern Arizona, natural water sources continue to dry up. Our record setting fire season has taken its toll on the wildlife. Birds pant and hold their wings out from their bodies in an attempt to keep cool. Supplying a water source for the birds is of great assistance to them and the necessity of clean fresh water cannot be underestimated.
Of course, you want to do this in a way that does no harm - no drowning, no disease transmission, no increase in predation, no harm what-so-ever. Here's what you need to know about bird baths and other water features to help the birds, without harming them.
HOW TO INCREASE BACKYARD DIVERSITY
Photo by Richard at SearchNet Media
With more species of birds than almost any other region in the country, Southeastern Arizona's biodiversity offers backyard birders one of the best opportunities to attract a wide variety of birds.
The combined number of year-round resident and migrating birds that one can see in the cycle of a year's time is greater than most other regions throughout the continent. However, if you don't devote some time on a regular basis to observing, you may miss some of the migrants which only pass through our area and remain only for a relatively short time.
Southeastern Arizona is also an excellent place to notice quite a few rare and exotic species that migrate through or use our area in spring and summer as their traditional breeding territory.
With relatively little effort and expense, you can easily double and triple the number of species attracted to your feeding stations.
INTRODUCING A NEW CARDINAL FEEDER
We have become the exclusive authorized dealers in Arizona for a new species-specific cardinal feeder that serves as a less expensive version of the cedar wood model we pioneered about twenty years ago.
This model is constructed of tough polycarbonate material, can be hung or pole mounted, and is manufactured in Montreal, Canada by the Wild Bird Conservation Center. We have received our first shipment and we expect it to sell for around $60. While it was created for a cold, wet northern climate in that it is weather proof (keeps rain and snow out), it works perfectly well in our region as well. (Keeping seeds dry in Arizona isn’t too much of a concern).
So, for customers who wish for a more economical way to give cardinals, pyrrhuloxia and grosbeaks what they want most (our cardinal mix and a little exclusivity) this is the feeder you’ve been waiting for!
BASIC BINOCULAR KNOWLEDGE
Birders, whether the backyard or in-the-field- variety, need only two essential items as the basic tools for learning about bird identification and behavior - a good field guide and reliable binoculars. The Wild Bird Store carries the best field guide for our area. It is the new Birds of Southeastern Arizona by Richard Taylor and has established itself as our best selling identification guide since its publication late last year. With just these two things, you can teach yourself all you want to know about the birds of our specific region, or anywhere for that matter.
The Wild Bird Store offers a comprehensive selection of Vortex Binoculars
WILD BIRD STORE DISCOUNT CLUB
For almost twenty years we have offered our customers the opportunity of reducing costs on each and every purchase they make. The cost of annual dues is $16.00 ($1.25 per month). Discounts begin on the day a membership is activated and expires one full year from the last day of the month the membership begins.
HOW TO ATTRACT ORIOLES
Orioles are not as common or abundant as most of our year round resident birds. Yet, as a migratory species, they are reliably present from early spring to fall. We have had orioles at our station from as early as February until as late as early November.
Orioles (and their relatives, like the tanagers) have beautiful and strikingly colorful plumage, their exquisite and fluid songs, and their parenting and nesting abilities make them very desirable birds to attract and observe. The relatively small effort to attract and feed orioles rewards...