The Arizona Game and Fish Department is again offering a unique opportunity for people to learn more about Arizona’s colorful forest hummingbirds at the 10th annual High Country Hummers Festival. On Saturday, July 25, 2015, Sheri Williamson, one of the nation’s foremost experts on hummingbirds, will lead a capture and bird-banding event with the invaluable assistance of a dedicated group of volunteers that is free and open to the public. Participants will be able to observe researchers up close as they handle, measure and band these flying jewels. The festival takes place at the department’s Sipe White Mountain Wildlife Area located near Eagar in eastern Arizona.
This one-of-a-kind program begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at noon. There is no admission fee; expenses are underwritten by the department’s Heritage Fund. Supported by Arizona lottery dollars, the Heritage Fund is dedicated to the education, conservation and enhancement of Arizona’s wildlife, biological diversity, scenic wonders and environment.
Come prepared to spend most of the morning outdoors with the potential of some summer rain. It’s a good idea to bring a camera, as there will be plenty of great photo opportunities, such as taking your picture with a live raptor at the Department’s Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center “critter photo booth.”
Sheri is the author of the Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America. She, together with her husband Tom Wood, founded and operate the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO), which is a non-profit scientific and educational organization based in Bisbee. SABO’s mission is to promote conservation of birds of southeastern Arizona, their habitats, and the diversity of species that share those habitats through research, monitoring and public education.
Other fun programs will also be offered at the wildlife area that day
- Birding for kids. An opportunity for kids to make their own hummingbird feeder to take home.
- Tom Wood will lead a fascinating presentation on hummingbird natural history.
- Get your photo taken with one of the Adobe Mountain Center animals.
- Department staff will discuss and instruct on how to photograph hummingbirds. Be sure to bring your camera and a tripod for this hands-on activity.
- Department staff will lead a “birding basics” program, including identification tips, recommended field guides and technological tools available to aid in learning about our avian visitors.
- People are welcome to explore the visitor center’s interpretive displays on wildlife conservation, habitats and prehistoric culture.
Pets must be kept on a leash and are not allowed near live wildlife.
Breakfast and lunch concessions will be provided by the Springerville-Eagar Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The Sipe Wildlife Area is located southeast of Eagar and Springerville. From Eagar, take Highway 191 toward Alpine for about two miles to the signed turnoff at the top of the first hill. Drive south five miles to the Sipe property on a gravel road suitable for passenger cars.
For more information, contact the Pinetop Game and Fish Department regional office at 928 532-3680.
Follow this event and other local wildlife recreation-related events and programs on the Arizona Game and Fish Pinetop Region Facebook page.
Off-site programs and activities
- Springerville Heritage Center featuring the Rene Cushman Museum, Becker Family History Museum, Casa Malpais archaeological museum and tour, and art gallery of local artists displaying their photographs, oil and watercolor paintings, quilts, and more.