Southeast Arizona Birding Festival 2021

Arts and Entertainment

July 28, 2021

From: Southeast Arizona Birding Festival

The Southeast Arizona Birding Festival offers expert-guided birding, wildlife, and cultural field trips; photography and bird-ID workshops; free nature presentations, vendors, and activities.

Schedule of Events:

August 11, 2021:

6:00pm – 7:00pm: Opening Celebration with Luke Safford and Tucson Audubon - Free with Festival Registration

We’ll kick-off the festival by introducing special guests, recognizing our greater purpose as birders, and celebrating that we’re actually together In-Person!

August 12, 2021:

6:00am – 9:00am: Plein Air Painting at Sweetwater Wetlands with Ethan Myerson - Free with Festival Registration

Enjoy a morning of painting at Sweetwater Wetlands and then share it with the festival family at the Nature Expo. You’ll have the opportunity to display your creation Thursday – Saturday at festival Nature Expo where participants could purchase as their festival keepsake.

9:30am – 11:30am: Drawing Birds with Saraiya Kanning - $10/person

Let’s breathe deep and open our eyes to the wonderful world of birds which surrounds us! We’ll talk about ways to see and observe birds, their behavior, and their anatomy in a way that will revolutionize the way you draw them, whether from life or from pictures. Bring graphite pencils (HB or 2B preferred), drawing paper, and a kneaded or white eraser for two hours of joyful and immersive bird drawing. Level: beginner to intermediate.

10:30am – 11:30am: Photography: Photographing Birds in Flight, Big and Small with Krisztina Scheeff - $10/person

It can be incredibly rewarding to photograph birds in flight. Equally, however, there can be nothing more frustrating than the very same thing. In this classroom & field workshop professional photographer Krisztina Scheeff with KS Nature Photography will teach you lots of tips and tricks, camera settings and more to help you get those fantastic in flight bird shots. Related field workshop portion is limited to 8 participants and you must sign up separately.

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Bird Listening: Why Birding Is More than Just Watching with Kyle Carlsen–Workshop is Full - Free with Festival Registration

Take your birding to the next level! Birds make a lot of different sounds, and learning to recognize and identify these sounds is a big part of what makes birding fun. In this workshop, we will discuss why birds make the sounds they do, the value of using our ears to find more birds in the field, how to pick out individual birds from an overwhelming chorus, and methods for learning and remembering bird sounds. This workshop is presented by Kyle Carlsen, a lifelong birder and musician.

12:30pm – 1:30pm: Borderlands Jaguars with Mark Hart of Arizona Game & Fish - Free with Festival Registration

Southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico are the only locations in the United States where jaguars have been sighted in the past twenty years.  In late 2016, two jaguars were present in the region, one in the Huachuca Mountains and the other in the Dos Cabezas. Earlier that year a video surfaced of a third jaguar in the Santa Rita Mountains. The video caused an international sensation, but that jaguar hasn’t been seen since. Although the Huachacucas jaguar came to a bad end in Mexico, its return there was biologically significant. Meantime, the Dos Cabezas jaguar has persisted south of Willcox since.  This presentation will examine how the presence of these endangered species in the region pose unique challenges for wildlife and land managers, and how they have made even more popular among the general public trail camera technology.

1:30pm - 2:30pm: Bird Behavior and Photography with Maresa Pryor-Luzier - $10/person

Photographing Bird behavior can be tricky but with today’s lighter and faster cameras its attainable for adventurous bird photographers. Maresa will discuss exposure, apertures, ISO, backgrounds, and autofocus and focus points to optimize those fantastic images.  She will also talk about studying your subject, field ethics, and when is the best time to catch your subject in the best light or behavior dictated by the time of year. Related field workshop portion is limited to 8 participants and you must sign up separately.

2:00pm – 3:00pm: Sparrows: Little Brown Jobbers with Homer Hansen - $10/person

Our skulky sparrows come to life during the monsoon season in southeast Arizona, and species such as Botteri’s, Cassin’s and Grasshopper’s can be identified readily if you are familiar with their appearance and vocalizations. This workshop will introduce you to the breeding sparrows of our region, along with their habitat, identification characteristics, and songs. Take this workshop and then accompany Homer into the field on Friday for first-hand experience! Field portion is limited to 8 participants and you must sign up separately.

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Making the Most of the Wildlife Photographic Experience – When Preparedness and Skill Meet Luck with Lee Hoy - $10/person

Wildlife photography is unlike any other style of photography in that our ability to understand, find, and know our subjects is key to our success. What is it that helps separate great wildlife photographers from good ones? What skills, habits, tips, and knowledge do you need to take your wildlife photography to the next level? When does technical and creative exposure come together to produce brilliant images?

3:30pm – 4:30pm: Ornitherapy: For Your Mind, Body, and Soul with Holly Merker - Free with Festival Registration

Watching birds: not only fun, but good for you! Learn why getting your daily dose of Ornitherapy is just what the doctor ordered….Ornitherapy, or the mindful observation of birds, benefits our mind, body, and soul. We’re pushed and pulled in many directions, no matter our age. This can be tiresome; but if we allow birds and nature to slow us down, we are self-medicating. Research shows that exposure to nature actively reduces stress, depression, and anxiety, while helping build a stronger heart and immune system. Birds are gateways into deeper experiences with nature, magnifying these benefits. Through observation, we can learn not only about birds, but gain insight into our own lives while exploring our connection to the world around us. This fosters stewardship and bolsters conservation. Within the program, we’ll delve into our connections to birds, how to practice Ornitherapy for optimal benefits, and learn about the latest research in the power of nature for overall wellbeing. Come listen to how watching birds can bring you more than just the enjoyment.

6:00pm – 10:00pm: Hoots, Herps, and Hops: For Young Birders (Under 50) sponsored by the Birding Co-Op - Free with Festival Registration

Please join us for our inaugural Young Birders event, as we bird Sabino Canyon followed by a drink at Three Canyon Beer and Wine Garden. We’ll start with a guided walk about 1.5 miles up Sabino Canyon, where we’ll hope to catch Purple Martins, Black-Throated Sparrows, Cardinals, Lesser Nighthawks, and other Sonoran specialties. On the way down, we will listen for Poorwills, Elf Owls, and Great-Horned Owls. We’ll also hope to see Sonoran Desert Toads, rattlesnakes, and Tarantulas after dark, so bring a flashlight if you’d like. Afterwards, we’ll all meet at Three Canyon Beer and Wine Garden for food and a drink. Free with festival registration. No transportation is provided. Open to birders under 50 years old. Meet at the ramada by the Sabino Canyon Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $8 parking fee. Specific meeting instructions will be emailed beforehand. Limited to 50 participants.

August 13, 2021:

9:30am – 11:30am: Sonoran Desert Watercolor with Saraiya Kanning – Workshop is full - $10/person

Our desert is anything but an empty place! Let’s explore the flora and fauna of Tucson in this two hour introductory painting class. We’ll observe the fascinating and unexpected colors of the desert and apply them to our creations. No prior drawing or watercolor experience required. Materials provided.

10:00am – 11:30am: Photography: Transitioning into Bird & Nature Photography with Lisa Langell sponsored by Tamron - Free with Festival Registration

As an increasing number of birders and nature enthusiasts are turning to photography, the choices can be overwhelming for gear and accessories. This session will introduce the main categories of cameras available, as well as the pros and cons of each type of camera–from point-and-shoots, DSLR and mirrorless cameras — and even digiscoping. You’ll learn the basic terminology, key pros-and-cons of each type of camera, and how to determine your needs so that you select what’s right for you. Tips for selecting tripods, tripod heads, and truly helpful accessories will also be provided—all with a practical, budget-minded perspective so that you get what you need without over-buying gadgetry.

Bird-safe Buildings Program: Studying and Preventing Window Strikes in SE AZ with Olya Phillips

This year Tucson Audubon launched the Bird-safe Buildings Program to study and mitigate bird window strikes in SE AZ.  Now more than ever, a large number of birds are found near buildings, making them susceptible to window collisions. In fact, 365 million to 1 billion birds die from hitting windows every year in the US alone. Learn more about our work in Southeast Arizona and what you can do to prevent window strikes at home using budget-friendly methods. All participants will receive a free decal kit!

1:00pm – 2:30pm: Foundations of Photography: Light, Shadow, Background! with Kevin Loughlin - $10/person

The art of photography is based upon light and shadow. Having a proper understanding of how to “see the light” will help you create better images of any subject and take your photography to the next level.

Along with the proper light, what lies behind your subject can make or break your final image. Learning to pay attention to all elements in your image, especially the background, will help you improve your photos. We will discuss using different lenses for a unique perspective and using depth of focus to isolate your subject or show it in its environment.

1:30pm – 2:30pm: Birding 101 with Kathe Anderson - Free with Festival Registration

This is an interactive class to help you get started to enjoy birds more, covering basic bird anatomy, binocular choice, and resources about birds and where to find them, including books, apps and websites.

3:00pm – 4:00pm: The Exciting Night Life of Bats with Karen Krebbs - Free with Festival Registration

Karen has studied bats for more than 30 years.  Learn about this exciting and unique nocturnal mammal and how it is so successful as a predator and pollinator.  There are more than 1,100 species of bats that occur worldwide.  Bats are an important part of our ecosystems and deserve our respect and admiration. Echolocation allows a bat to fly in total darkness to locate, chase, and capture flying insects.  Bridges and other human structures are important roost habitat for many species of bats.  Nectar bats visit and pollinate columnar cactus and succulents in our area.  Also learn about the threats to bats and how we can help.  A live bat will be presented at the end of the lecture. Field trip portion is limited to 8 participants and you must sign up separately.

3:30pm – 5:00pm: Birding is for everybody… but we have work to do. Round-table discussion hosted by Birdability’s Virginia Rose and Freya McGregor - Free with Festival Registration

Birders and nature lovers with access challenges – we want to hear from you! Birding and the outdoors have the potential to be welcoming, inclusive, safe and accessible to people with disabilities and other health concerns, but there is lots of work ahead of us to make that a reality. Join Birdability Founder and wheelchair user for 48 years Virginia Rose, and Birdability Coordinator and Occupational Therapist Freya McGregor for an informal, solutions-oriented, round-table discussion. We want to learn what you need from the birding community to feel welcome and included, and what you’d like to see at birding locations to enable you to visit them.

Able-bodied birders who are BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ are invited to share their perspectives too; many people have intersecting identities and it is important we are truly inclusive and address all barriers to access whenever possible.

Bird outing leaders, program coordinators and allies who want to learn what they can do to improve inclusion, diversity, equity and access in birding are welcome to attend and contribute meaningfully, although the discussion will be centering those with disabilities and other health concerns. Anyone attending this safe space is expected to be respectful and inclusive, or will be asked to leave.

Please note: This discussion will be recorded. The recording will not be made publicly available but will be used in lieu of us taking notes, so we can take your recommendations and put them into practice in our work to ensure that birding truly is for everybody and everybody. If you have questions about participating in this event, please feel free to email info@birdability.org To learn more about Birdability and our work, please visit birdability.org or follow us on social media @birdability

5:30pm – 7:00pm: Birds and Brew sponsored by Beaumont & Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau–Event is FULL - Free with Festival Registration

Spend an evening at the local brewery and enjoy some food and drink with your birding friends. Share your stories from recent bird trips and learn about new places to explore while drinking and eating–what could be better? Information on location to be given closer to event. Limited to 100 participants.

August 14, 2021:

9:00am – 10:00am: How to Create a Site-Specific Planting Palette for Pollinators and Birds - Free with Festival Registration

This workshop is intended for anyone who is working on a pollinator conservation / habitat / garden project, or thinking about starting one. Carianne Campbell of Strategic Habitat Enhancements will share with you her process for developing a site-specific planting palettes to use as a planning and monitoring tool. The process uses freely available botanical information to build bloom calendars for plant species to ensure your garden will provide overlapping blooms throughout the year. Carianne will also cover other important considerations for choosing species as well as how to not wreck your project with poor maintenance practices.

9:00am – 10:30am: How to Photograph Nature in High Key Style with Lisa Langell sponsored by Tamron - $10/person

High key photography is a powerful, evocative and often ethereal type of photography. It involves creating images where there is a dominance of white or bright tones. For nature photography, it is a type of photography that goes against most “traditional” styles and “rules” of nature photography. It requires the right circumstances—the right light, subject, and settin–in order for the magic of High Key photography to work. When it all comes together, the results can be spectacular! This class will introduce participants to the genre of High Key photography, which can be one of the most artistic forms of nature photography that can be done in-camera and/or a combination of in-camera and post-processing. This  class will help you put it all together and begin photographing in high-key style! You may even find a treasure trove of images in your archives that could work perfectly for this approach!

You will learn:

What lighting conditions are best (and worst) for high-key photography
The settings that are generally recommended for creating high-key work
What foregrounds and backgrounds work best for high key photography
Composition tips for this style of photography
Post-processing tips to create the final look

10:30am – 11:30am: Photography: Hummingbird Photography Workshop with Stephen Vaughan - $10/person

Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 80 times a second, which can present quite the challenge for a photographer. This is the perfect opportunity to learn the specialized techniques needed to create stunning images of hummingbirds. We will cover ambient light, fill-flash and high-speed flash photography techniques. Join professional nature photographer Steve Vaughan for this fantastic opportunity to experience the joys of photographing these flying jewels. You can email Steve at StephenHVaughan@Gmail.com if you have questions.

11:00am – 12:00pm: Moths: A Hidden World of Nocturnal Diversity with Pima County Naturalist Jeff Babson - Free with Festival Registration

Moths are often dismissed as drab creatures whose caterpillars devour our gardens and sweaters.  While some species do exhibit bad habits, the truth is that moths are incredibly diverse, abundant, and easy to observe.  Many moths are strikingly patterned and stunningly beautiful, refuting the idea that these insects are unattractive.  This workshop is an introduction to the vibrant, beautiful, and surprising world of moths.

12:00pm – 1:00pm: Maine: From the Mountains to the Coast with Jacob Roalef - Free with Festival Registration

Join Jacob from Birding Ecotours on a journey of birding in the Northeastern US. From Atlantic Puffins to Bicknell’s Thrush, this amazing region has something every birder will enjoy.

12:30pm – 1:30pm: M?lama Manu: Protect Hawaii’s Birds - Free with Festival Registration

Hawaii is a paradise destination and natural wonderland with lush rainforests, tropical coral reefs, snowcapped summits, and barren lava flows. Among Hawaii’s diverse habitats are some of the most unique and rare birds in the world. Mandy Talpas, Hawaii’s premier bird guide and conservationist, invites you to learn about Hawaii’s endemic birds battling extinction and the projects in place to help save them.

1:30pm – 2:30pm: Birding in Big Bend National Park: Death Marches, Tobacco Trees, & Windmills with Lee Hoy - Free with Festival Registration

Would you like to learn more about birding in Big Bend National Park? Then join Lee Hoy, who began birding in Big Bend over 30 years ago, as we explore the hotspots and expected birds in the park. Learn tips on finding the most species, what times of year should you come, and learn insider tips on lodging, food, and travel. Enjoy some great images of the birds, wildlife and scenery in the park as well.

2:00pm – 3:00pm: A Beginner’s Look at Dragonflies and Damselflies in Southeast Arizona with Laurens Halsey - Free with Festival Registration

Have you been curious about dragonflies but mystified by the challenge of identifying them? Join Laurens Halsey for a workshop aimed at providing a foundation for how to go about identifying these challenging arthropods. This will be followed by a Sunday field trip aimed at examining some of the odonate diversity found around Southeast Arizona. Field trip portion is limited to 8 participants and you must sign up separately.

3:00pm – 4:00pm: Assessing Color and Form in Arizona Birds with Catherine Hamilton - Free with Festival Registration

Join artist and Zeiss ambassador, Catherine Hamilton for a drawing class focused on the birds of Arizona. See some of Catherine’s work at https://blogs.zeiss.com/sports-optics/birding/en/author/catherinehamilton/.

6:00pm – 8:00pm: Southeast Arizona Birding Festival Banquet & Culmination - $45/person

Wrap up your festival experience with us as we celebrate more than just the new birds we’ve seen, but also the movement that birding is becoming. You’ll enjoy a delicious meal, visit with friends, and hear from guest speaker, Richard Crossley, author of the Crossley ID Guide series.

Richard’s talk, “Past, Present, and Future”, will include tales of lessons learned while growing up in the wild British birding scene, from travels around the world, to living in Japan and settling down in his birding utopia, Cape May, NJ. It will be a fast-paced story told in a Yorkshire brogue, through a camera lens that loves color and art, but with a strong point of view. With humor and depth Richard will also highlight the thoughts behind the revolutionary ‘The Crossley ID Guide’ series to self-publishing his latest guide on Waterfowl.  But is changing how we look at books and birds enough? ‘Heck, no!’ says Richard, ‘these are exciting times, and tomorrow must become a new day’. Come and listen to Richard’s optimistic outlook for birding, lifestyles and conservation. It’s sure to change the way you think!

Dates: August 11 - 14, 2021


Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Tucson – Reid Park,
445 S. Alvernon Way,
Tucson, AZ 85711.

Register Here

Click here for more information.