Southwest Wings Birding Festival 2015

Arts and Entertainment

June 15, 2015

From: Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival

Wednesday July 29

Wednesday 12:00-1:30 -Gray Hawk Diet, Productivity and Habitat in Southeastern Arizona: Implications of Range Expansion Ariana LaPort -Horace Steel Room
The Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus) population in southeastern Arizona has been increasing since it was first censused in the 1980s, particularly along the upper San Pedro River and into the nearby Huachuca Mountains (Glinski 1988, Bibles 2004, Dorr 2011). In order to shed light on the causes and consequences of this expansion, I examine Gray Hawk diet and foraging habitat in historical and newly established territories and estimate nest density and success. In my 2014 pilot season, I monitored Gray Hawk nests along a 30km stretch of the Upper San Pedro River and analyzed Gray Hawk diet in 3 territories that differed in habitat, historical occupancy, and water permanence. Nest density in this area increased by 30% since the last census in 2011, with some nests as close as 400m apart. Diet and habitat analysis revealed that surrounding vegetation could influence prey selection. More samples are needed to detect patterns in foraging behavior, and in 2015 I expanded my study to include nests in the Huachuca Mountains and along Sonoita Creek.

Wednesday 1:30 3:00 pm - Venomous Reptiles of Southeastern Arizona Roger Cogan - Horace Steel Room
This region of the Sky Islands where the tropical influences of the Sierra Madres from the south, the Rocky Mountains from the north, the Sonoran desert from west and the Chihuahuan desert from the east come together to create a region of unique biodiversity, like no other on our planet. Arizona has thirteen species of rattlesnakes, more than any state in the U.S. As well as several lesser known species that are mildly venomous. Arizona is also the stronghold for one of the few venomous lizards in the world.

This presentation will focus on the venomous reptiles that may be found in Santa Cruz and southern Cochise counties in extreme southeastern Arizona.

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake & && (Crotalus atrox)
Rock Rattlesnake &&& (Crotalus lepidus)
Black-tailed Rattlesnake &&& (Crotalus molossus)
Twin-spotted Rattlesnake &&& (Crotalus pricei)
Mohave Rattlesnake &&& (Crotalus scutulatus)
Tiger Rattlesnake &&& (Crotalus tigris)
Ridge-nosed Rattlesnake &&& (Crotalus willardi)
Desert Massasauga &&& (Sistrurus catenatus)
Regal Ringneck Snake &&& (Diadophis punctatus regalis)
Spotted Nightsnake &&& (Hypsiglena torquata ochrorhynchus)
Sonoran Coral Snake &&& (Micruroides euryxanthus)
Brown Vine Snake && & (Oxybelis aeneus)
Western Lyre Snake &&& (Trimorphodon biscutalus)

Wednesday 3:00-5:00 -10,000 years on Arizona's San Pedro River - Mike Conway and Joe Cook -Horace Steel Room
Protecting the world's northernmost jaguars. Renowned for their power, strength, beauty and grace jaguars once roamed across much of the southern United States. Today, these magnificent predators are vanishing throughout the Americas. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the U.S. Mexico borderlands. Removed from their historic northern range by poaching and habitat destruction, jaguars have all but disappeared from this part of their territory. Dozens of jaguars have been killed just south of the U.S. Mexico border in the last decade alone. Join members of the Northern Jaguar Project to discover what is being done to help them survive. The presentation will include a discussion of the distribution of jaguars in the southwestern United States prior to government and rancher extirpation programs.

Wednesday 5:00-6:30 -Butterflies for Birders - Priscilla Brodkin Horace Steel Room
Add a new dimension to your field trip experience with ID's of the endemic Arizona Sister, the bright yellow Two-tailed Swallowtail and the lustrous blue Spring Azure. This program is a MUST SEE for birding, butterfly and dragonfly field trips. Join Priscilla Brodkin, (co-author with Bob Stewart and Hank Brodkin of the book, Butterflies of Arizona-A Photographic Guide) for a PowerPoint adventure into the realm of Arizona's butterflies. You can use your birding skills to observe and ID butterflies, butterflies' defense mechanisms, food and nectar plants, and some basic butterfly gardening will also be discussed.

Thursday July 30

Registration Desk Open 5:00 am to 6:00 pm

Thursday 9:00-10:30 - Optics for Birders - Eric Moore - Horace Steel Room
Take the mystery out of selecting and buying binoculars and spotting scopes. What does a diopter do? What does 8x32 or 10x42 mean exactly? Learn why field of view, eye relief and brightness are important factors in choosing the right optic for you. Do you really need a spotting scope? Is a $500 pair of binoculars really better than a $200 pair? Is HD glass important? What makes a really outstanding pair of binoculars great? Eric Moore, owner of Jay's Bird Barn, will share with you important information to consider when purchasing optics for bird watching, sporting events, concerts, and more.

Thursday 9:00-10:30 Sky Islands Invertebrates - Diminutive Dazzlers! - Vincent Pinto - Room 900
The Sky Islands or Madrean Archipelago of Arizona is endowed with a truly mind boggling array of Invertebrates. Naturalist and Wildlife Biologist Vincent Pinto will guide you into a world where flashy subtropical Beetles roam the monsoonal landscape, where Flies eat large Wasps, and Harvester Ants are killed by ninja-like Spiders! Each species covered boasts an intriguing natural history and fascinating evolutionary tale. Using a combination of beautiful slides, preserved specimens, and live creatures, Vincent will help you discover the magic of this Lilliputian world!

Thursday 10:30-12:00 - Cochise County Wildflowers - Cado Daly - Horace Steel Room
From the San Pedro River through the valleys and into the mountains, Cochise County has spectacular native wildflowers . This talk is an introduction to some commonly seen flowering plants such as Wright's Buckwheat, Arizona Caltrop, Arizona Blue Eyes, Pink Throat Morning Glory, and some seen but not noticed such as the Whiteflower dalea (a butterfly magnet) and Watson's Dutchman's Pipe (a favorite of the pipevine swallowtail butterfly caterpillar).

Thursday 10:30-12:00 - People of the Southwest and Nature - Mike Foster - Room 900
Mike Foster will show his video recordings of the remaining original groups of Americans in the Desert Southwest. These videos will feature the relationship of people and Nature especially their use of medicinal and edible plants. The projects will show the people with their music, art, clothing, plants, animals and landscapes. In several videos there is no narration in order to keep the material free from interpretation. There will be scenes of Apache, Mayos, Guarijio, Sonorans and mostly O'odham. The O'odham videos were made for the year of Human Heritage in the El Pinacate y Gran Desierto de Altar Biosphere Reserve.

Thursday 12:00-1:30 - Birding with a Camera -Tony Batiste - Horace Steel Room
With the advent of digital photography, getting decent bird photos has become available to just about anyone with basic photo gear, the time, patience, perseverance, and willingness to learn a few basic principles of bird photography. In this short presentation I hope to share a few points of "shooting" birds that may help you improve on what you are already doing. Proper gear, camera settings, shoot locations, use of blinds, "baiting", use of natural perches, will all be covered, time permitting

Thursday 1:30-3:00 Northern Jaguar Project - Diana Hadley - Horace Steel Room
Protecting the world's northernmost jaguars. Renowned for their power, strength, beauty and grace jaguars once roamed across much of the southern United States. Today, these magnificent predators are vanishing throughout the Americas. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the U.S. Mexico borderlands. Removed from their historic northern range by poaching and habitat destruction, jaguars have all but disappeared from this part of their territory. Dozens of jaguars have been killed just south of the U.S. Mexico border in the last decade alone. Join members of the Northern Jaguar Project to discover what is being done to help them survive. The presentation will include a discussion of the distribution of jaguars in the southwestern United States prior to government and rancher extirpation programs.

Thursday 3:00-4:30 Warblers & Flycatchers - Homer Hansen - Room 900
Warblers and flycatchers are challenging to identify. This presentation will focus on characteristics, behaviors, and other clues for identification of key species from these bird families in southeast Arizona. Both visual and audio presentations will be given for those really interested in learning about warblers and flycatchers. This presentation has a paid Field Trip (please see the field trip section for registration) that will visit appropriate habitats to observe and practice what was covered.

Thursday 3:00-4:30 Magnificent Mammals of Southern Arizona- Aletris Neils - Horace Steel Room
Southern Arizona is a hotspot for North American mammalian diversity. Home to impressive apex predators such as jaguars, pumas, and bears, the area is also inhabited by lesser known and spectacular mammals like fierce grasshopper mice, speedy shrews, adaptable opossums, and astounding bats. Come and learn about these magnificent mammals and the region they call home.

Thursday 4:30-6:00 Rocky Road to Recovery: Mexican Gray Wolves in the Southwest - Jean Ossorio - Horace Steel Room
The first captive Mexican gray wolves were released in the Apache National Forest in eastern Arizona in 1998. Seventeen years later, successive generations of lobos have made significant progress in establishing territories, killing native ungulates, and raising litters of wild-born pups. This presentation examines the current state of the Mexican wolf reintroduction. It explores the effects of separate listing as an endangered subspecies and of a new experimental, non-essential population rule adopted in early 2015, as well litigation and political threats at the federal and state levels.

Thursday 4:30-6:00 AZ Dragonflies Especially their Sex Lives - Rich Bailowitz - Room 900
Southeastern Arizona's wetland habitats include canyon streams, ponds, reservoirs, rain pools, irrigated fields and spring-fed cienegas. All of these offer a rich, colorful, and initially confusing assortment of dragonflies and damselflies. Several new field guides and the advent of close-focus binoculars have encouraged birders and butterflyers to turn their optics toward these fascinating aquatic insects. After explaining the benefits of watching them, Rich will present an introduction to Arizona's dragons and damsels, differentiating the characteristics of the two groups, discussing something of their life history, behavior and habitats, and providing some suggestions for recognizing them in the field.

Friday July 31

Registration Desk Open 5:00 am - 6:00 pm

Friday 7:30-9:00 Birdwatching on Campus - Kathe Anderson - Meet outside Room 900
This is an introduction to local birds easily seen in and around campus, geared for beginning adults who are interested in what may be showing up in their backyards. As we stroll the grounds, we'll talk about the common species, vocalizations and behaviors. At about 8:45 we'll head back indoors to go over a list of what we've seen and answer questions.

Friday 8:00-9:30 Sky Islands Ethnobotany with carpool fieldtrip - Vincent Pinto Room 900 (carpool field trip to follow)
Ethnobotanist, Naturalist, and Wildlife Biologist Vincent Pinto, will guide you in discovering some of the amazing and useful native plants of the Sky Islands region. Venturing into several habitat types, you'll soon discover how to find, identify, collect and use a wide variety of wild native plants. Plant uses will include wild edibles, rope-making, medicinals, fire-making (without matches), shelters, tools, glue and more! Vincent will demonstrate several skills using these versatile native species. Be sure to pack a lunch, a hat, comfortable shoes, sunscreen and plenty of water bottles. (Carpool Field Trip - Maximum 12 participants)

Friday 8:00-12:00 Sonora Origin of Many Species and the Northern Sierra Madre Evergreen Woodland Walk -Mike Foster - Horace Steel Room (Carpool fieldtrip to follow)
The San Pedro River Valley and surrounding sky island mountain ranges mark the northern limit of many plants and animals from the subtropical Sierra Madre Mountains to the south. Mike Foster will present videos on these species and discuss where they can be found. The presentation will be followed by a hike in a healthy madrean evergreen woodland surrounding the Carr House Information Center in the Huachuca Mountains. This is a good place to see many bird species and observe some of Arizona's southernmost plant communities.

Friday 9:30-11:00 Reptiles - Tomas Miscione - Horace Steel Room
Learn about Reptiles and Amphibians of southeastern Arizona from a reptile nut! Through photos and live animals, by hands-on experience and humor, find out how to understand and appreciate the beauty, habits, and habitats of these misunderstood desert creatures.

Friday 9:30-11:00 Living with Bears - Mark Hart (AZDGF) - Room 900

Join Arizona Game and Fish to learn about bears. Presentation will include life history, distribution, management principles and sport harvest. Find out why are increasing urban/human encounters and how to learn to live with bears in both urban and rural environments. Get informed about local bear issues….the bears will thank you.

Friday 11:00-12:30 Myths, Tall Tales and True Stories - Kathe Anderson - Horace Steel Room
In the amazing bird world, it's sometimes difficult to distinguish fact from fantasy. In this presentation, featuring hummingbirds, raptors and ravens, among other species that figure prominently in cultural folklore, test yourself to see if you can tell which stories are too weird to be true. Why are these stories important, whether believable or not?

Friday 11:00-12:30 How to Avoid Being Eaten: If You're an Insect - Margarethe Brummermann - Room 900
Insects face predators among all other life forms it seems, even fungi and plants are after them. But my talk will concentrate on the interaction between insects and predators from the animal kingdom. There will be chemical weapons, the pretense to be armed and dangerous, camouflage and warning colors and even audio interactions. Insects use all of it. All examples can be found in SE Arizona.

Friday 12:30-2:00 A Nature Photographer in Southeast Arizona - Charles Melton - Horace Steel Room
Since moving to southeast Arizona in 2003, Charles W. Melton has spent much of his time observing and recording images of the wide variety of nature subjects in the area. This program will highlight many of these subjects and will include images of birds, insects, mammals, and reptiles. Many of the most sought after specialties of the area will be represented as well as lesser known, but equally fascinating, subjects. Images of some difficult to observe nocturnal animals will be shown as well. Photo sequences and video will be used to present interesting behaviors

Friday 12:30-2:00 The Exciting Night Life of Bats! - Karen Krebbs - Room 900
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. Nectar bats visit and pollinate columnar cactus and succulents in our area. A live bat will be presented at the end of the lecture.

Friday 2:00-3:30 National Wildlife Refuges of Cochise County - Chris Lohrengrelo - Horace Steel Room
Cochise County, Arizona contains some of the most abundant and unique fish and wildlife in the nation. San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge and Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge are two special areas in southeast Arizona administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that were set aside to help recover several federally-listed threatened and endangered species, including 4 species of native fish. At least 330 bird species have been confirmed on the refuges, including many nesting species. In addition, 63 mammal, 42 reptile, 13 amphibian, and 8 fish species have been documented. The refuges lie within the Rio Yaqui Basin, a large watershed that drains portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua. Come hear and see why these refuges were established, what fish and wildlife they protect, how the areas are managed, and learn how you can visit and enjoy them.

Friday 3:30-5:00 Whose Fault is it: Revisiting the 1887 Sonoran Earthquake - Glenn Minuth - Room 900
The 1887 quake was a major earthquake causing damage in the southwest U.S. and Mexico. Just how close is the Pitaycachi Fault to Cochise County and how has this fault been studied recently to analyze its reactivation potential? Glenn Minuth examines pictures of the fault to discuss its geological significance and reviews historic damage pictures and narrative accounts from those who recorded their thoughts at the time from some of the over 200 Arizona locations, in nearby states, and Mexico.

Friday 3:30-5:00 Hummingbirds of the United States - CW Melton - Horace Steel Room
Hummingbirds are fascinating creatures and southeast Arizona is one of the best areas in the U.S. to view them. This video program is the product of six years of shooting video of hummingbirds in the U.S. This program provides information on identification tips, range, habitat preferences, and migration patterns for most of the species occurring in the U.S. Behaviors such as nesting, feeding, bathing, courtship, territorial defense, singing and many others will be shown. Information on where to view hummingbirds in the area will also be discussed.

Friday 5:00-6:30 From Billions to None - Joel Greenberg - Horace Steel Room
From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction reveals the compelling story of the unlikely extinction of the passenger pigeon. For millennia, the sleek long-distance flyer was the most abundant bird in North America and perhaps the world. Then, in a matter of decades, it was hunted to extinction. On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last passenger pigeon in captivity, died in the Cincinnati Zoo, marking the end of the species. This award-winning film follows naturalist and author Joel Greenberg, A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction, (Bloomsbury USA, 2014), as well as scientists, artists and teachers that are drawn to this literal teachable moment and its striking relevance to conservation challenges today.

Friday8:00-10:00 Insect Field Trip (carpool Meet at Carr House) - Margarethe Brummermann - Carr House
We will meet at Carr House in Carr Canyon. This is a very rich area within in the juniper-oak belt of the Huachuca Mountains. We will use black lights and a Mercury Vapor light to attract night active insects to white sheets. The insects will sit there quietly and can be photographed. We will turn on the lights at sun set and keep them going throughout the night weather permitting, because flight activity of insects varies by species and especially the big moths can arrive very late. Of course, participants can come and go as they chose. Flash lights are recommended to see the insects on the sheet and they are a must if you want to walk around and look at the surroundings. (Directions to Carr House. Follow RT 90/92 South to a right on Carr Canyon Rd. (by the Mesquite Tree Restaurant). About 6 miles. Take Carr Canyon Rd about 1.7 miles to Carr House sign on the left. Carr Canyon will cross a low water bridge and the pavement will end. Pass the parking lots on the left and right and continue up the hill to Carr House.)

Saturday August 1

Registration Desk Open 5:00 am to 6:00 pm

Saturday 8:00-9:30 Beginning Birding for all Ages - Tom Clancy - Horace Steel Room
If you would like to become a birder, or you are a beginner who wants to improve your birding skills, then this is the workshop for you. You will learn what Tom, an intermediate birder, has learned by trial and error; but you will learn it in a much shorter period of time. Tom's PowerPoint presentation will include: The basics of adjusting binoculars to fit your personal use, a discussion on field guides and clothing, what beginning birders need to know and a discussion on basic bird identification using the GISS (General Impression of Size and Shape). Following the presentation we will take a short field trip around the campus to see and learn about some of the resident birds. Tom will also give you some pointers on how to make your birding time more enjoyable and productive.

Saturday 8:00-12:00 Geology of the Huachuca Mountains HALF DAY FIELD TRIP - Glenn Minuth - Room 900
The Huachuca Mountains contain some of the oldest rocks in the state of Arizona. Glenn Minuth will show you these and other rocks of this range while discussing the geologic processes and history connected with the Huachucas. We'll traverse the range (as Nat. forest and military post security access conditions allow) from the southern end (Montezuma Pass) to the northern end (Kino Springs Fault Zone) to see some selections from the following: walk along/touch an actual fault scarp; observe evidence of faulting through triangular facets; seeing folded rocks; understand trace fossils found in ancient sand dunes; walk over recent and historic debris flows; and view proof of ancient giant volcanic calderas. Difficulty factor: field trip stops to be reached easily via personal vehicle convoy with mostly very short walks with one short hike (1/2 mile & 200 ft. vertical); mostly easy walking with frequent rest stops including some limited bushwhacking and limited traversing of a dry stream channel in moderately rugged terrain. Bring two picture IDs--required to access Fort Huachuca; beverage containers (refill water provided); and sun screen, apparel (hat and shoes) for hiking.

Saturday 9:30-11:00 Vinegaroons - Justin Schmidt - Horace Steel Room
Many people have never seen a vinegaroon, perhaps have never heard of a vinegaroon, yet vinegaroons are abundant and may be the most important predators of insects on high desert grasslands and riparian areas. Sporting large lobster-like pinchers and a long thin hair-like tail, these two inch, strikingly black, strange looking relatives of spiders and scorpions earned their name from the vinegary smell they emit when threatened. Though harmless they have no stinger or venom, cannot bite or meaningfully pinch a person, and are slow moving vinegaroons are far from defenseless. When threatened, they aim at an attacker's eyes and face, a fine spray of concentrated acetic acid some 14 times more concentrated than the acetic acid in the wine vinegar of your salad dressing. This acid spray is so effective a defense that adult vinegaroons have no know predators, large or small. But there is more to these magnificent animals than salad dressing: they have one of the longest and most complex courtship rituals known to science, live for 10 years, and are caring and nurturing moms. We will go on a photo safari visiting all aspects of the lives of these special animals.

Saturday 11:00-12:30 The Joy of Entomology in the American SW! - Carl Olson - Horace Steel Room
Discovering biodiversity has been a lifelong task of mine since arriving at the U of A in 1975. Putting together a collage of insects and spiders is difficult because each story is so interesting. In this presentation I will show you a cross-section of the insect and arachnid life that graces our ecosystem and keeps it healthy and most of all beautiful. All of these animals are important to this world, none evil and conspiring to bring down life forms, but more interested in interacting and being part of the system which I hope to convey as we look at their various developmental forms. Be prepared to be overwhelmed but also stimulated to find and observe these animals in their native haunts when you leave today. Hopefully they will provide you with as much joy and awe as they have me in my lifetime.

Saturday 12:30-2:00 Rattlesnake Family Life - Melissa Amarello - Horace Steel Room
Sure elephants, whales, and birds have families and take care of their kids, BUT SNAKES? In fact they do and we will show you videos of wild rattlesnakes caring for their kids, their neighbor's kids, and exhibiting other behaviors you probably didn't know snakes do. You may never look at snakes the same again.

Saturday 2:00-3:30 HUMMINGBIRDS: Flying Jewels of Arizona!! - Karen Krebbs - Horace Steel Room
Conservation Biologist Karen Krebbs will entertain you with hummingbird facts and fun! Karen has studied hummingbirds for more than 30 years and will share her knowledge on hummingbird identification, behavior, nesting biology, and ways to attract these tiny jewels to your garden and home. Karen oversaw the Hummingbirds of the Sonoran Desert Region Exhibit at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum for 15 years, and will share her knowledge of captive hummingbirds and the successes of this exhibit. Arizona is home to an exciting diversity of hummingbird species and these small energetic pollinators will make you smile and laugh!

Saturday 3:30-5:00 River to Peak - Betsy Kunzer - Horace Steel Room
Join Betsy Kunzer for her latest edition of River to Peak. Take a virtual trip starting in the Upper San Pedro River Valley and moving vertically upward into the surrounding mountains. This is the equivalent of a trip through a great variety of habitats, from the lowlands of northern Mexico to the Peaks of the Colorado Rockies. From riverside through scrubland, grassland, oak woodland and spruce-fir forest, each habitat has its own peculiarities. This photo-program explores this variety emphasizing flowers but sneaking in a few animals, ecology and other things along the way.
Saturday August 1 - Children's Programs - All Children's Programs Room 900 with Jane Chamber and Virginia Bealer

Children under the age of 5 must be accompanied by an adult.
10:30-11:15 Mammal Skulls and Food Web Roles: Examining replica skulls of local mammals, children will make guesses about what they eat and how they fit into the web of life.

11:30-12:15 What Makes a Bird a Bird?
Learn about the parts of a bird's body; how the parts work; and fantasize about being a bird.

1:00-1:45 Understanding Bats!
Many people are afraid of bats-they shouldn't be. Bats are interesting little creatures that help us.

Full Day $85
Half Day $45
Night $45
Overnight varies based on accommodations.

Dates: July 31 - Aug 1, 2015

Location:Cochise College Sierra Vista Campus 901 N. Colombo Ave. Sierra Vista, AZ 85635

For details: