Southwest Wings Birding Festival 2016

Arts and Entertainment

June 9, 2016

From: Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival

Schedule of Events:

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

12:00-1:30 Hummingbirds 101- Tom Wood - Horace Steele Room
From their insect-like flight to the brilliant iridescence of their plumage, hummingbirds have long fascinated birders and non-birders alike. In this program, Tom Wood of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory answers many of the most common questions about these often misunderstood birds, including how to attract and feed them and how scientists are revealing new and surprising information about their behavior and adaptations.

1:30-3:00 Cochise County Wildflowers - Cado Daily- Horace Steele Room
Pinks, reds, blues, whites, yellows (can't forget those!) are the rainbow of paints native wildflowers use to color Cochise County. At this talk, we'll identify some familiar wildflowers like milkweeds ("Antelope Horns", Climbing Milkweed), composites (Blackfoot Daisy, Bahia) and morning glories (Pink throated morning glory, Scarlet Creeper) as well as identify flowers a little less well-known. The presentation will also touch on what wildflowers you can grow in your yard too!

3:00-4:30 Venomous Reptiles of Southeastern Arizona- Roger Cogan- Horace Steele 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.

4:30-6:00 Introduction to Birding by Ear - Rick Romea - Horace Steele Room
Ever wonder what the bird guidebooks mean when they say:   'a noisy twittering call ' or 'a thin whistle'.  Or how about 'dry chip' or 'liquid trill'.   In this class, we will start to develop a common language to describe bird vocalizations, using examples from common southwest birds.  We will learn to characterize bird sounds as to common types and sound qualities.  Then we will introduce some of the simple trick that take the mystery out of birding by ear, including: name- saying, mneumonics and memory tricks, cadence and sound quality tip-offs, sound-alike birds, and figuring out trillers.

6:00- 7:30 Why do birdwatchers Love Birds? - Dorian Anderson- Horace Steele Room
There are as many answers to this question as there are individual birdwatchers. Now 37, Dorian Anderson has been obsessed with birds since he was 7 years old. As a child, birding functioned as a gateway to the natural world. As a teenager, it introduced him to life long friends. As an adult, it afforded him the opportunity to travel the world while concurrently focusing his attention on issues of environmental and ecological sustainability. Most recently, an obsession with bird photography has provided a platform for him to share his love of birds and the natural world with others. His talk will highlight selected stories from his personal birding history, and, through these stories, try to answer the question of what it is about birds we find so fascinating. His blend of birds, environmentalism, biology, photography, story telling, and humor should not be missed!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

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

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.

9:00-10:30 Sky Island Wildlife Tracking- Vincent Pinto - Room 900
The Sky Islands of southeast Arizona are renowned for the fascinating and diverse fauna that inhabits our sublime corner of the state.  Discover how to find, identify, and interpret the tracks and signs left by of a wide variety of native species: birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates. Despite the fact that wild animals are very secretive & elusive, they often leave ample evidence of themselves in the form of tracks & signs. In this fascinating Wildlife Tracking Presentation with Wildlife Biologist & Naturalist Vincent Pinto, you will learn the key concepts of Tracking in the field. Now you will be able to keep track of the amazing wildlife in the Sky Islands and track: Black Bear, Mountain Lion, Bobcat, Gray Fox, Coyote, Raccoon, White-nosed Coati, Ringtail, Collared Peccary, Deer, Rabbit, and the elusive and magnificent jaguar and ocelot!

10:30-12:00 - Preserving Sonoran Traditions - Mike Foster -Room 900
Mike Foster will show his video recordings of the remaining groups of Native Americans in our neighboring state of Sonora Mexico. Other of his videos will cover the relationship of these people with their lands focusing especially on their use of medicinal and edible plants.  Mike has been making a series of videos for the Clinica Intregal Almas in Alamos Sonora to help preserve local people's traditions of natural healing and natural foods. He will have a number of these commonly used plants on hand for people to see.  Sonora Origin of Many Species and the Northern Sierra Madre Evergreen Woodland Walk 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.  Mike Foster will present videos on these species and discuss where they can be found.  The presentation will be followed by a hike concentrating on edible and useful plants 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 southern most plant communities.

10:30-12:00 - 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.

12:00-1:30 Mexican Wolves in Arizona and New Mexico- Jeff Dolphin - Horace Steel Room
A project overview and update on the wild population of Mexican wolves in Arizona and New Mexico.  Key points of the presentation will discuss management of the wild  Mexican Wolf population by the Inter Agency Field Team, expanded recovery area boundaries and the new 10j rule, and project concerns and obstacles in the future for Mexican Wolf recovery and management.

1:30-3:00 10,00 Years on Arizona's San Pedro River- Mike Conway - Horace Steel Room
In 2009 a team of Arizona Geological Survey geologists mapped Holocene deposits (sands and gravels) along a 110 mile stretch of the San Pedro River from the US-Mexico Frontier to the confluence with the Gila River near Winkelman, Arizona. Their findings inform a a 76 page report and 14 geologic map sheets which detail the geologic processes involved and the areal extent of fresh geologic deposits.  To better inform the public of the recent geologic history of the San Pedro River Valley, we build a "Story Map" of images, illustrations and graphics.  We'll present that story map and additional information regarding the recent history of Arizona's last free flowing river system.

3:00-4:30 Magnificent Mammals of the Sonoran Desert Region - 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.

3:00-4:30 Warblers and 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

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.

4:30-6:00 Creating a Naturescape - Karen LeMay -Horace Steel Room
As birdwatchers well know, watching wildlife is addictive. What better way to observe and support wildlife than by providing food, shelter and migration stopover points in our gardens, common areas, and roadsides. By creating a nature-scape, we partner with nature, rather than fight it with non-native plants, fertilizers and pesticides. Nature-scaping is finally catching on in this country due in part to the media's focus on the swift decline in Monarch butterflies. Returning a garden to a more natural state using local native plants that thrive in our poor southwestern soils and climate is a logical response to habitat loss from residential development. Selfishly, it provides the gardener, photographer or observer with a lifetime of biology lessons in their own backyard.
Join Karen LeMay, an avid wildlife habitat gardener and founder of the nonprofit, Pollinator Corridors Southwest, to learn about the diverse pollinators of the southwest and how to let nature be the inspiration for a garden. Karen will be showing images taken by local professional wildlife photographers of southwest birds, bats, butterflies and other insects, along with the locally native plants that have evolved with them.

Friday, August 5, 2016

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

7:30-9:00 Birdwatching on Campus - Kathe Anderson - Meet in front of 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 will head back indoors to go over a list of what we've seen and answer questions.  Walking Difficulty:  Easy

8:00-12:00 Sonora Origin of Many Species and the Northern Sierra Madre Evergreen Woodland Walk- Mike Foster Room 900
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.  Mike Foster will present videos on these species and discuss where they can be found.  The presentation will be followed by a hike concentrating on edible and useful plants 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 southern most plant communities.

9:30-11:00 Birding With a Camera- Tony Batiste - Horace Steele 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 blinds, "baiting", use of natural perches will all be covered, time permitting.

9:30-11:00 How not to be eaten when you are a small delicious insect Room - 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.

11:00-12:30 Living With Bears - Mark Hart - Horace Steele Room
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.

11:00-12:30 Basic to Bizarre Bird Behavior - Kathe Anderson - Room 900
The program will explore multiple facets of bird behavior from daily eating and preening to more unique, fascinating and sometimes unexplained habits of migration and mating dances. What is anting? Do crows conduct funerals? Can cormorants count at least to eight? This interactive presentation will include a range of common behaviors and tips for identifying birds according to their behaviors.

12:30-2:00 Ants - Dwight Long - Horace Steele Room
Join Dwight Long, a local photographer and Friends of the San Pedro River docent, for a presentation geared toward those who would like to know more about ant behavior. The program will cover local ant species and is focused on red harvester ants, one of the more prominent ants found in the San Pedro River area.  Other local ant species will be addressed such as the spine-waisted ants, field ants, army ants, leaf cutter ants, and honey ants. Dwight will reference research results from experts and leading entomologists along with personal observations supplemented with close-up photos of local ants. Major topics that will be covered are physical characteristics, communication, intelligence, and social activities of ants.

12:30-2:00 Mexican Spotted Owls in Miller Canyon - C W Melton Room 900
In the summer of 2012 a Mexican Spotted Owl nest was discovered in Miller Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona.  This photo and video presentation will follow the development of the youngster both in and out of the nest.  Video of interesting behaviors and interactions between members of the family will be shown.  Diet preferences based on examination of regurgitated pellets will be discussed. Background information on the species distribution and taxonomic status will also be presented. Find out where and when Mexican Spotted Owls can be observed in the area.

2:00-3:30 The Mammals of the Sonoran Desert: An Introduction to their diversity and adaptations - Sergio Avila - Conservation Research Scientist, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - Horace Steele Room
The Sonoran Desert hosts a great diversity of life forms from insects to plants to mammals, making it a biodiversity hotspot in North America. The Sonoran Desert is more than cacti-filled lands: the region includes high mountains, low deserts, riparian areas and coastal and marine environments, mixing temperate and tropical mammal species adapted to life in the most humid desert in the world. Large predators like jaguars, mountain lions, and Black bears; medium-sized carnivores like badgers and ocelots; large groups of javelina, coati or bats all share the valleys, canyons, mountains and streams of the Sonoran Desert. Come hear the stories of a Wildlife Biologist working to preserve these magnificent animals and the region they call home.

2:00-3:30 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 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.

3:30-5:00 Beginner's Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds - CW Melton -Horace Steele Room
This program is for hummingbird enthusiasts interested in learning how to identify the hummingbird species in this area. Identifying field marks will be discussed for each species along with male and female differences, seasonal changes, and habitat preferences. Also presented will be situations which may make identifications more difficult including molting, abnormal coloration (leucism, albinism), and hybridization. Our skills will be put to the test with a carpool field trip to a nearby hummingbird viewing location on private property. The field trip will occur on the following day, Sat. Aug. 6, from 8am to noon. The number of field trip participants is limited to 12 and requires a $3 donation to the viewing location host, Pollinator Corridors Southwest. It is not necessary to participate in the field trip to attend this lecture program. There will be a sign up sheet in the back of the room.

3:30-5:00 Monsoonology - Glenn Minuth Monsoonology Room 900
Is it a weather or climate influence that drives this phenomenon?  What  makes a monsoon?  How much do you know about the Arizona's Monsoon?  This discussion examines the causes and definitions of the monsoon as well as exploring its mechanisms through demonstrations, as well as revealing the most recent research results.  This topic involves the interaction of gulf surges, upper level lows, among a host of other topics.

5:00-6:30 Sparrow Tales: Discovering Brown Birds - Rick Wright - Horace Steele Room
Small, brown, and boring right? Anything but! While we may think of sparrow watching as a sort of contemplation practiced on bright, chilly mornings, the explorers and ornithologists responsible for discovering and describing these familiar birds might have a very different opinion. The annals of American ornithology are full of untold tales of daring and danger in the pursuit of these little brown birds, and our appreciation of the discoverers' exploits will make sure that we never dismiss any of them as "just a sparrow" again. Join Rick Wright to learn more about the surprising circumstances of science's first encounters with some of our familiar birds.

7:30-10:00 PM Insect Field Trip (carpool Meet at Ramsey Canyon Preserve) Margarethe Brummermann
We will meet at Ramsey Canyon Preserve in Ramsey 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.  Please note that parking at the preserve is limited….carpooling is strongly suggested.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

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

8:00-12:00 Beginner's Guide to Hummingbirds - CW Melton Carpool Fieldtrip - Room 900
Improve your hummingbird identification skills with this carpool field trip to a hummingbird viewing location on private property at the entrance to Ash Canyon, about 15 miles south of Sierra Vista. A $3 donation to Pollinator Corridors Southwest is required to attend this field trip. All participants must attend the Beginner's Guide to Identifying Hummingbirds program on Aug. 5, 3:30-5pm. The number of participants is limited to 12.

8:00-12:00 Ancient Paleozoic Seas with ½ day carpool field trip - Glenn Minuth - Meet Room 900
Ancient Seas and Local Paleozoic Limestones (Between Bisbee and Tombstone - Part 2) Description:  Rocks of the Paleozoic Era contain a variety of stratigraphic units and fossils that yield information about conditions that prevailed at the time the rocks were formed.  These rocks indicate that during much of this portion of Arizona's geologic story, it was either covered entirely or partly by marine waters.  We will be interested in understanding what marine organisms existed in these conditions that were buried in sand or mud and preserved as fossils.  Our trip begins where we left of at the end of Part  1 in the Escabrosa Limestone Formation.  Carpool, bring sun protection, and no hiking, just roadside stops.

9:30-11:00 - Beginning Birding for all Ages - Tom Clancy -Horace Steele 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.

11:00-12:30 Living with Snakes - Melissa Amarello - Horace Steele Room
This presentation will answer the most common question we get: What do I do about snakes in my yard? We'll discuss our recommendations for how to manage backyard snakes, based on the latest research and our own observations of wild snake behavior. Not to be missed for anyone that lives, works, or plays in snake country.

12:30-2:00 Gray Hawk Diet, Productivity and Habitat in Southeastern Arizona:  Implications of Range Expansion - Ariana La Port -Horace Steele 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 oder 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 30 km 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 inceased 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.

2:00-3:00 HUMMINGBIRDS: Flying Jewels of Arizona!!- Karen Krebbs
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!

3:30-5:00 Recent Population Dynamics of Elegant Trogon in SE AZ - Rick Taylor - Horace Steele Room
Annual late spring population surveys of Elegant Trogons, Trogon elegans, in the Chiricahua Mountains have been conducted using volunteer observers since 1978, and, intermittently, in the Huachuca Mountains since 1981.  Beginning in 2013, with the help of volunteers recruited by the Tucson Audubon Society, similar surveys have been undertaken in the Atascosa, Santa Rita, and Patagonia Mountains, as well as continuing in the Huachuca and Chiricahua Mountains.  Protocols for conducting trogon censuses, as well as the problems in obtaining reliable results are discussed.  Population trends are reviewed for all five mountain ranges presently known to harbor breeding Elegant Trogons, as well as possible explanations for population changes.

Date: August 3 - 6, 2016

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

For details: