Hummingbirds are hypnotic.
Their iridescent colors, their fast-beating (80 beats per second) wings, the long beaks that slurp food that is up to three times their weight.
It’s no wonder they are being celebrated — 2017 is the Tucson Audubon Society’s Year of the Hummingbird.
They, as well as many other species of our flying friends, will be the focus of the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival, Aug. 10-13.
The festival will feature field trips, workshops, and talks.
“We have people (come) from all over,” Luke Stafford, volunteer coordinator for the festival, says. “Tucson has so much to offer besides birds — nature, the great food. I like talking to people about how great Tucson is.”
Field trips — among the more popular events — are planned for such spots as Catalina State Park and the Huachuca Mountains. There are workshops on photography, and talks on owls, wolves and jaguars. There are close to 60 events spread over the four-day festival.
So it’ll be hard to choose. But Safford, who says the annual fest draws participants from Tucson and around the country, has a suggestion:
“Go to the free talks. As a local I think those are the best things to go to.” Most of those will be at the Nature Expo at the Arizona Riverpark Inn.
About 250 people are registered so far, but Safford says they expect upwards of 500 to attend.
A sampling of what’s in store:
Catalina State Park with Kathe Anderson and Tom Dunkerton. 6-10 a.m. Aug. 11, $45 per person. A variety of birds are in the park; be prepared for a mildly difficult hike.
Youth Birder Outing at Sweetwater Wetlands. 7-9 a.m. Aug. 12. Free. This event is perfect for young birders ages 6-17. This is an easy walk through the wetlands and binoculars are included.
Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum with Cynthia Pruett. 7-11 a.m. Aug. 13. $45 per person. A stroll through the museum grounds with an expert.
Photography Classroom Workshop with Paul Bannick, 10 a.m.-noon, Aug. 13, $20. Bannick is a master bird photographer.