Tucson Meet Your Birds, a free event Saturday at Sweetwater Wetlands, will showcase the beauty and importance of the area’s abundant bird life and offer an opportunity to learn the basics of bird-watching with guidance from members of the Tucson Audubon Society.
Presented by the society and Tucson Water, operator of the wetlands, the 7 a.m.-1 p.m. event will feature bird-watching along tree-lined paths and ponds at the 20-acre site northwest of the Prince Road exit from Interstate 10.
Audubon Society birding experts will be stationed around the wetlands with spotting scopes to help visitors see birds, and binoculars will be available for visitors to borrow.
Wildlife rehabilitation groups will have live birds available for viewing, and Tucson Water representatives plan to offer information on water conservation and wetlands operations. Several food trucks will provide refreshments for sale.
“This event is designed to create an easy opportunity for birds to touch people’s lives.” said Karen Fogas, executive director of the Audubon Society. “Many Tucson locals don’t realize that southeast Arizona is an important region in our country that hosts over 500 different bird species throughout the year.”
Jennie MacFarland, bird biologist with the society, noted some of the birds that visitors might see at the wetlands.
“We are at the tail end of fall migration so there are still a few moving through, and our wintering species are starting to show up,” MacFarland said. “We’ll see yellow-rumped warblers, orange-crowned warblers and waterfowl such as American wigeon and northern shoveler, that spend the winter here in Tucson. This time of year is a great moment of transition.”
The spotting scopes will provide a “pretty amazing” close-up view of birds, said Sara Pike, marketing director for Tucson Audubon.
“To see the details of colors and feathers can really turn someone on to noticing a bird they may have overlooked otherwise,” Pike said.