Majestic Madera Canyon — nationally known for its diverse array of winged wildlife ranging from hawks to hummingbirds — will be the site of an International Migratory Bird Day celebration on Saturday.
The free event in the canyon south of Tucson will feature guided bird walks, bird and reptile demonstrations, a bird-watching workshop and children’s activities in a scenic woodland setting.
Activities for the 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. celebration will be centered at the canyon’s White House Picnic Area. Normal parking fees will be waived for the day.
HIGH SEASON FOR BIRDS
“We’re right in the middle of migration, so there are lots of the birds in the canyon right now and some of them have gone on stupendous journeys to get here,” said Doug Moore, director of education for the Friends of Madera Canyon. The group is cosponsoring the bird day events with the U.S. Forest Service.
“We have (migratory) birds from Central and South America in the canyon now,” Moore said. “Some of them will continue north as the migration continues.”
SPECIES TO SEE
Some 260 species of birds have been observed in and around Madera Canyon, and visitors Saturday are likely to see plenty of avian color.
“We’ll definitely see Madera specialties like the Mexican jay, Arizona woodpecker, painted redstart and bridled titmouse,” Moore said.
Other sought-after species in the canyon include elegant trogons, dusky-capped flycatchers and Bell’s vireos.
“We have gray hawks nesting in the canyon, and of course there are hummingbirds,” Moore said.
Free bird-watching and nature walks, led by docent naturalists with the Friends of Madera Canyon, begin at the White House Picnic Area at 9, 10 and 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The walks will cover a little more than a half-mile and will last an hour or more.
Bring water, binoculars, hiking shoes, sunscreen, hat and snacks.
The Tucson Audubon Society will hold birding workshop activities from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Santa Rita Lodge in the heart of the canyon.
“They will help people with the basics of birding — how to use binoculars and that sort of thing,” Moore said. “It will be very useful information for beginning birders.”
WILDLIFE ON DISPLAY
The Tucson Herpetological Society will host a live reptile presentation at 10 a.m. at the White House Ramada.
A live bird presentation by the Tucson Wildlife Center will be at 11 a.m. at the ramada.
Lunch will be available for purchase, with several menu items available. The food will be prepared by Outlaw BBQ of Amado.
MIGRATORY BIRD DAY
The first International Migratory Bird Day event was held in 1993, and the day is now celebrated at hundreds of festivals from Canada to South America.
“This year there are 450 IMBD locations throughout the Western Hemisphere,” Moore said.