Here’s what a lot of folks don’t know: late summer monsoon rains mean birds flock to Tucson and southern Arizona. Where birds go, bird watchers – and those who appreciate nature – tend to follow.
Book passage to Tucson this August and open your mind to what water can bequeath to this dry, arid land: a dazzling diversity of life. You’ve got a couple of organized opportunities to do just that.
The 2012 Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival is Arizona’s longest-running nature fest, an educational celebration of birds, mammals, reptiles and insects. See them in their own unique habitats: southern Arizona’s Sky Islands. Wednesday Aug. 1 – Saturday Aug. 4 are the dates, and Sierra Vista is the site. See hummingbirds, Trogan Butterflies, bats, bugs, snakes and owls – all in the spectacular high desert of Cochise County. There will be 35 field trips.
A few days later, Aug. 15 – 19, southeastern Arizona is the setting for The Tucson Bird & Wildlife Festival, another product of the monsoon rains. The Sonoran Desert comes alive this time of year. See how through the lens of Audubon experts. The Riverpark Inn is the headquarters hotel for the event. They’re offering a festival special of $59 plus tax per night.
When night falls, it’s time for bats. This is the Year of the Bat, but then you probably already knew that, right? In the summertime, thousands of migratory bats take refuge beneath Tucson’s bridges, and in the rafters of the University of Arizona football stadium. Gasp (literally) as they emerge en masse each evening to go and grab a buzzing bite to eat. This year there are special Year of the Bat goings-on at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Story by Jerry Chandler