The month of March marks the end of winter (quite mild this year) and the beginning of spring. Spring brings the return of neo-tropical migrants and is also the beginning of the breeding season. This is the time of year to clean feeders, add birdbaths and related water features (see the March deep discounts in this issue for great deals on bird baths and water features), and have nesting materials and bird houses ready for birds to use. A well-prepared backyard bird station will be better used by a wider variety of birds. Our staff is ready to answer any questions you may have, help you choose the best products to fill your (and your birds) needs, and stay within your budget. Our aim is to please our customers by offering the best products available and the knowledge and advice birders find useful – all with a friendly smile!
We always encourage your feedback, comments, criticism, complements, and suggestions. We strive to please. Our goal is to inform and educate our customers so maximum advantage can be achieved with our mutual birding interests. This is why we’ve been enthusiastic about publishing our newsletter all these years. We welcome the photos, videos, and birding experiences you’re willing to share with other readers. After decades in business, we know that having good relationships with our customers is in everyone’s best interest, especially the birds that we all love seeing in our yards.
We thank you for your support and encouragement and look forward to providing you with many more years of personal service and satisfaction. From our family to yours, we wish you
Jon, Matt, Clarisa and Justin
March 23rd Sunday Morning BirdWalk
With Matt Norris
Anza Trail in Tubac
As the cool weather disperses and with spring time lurking just around the corner, this is a great time to view spring migrants coming back from their southern wintering grounds. We will be headed down to the Santa Cruz River at Tubac, AZ to bird along the Anza Trail. With riparian habitat along the river and mesquite Bosque on both sides, this is a great location to view spring migration especially the Common Black-hawk migration.
Remember to dress appropriately as the weather will be warming up and we will be birding along the river. Long pants, close toed hiking shoes/boots are recommended; as well as long sleeved shirt and a hat. You must bring your own bagged lunch, snacks, and beverage (water). Also remember to have your field guide and binoculars ready.
We will be meeting in the Wild Bird Store parking lot at 6:00am and will be departing promptly at 6:15am. Carpooling is encouraged, however, if you have time restrictions then please take your own car. A fee (cash/check) of $15 must be given to Matt Norris prior to the walk date, as well as a signed waiver of liability. Checks are to written out to Matt Norris. You may find Matt at the Wild Bird Store, Wednesdays through Sundays, during business hours. You may also reach Matt, with any questions or concerns, at 520-869-2828 or via email at Norbird84@gmail.com.
Target species include but are not limited to:
Until then Good Birding and Good Health, Wild Bird Store Staff
'Eight Mearns' Quail Feathers'
No, these are not real feathers. No matter how long you look at them, or what angle of viewing, you’ll have a hard time convincing yourself that these are not real feathers.
They are, in reality, a masterpiece of digital capture by Elgin artist Matilda Essig. 100% of the viewers of this archival inkjet print insist that what they are seeing is actual feathers mounted on a board and framed! This image (24"x10") represents the new frontier in digital printmaking, and for bird lovers looking for artwork that will always thrill the viewer, this may be the Holy Grail! Sale is of print only.
You may see Matilda's primary work on Native Grasses of the Apache Highlands at the upcoming 'Desert Grasslands' exhibition at Tucson Museum of Art, opening in January 2013. $250.00 #27
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Zhangli Bu is a Chinese national who is a junior at the U of A studying journalism. Her family resides in China and she intends to make a career in journalism. Like many 22 year olds, she enjoys mucic, traveling and reading. She approached me at the store asking for permission to make a video about our business and how the business evolved. This is the result of her effort
Webster Hummingbird Feeder
We are very pleased to announce we now have in stock the authentic reproduction of the first feeder designed by man to feed hummingbirds, the Webster feeder. Originally designed in 1928 for his disabled wife to enjoy watching hummingbirds, Mr. Webster had the feeder made to his specifications by the chemistry and physics glass blowing lab at M.I.T.
The Webster’s maintained glorious estates near Cambridge and a summer retreat on a New Hampshire lake and had a large staff of gardeners and landscape architects to maintain several acres of flower gardens at each location. They let the general public stroll the grounds at no charge after church each Sunday for a few hours. As they had some of the largest flower gardens in all of New England, they also attracted large numbers of Ruby-throated hummingbirds each season. Their properties became known as the best locations in that region to observe hummingbirds.
Naturally, when the visitors saw the first hummingbird feeder, and how successful it was even surrounded by acres of nectar producing flowers, they wanted one for themselves. Mr. Webster had several hundred of these feeders created and sold them for $10.00 each (a lot of money back then!). When Mrs. Webster died in 1948, he created 500 more feeders and donated them to the Audubon Society in January of that year. National Geographic magazine featured pictures of the first hummingbird feeder being used in the February issue. The public clamored for the hummingbird feeders and the Audubon Society sold out of them within the month. They disappeared off the market until The Wild Bird Store has reintroduced them more than half a century later.
We have a very talented local glass blower, John Mims, making these authentic reproductions for us and the birds really enjoy using them. They cost $49.99 and you’ll not only enjoy watching the hummers use them repeatedly, but, you’ll also own a piece of American birding history! Order Here
We are excited to announce that we are starting to shoot some simple informative birding videos that appear on YouTube and our website. You can subscribe (for free) to see them when new ones appear by going to The Wild Bird Store YouTube Channel. We hope to offer many topics and hopefully go on location to Tucson area birding hotspots. Please submit your comments, questions or ideas.
Join us, won't you?
On October 11, 2011 I was invited to do an interview on “the Jolt”, AM 1330. The show Ron Asta’s Tucson gave us a digital recording of the interview. The show runs about 36:36 minutes long. We didn’t get through all the talking points we wanted to so I’ve been asked to return for a second interview sometime in the near future. We’ll keep you posted. We did have a great conversation about the nectar eating bats that are unique to our area and a little about birding. The next conversation will focus more on the wonderful birds we experience here.
The Wild Bird Store has moved to 3160 East Fort Lowell Road, on the southeast corner of Country Club Blvd. and Ft. Lowell Road – in the Winterhaven Square. After two decades, we are beginning a new chapter in our efforts to aid and educate birding enthusiasts in a...
THE WILD BIRD STORE
Located in Tucson, Arizona and begun in 1992 as a true mom and pop business, has a strong regional
reputation as an independent wild bird store featuring our line of innovative
and unique wild bird products. Our loyal customer base depends on us for
quality products, expert advice and dedicated customer service.
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no longer have to wait at the periphery of the yard for the feeding frenzy
to quiet down before coming to the feeder. Now, with this feeder for their exclusive use, they can feed undisturbed from sunrise to
sunset. This weight-activated feeder will accommodate the entire cardinal
family - from fledglings to adults. All other birds both heavier and lighter
NUTS 'N' BUGS
If you had to choose just one food for birds, one they would not only
survive on, but actually thrive on, Nuts 'n'
Bugs is it! Created from a recipe of ground pecans and dehydrated
insects (over 1,000 per pound), it has calcium, soybean meal, and rendered
suet to bring in insect and nut eating birds. With Nuts
'n' Bugs you can attract a wide variety of insect eating
birds- many of which are not attracted to seeds.
GOLDFINCHES IN SOUTHEAST ARIZONA
Photo by Richard at SearchNet Media
Southeastern Arizona birders have experienced a phenomenal increase in the numbers of goldfinches that can be attracted to our backyard birding stations.
Twenty years ago and more, it took us months to attract our first goldfinches. Patience, we reminded ourselves as we did our customers, is the number one rule for birders.
The preferred food for the intended species and the right feeder to deliver that food is number two. Understanding these principles will always reward us and the birds.
Nyjer seed, unlike true thistle, is the preferred choice of seed for all the goldfinch species. Most other species in our area will reject Nyjer for almost any other seed that is easily available and accessible. Almost any design of thistle feeder filled with Nyjer seed will attract mostly goldfinches. The feeder models that have food ports under the perches are species specific to goldfinches.
BIRDS, WATER AND SUMMER HEAT
Cooper's Hawk by Richard at SearchNetMedia
In our desert heat, we are stating the obvious - birds need clean reliable water sources all year round, but no more than when the temperature soars. As we write this, the projected heat for this afternoon is 113°F, and likely to remain in the triple digits for the rest of the week. As the drought deepens in southern Arizona, natural water sources continue to dry up. Our record setting fire season has taken its toll on the wildlife. Birds pant and hold their wings out from their bodies in an attempt to keep cool. Supplying a water source for the birds is of great assistance to them and the necessity of clean fresh water cannot be underestimated.
Of course, you want to do this in a way that does no harm - no drowning, no disease transmission, no increase in predation, no harm what-so-ever. Here's what you need to know about bird baths and other water features to help the birds, without harming them.
HOW TO INCREASE BACKYARD DIVERSITY
Photo by Richard at SearchNet Media
With more species of birds than almost any other region in the country, Southeastern Arizona's biodiversity offers backyard birders one of the best opportunities to attract a wide variety of birds.
The combined number of year-round resident and migrating birds that one can see in the cycle of a year's time is greater than most other regions throughout the continent. However, if you don't devote some time on a regular basis to observing, you may miss some of the migrants which only pass through our area and remain only for a relatively short time.
Southeastern Arizona is also an excellent place to notice quite a few rare and exotic species that migrate through or use our area in spring and summer as their traditional breeding territory.
With relatively little effort and expense, you can easily double and triple the number of species attracted to your feeding stations.
INTRODUCING A NEW CARDINAL FEEDER
We have become the exclusive authorized dealers in Arizona for a new species-specific cardinal feeder that serves as a less expensive version of the cedar wood model we pioneered about twenty years ago.
This model is constructed of tough polycarbonate material, can be hung or pole mounted, and is manufactured in Montreal, Canada by the Wild Bird Conservation Center. We have received our first shipment and we expect it to sell for around $60. While it was created for a cold, wet northern climate in that it is weather proof (keeps rain and snow out), it works perfectly well in our region as well. (Keeping seeds dry in Arizona isn’t too much of a concern).
So, for customers who wish for a more economical way to give cardinals, pyrrhuloxia and grosbeaks what they want most (our cardinal mix and a little exclusivity) this is the feeder you’ve been waiting for!
BASIC BINOCULAR KNOWLEDGE
Birders, whether the backyard or in-the-field- variety, need only two essential items as the basic tools for learning about bird identification and behavior - a good field guide and reliable binoculars. The Wild Bird Store carries the best field guide for our area. It is the new Birds of Southeastern Arizona by Richard Taylor and has established itself as our best selling identification guide since its publication late last year. With just these two things, you can teach yourself all you want to know about the birds of our specific region, or anywhere for that matter.
The Wild Bird Store offers a comprehensive selection of Vortex Binoculars
WILD BIRD STORE DISCOUNT CLUB
For almost twenty years we have offered our customers the opportunity of reducing costs on each and every purchase they make. The cost of annual dues is $16.00 ($1.25 per month). Discounts begin on the day a membership is activated and expires one full year from the last day of the month the membership begins.
HOW TO ATTRACT ORIOLES
Orioles are not as common or abundant as most of our year round resident birds. Yet, as a migratory species, they are reliably present from early spring to fall. We have had orioles at our station from as early as February until as late as early November.
Orioles (and their relatives, like the tanagers) have beautiful and strikingly colorful plumage, their exquisite and fluid songs, and their parenting and nesting abilities make them very desirable birds to attract and observe. The relatively small effort to attract and feed orioles rewards...