2015 Wings Over Willcox Birding Tour

Tour participants for the Southbound Hawk Stalk enjoy the Kansas Settlement area for Sandhill crane watching

WILLCOX — Free presentations are available to the public, courtesy of the upcoming Wings Over Willcox festival.

The upcoming 27th annual Wings Over Willcox birding festival is this weekend, Jan. 17-19. Multiple presenters have been signed up for the event, with each presentation taking place in the Willcox Community Center on Stewart Street.

Friday January 17, 2020

Mark Hart — “Recent History of Borderlands Jaguars”

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico are the only locations in the United States where jaguars have been sighted in the past twenty years. In late 2016, two jaguars were present in the region, one in the Huachuca Mountains and the other in the Dos Cabezas. Earlier that year a video surfaced of a third jaguar in the Santa Rita Mountains. The video caused an international sensation, but that jaguar hasn’t been seen since. Although the Huachucas jaguar came to a bad end in Mexico, its return there was biologically significant. Meantime, the Dos Cabezas jaguar has persisted south of Willcox since. This presentation will examine how the presence of these endangered species in the region pose unique challenges for wildlife and land managers, and how they have made even more popular among the general public trail camera technology.

Steve Marlatt — “Sandhill Cranes”

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Glorious Sandhill Cranes! Learn more about the birds that started our birding festival – everything you wanted to know about the oldest (going back more than 65 million years) and one of America’s most magnificent birds.

Larry Fellows — “Butterflies in Southern Arizona”

3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Finding butterflies is a lot like hunting deer, quail, ducks, elk, etc. One major difference is that instead of shooting thee little insects with a gun or catching them in a net, I ‘shoot’ them with my camera. Each butterfly species, like the animals mentioned, lives in a specific environment and has its own characteristic behavior. In other words, you have to be at the right place at the right time to find them. I will briefly discuss the butterfly life cycle, habitats, and activities of some of the common species in southern Arizona.

Saturday, Jan. 18

Karen Krebbs — “Bats”

9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Gail Morris — “Divergent Migration Destinations and Multiple Overwintering Strategies of Monarch Butterflies in the Southwestern United States”

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

In this educational seminar, viewers can comprehend the findings of related to the tagging of over 18,000 monarchs, which unveiling a treasure trove of new insights about the monarch migration in the Southwest. Seminar attendees may learn about the challenges of their migration and breeding in the region and the public can create ideal habitats to help monarchs thrive.

Dr. Michael Bogan — “Floods and droughts don’t scare me! Tales from aquatic insects in southern Arizona” Presentation attendees are invited to join Bogan in learning about the diversity of aquatic insects and how they survive extreme weather events.

Sunday, Jan. 19

Howard Bethel — “History of the Willcox Playa”

10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Individuals attending this seminar are invited to explore what many visitors consider a bleak and inhospitable bowl of sand and dust. In 1966, the Playa was designated a national natural landmark, and has been designated as one of 21 Arizona Heritage Waters sites. During the presentation, we will explore the geologic history of the playa, its ecological importance, and biological diversity today along with other historical facts and stories related to the Playa.

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