COCHISE COUNTY — An educational weekend featuring birds, including bird environments and prey, came once again for the Young Birders Club.

The Sulphur Springs Valley Young Birders Club was given the chance to learn about birding once again this year at the fifth annual Arizona Young Birders Camp. The camp was a weekend getaway starting June 7 and ending June 9, consisting of nature walks and birding lectures.

The group maxed out with roughly 20 children from all over Arizona. The annual getaway is run by volunteers and the Willcox Nature Association. The camp was based at Cave Creek Canyon of the Chiricahua Mountains, where the kids spent the night at the Southwestern Research Station.

“We were up at Barfoot Park at the top of the Chiricahuas, and we were looking at a Mexican chickadee in a nest. If you’re a birder, you know this is one of the few places you can see a Mexican chickadee, and so that’s a cool thing by itself. Then we went through a whole discussion about the nest; why is this the only spot to have these birds in the entire United States? The kids had some ideas and answers, and we sorted it all out,” said camp educator and orchestrator Homer Hansen.

“That was fun; it was educational. Just watching the kids go through the thought process and come to a better understanding of where we’re at, why it’s special, and why the Sky Islands are special and putting it all together, that was really neat; and for someone like me, that’s what the camp is all about.”

Hansen said that the presentations children did for the rest of the group at the end of the camp were also special.

Phoebe Drew Moore said, “I have made quite a few new friends from the three years I have attended the camp. Overall, Young Birder Camp is a fun way to go birding with other people your age and a great way to spend a summer weekend. I would recommend it to anyone who likes nature and enjoys being outdoors, as we not only look at birds, we also catch lizards, look at bugs and sometimes even run into a snake.”

“I enjoyed meeting other young birders because I wasn’t the only kid. I’m usually around all adults when birding, and my friends really aren’t interested in birding much, even though I have had some friends try it with me,” Denae Dearden said.

Quincy Mabery said, “I came to camp not knowing how much fun I would have, or how much I would learn. This has been my most favorite part of summer. It is very fun learning about birds with professional birders and going up to the Chiricahuas, one of the greatest birding spots in the U.S. It’s a really pretty place. They inspired me to learn more about birds.”

“My favorite part of camp was the adult and baby spotted owls in the nest, but I also liked catching the lizard. It was on a rock by the stairs, and my friend Emily stayed on the other side to help me catch it. I have lots of practice catching lizards — my cousin and I have competitions catching them,” Reagan Klump said.


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