All of these programs are absolutely free and open to everyone. No registration is required. We hope that many people will attend and learn about this amazing place, southeastern Arizona. Some lectures are associated with field trips, for which there is a registration fee and a charge. Please see the Field Trip Section for details. Several Free Programs have a carpool system where participants use their own transportation. All programs will be held at Cochise College Library. Please make some time to see these free events.
All talks will be held in the Horace Steele Room in the Cochise College Library apart from a few which will be held in Room 901 (marked).
Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Angéline Fahey: Outdoor Cats and Birds
There is no doubt that the outdoor cat population is a serious concern for wildlife, so what can we do about it? This program will cover the active steps Southern Arizona is taking to reduce the overpopulation of free-roaming outdoor cats, and how the community can get involved in making a difference in the lives of cats and urban wildlife. We will address common concerns regarding outdoor cats, while providing a wide range of store bought and DIY humane solutions for deterring cats from private properties to protect birds, other wildlife, and gardens.
1:00-2:15 PM (ROOM 901)
Mike Foster: San Pedro River Beavers
Beavers were returned to the San Pedro River in 1999 by the Arizona Game and Fish on BLM property. Since then Mike Foster has been doing surveys on the 45 miles of the San Pedro River National Conservation Area near Sierra Vista. In the last few years this survey has been picking up steam with Cochise College and Watershed Management Group from Tucson joining the cause. In the last year this became an international effort with numerous Mexican conservation groups joining the cause in the first international beaver survey. The uppermost San Pedro is in Mexico. Some reservoirs on ranches there appear to have become repositories for beaver populations.
Mike Crimmins: Climate Change and Arizona: A Look at the Past, Present, and Future
This presentation will provide an overview of the main features of Arizona’s climate including mechanisms that create its unique seasons and high variability in precipitation. It will detail past patterns in temperature and precipitation and will look at climate change projections for the region.
Stan Cunningham: Marvels of Bird Migration
Stan will discuss both the difficulties and somewhat unbelievable adaptations birds have that allow them to migrate both small and very long distances. The material covered will include: 1) why they do it 2) The energetic costs of flying, especially long distances 3) How do the birds know when to go and 4) How do they know where to go and navigate while flying. Like most things in ecology, the answers are many and variable, and much of what happens each year “depends”. Since so many North American avian species must migrate, the conservation aspects of the need for “stopovers” and international conservation efforts are discussed.
Eric Moore, Owner, Jay's Bird Barn & Arizona Field Optics: Optics 101 Workshop
Confused by optics jargon such as eye-relief, exit-pupil, interpupillary distance, objective lens, field of view and color fidelity? Want to know what those numbers mean on a pair of binocular, such as 8x42, 10x42? Eric Moore will lead a discussion on optical equipment covering both binoculars and spotting scopes designed for birders. This will be a hands-on class where you will have the opportunity to try out different models of Vortex and Swarovski Optik products.
Thursday, August 4, 2022
Eric Moore: Focus on Optics Bird Walk
Meet in front of Room 901
Eric is the owner of Jay's Bird Barn and Arizona Field Optics, and will lead a guided bird walk on the Cochise College campus and in the surrounding desert. This bird walk will focus (no pun intended) on the basics of optical equipment designed to enhance a bird watcher’s experience in the field. Loaner pairs of both Vortex and Swarovski binoculars and spotting scopes will be available for participants to use at no charge. The bird walk will include a demonstration and instruction on digi-scoping - taking digital pictures using the latest spotting scope technology.
Glenn Minuth: Aspect Geography: North v. South Slopes - Key to Habitat Recognition
Have you ever considered why there are real differences between the plant and animal life residing on north versus south slope exposures? Or how about those slopes oriented northeast and southwest? This is the essence of montane habitat evolution, the melding of elevation and topography with all of the corresponding climatic, geologic, pedologic, and biotic interrelationships, dependencies, and interactions that combine to influence the landscape's appearance. You will be exposed to concepts you may never previously considered. This is an easy to understand “sciencing” review covering upland "aspect geography" that amplifies the power of your future situational observations. Knowing what to anticipate predisposes you (the observer) to pave the way to form quicker conclusions and offer insight to processes happening before you. Join us to unpack the topic of topographic influences.
Rick Wright: The Very Worst Bird Names Ever
Ever wondered why that fancy black and white duck is not called "ring-billed," or why that woodpecker with the red head is called Red-bellied Woodpecker? Sometimes bird names just don't make that much sense. Join Rick Wright to discover just what went into naming some of our familiar birds and how tracking down the stories behind the misnomers can make some of them seem not quite so bad after all.
Jim Koweek: Believe it or not: Everything isn’t spiny in AZ.
A look at grassland plants and what make them unique in this part of the world. We promise all of the fun and no mind numbing boring technical stuff. This will be in a workshop/plant talk format and attendees are welcome to bring in samples, especially grasses, for Jim to ID. Jim will have his book Grassland Plant ID For Everyone – Except Folks That Take Boring Technical Stuff Too Seriously available for purchase.
Bill Cavaliere: The Chiricahua Apaches: A Concise History
The history of the Chiricahua Apaches, who were native to southeast Arizona, southwest New Mexico, and northern Mexico. The presentation follows their arrival in this area, famous Chiricahuas such as Cochise, Naiche, and Geronimo, their conflicts with incoming white settlers and subsequent battles with the US Army, peace treaties, and various aspects of their culture.
Priscilla Brodkin: Butterflies for Birders
Take a virtual field trip identifying and photographing the butterflies of SE Arizona. We will concentrate on butterflies in taxonomic order with emphasis on food & nectar plants plus behavior and defense mechanisms! Join the co-author of Butterflies of Arizona for this special trip filled with the BEAUTY of nature and remember, when the birding is slow, butterflies emerge to fill out your day.
Rich Bailowitz: Another Glimpse at the Dragonflies of Southeast Arizona
This presentation will cover characteristics of members of the order ODONATA, which comprises both damselflies and dragonflies, what we see and what we don't. More than 100 species are known from Cochise County where our Festival is located, and many are featured in this discussion.
Friday, August 5, 2022
Kathe Anderson: Introduction to Birdwatching Bird Walk
Meet in front of Room 901
This is an introduction to local birds easily seen in and around campus, geared for beginning adults who are interested in what may be showing up in their backyards. We stroll the grounds we’ll talk about common species, vocalizations and behaviors. At about 8:45am we will head indoors to go over a list of what we’ve seen and answer questions. Walking Difficulty: Easy
Faith Boice: Arizona's Empire Ranch - a Prominent Past and Promising Future
The historic Empire Ranch, located in the heart of the 45,000 acre Las Cienegas National Conservation Area, was established in 1876. Learn about the four families, two companies, a government agency, and the non-profit organization that have played a role in the Empire Ranch's historic past and evolving future.
Faith Boice: Field Trip - Carpool to the Empire Ranch, including 1 hour docent led tour
Meet after above talk at 8:30 AM at Cochise College Student Union, Bldg 1000 and carpool to the Empire Ranch (45 mins).
Enjoy the 1-hour docent-led tour of Empire Ranch. Afterwards enjoy the ranch and its wildlife at your leisure, return to Cochise College or continue elsewhere on your own.
Rick Collins: Tumacácori History
In 1990 Tumacácori National Monument received National Park status, joining the ranks of the other 51 National Historical Parks in the U.S. It also gained two related missions, Mission Guevavi and Mission Calabazas. In 2005 it grew to 360 acres and includes a mile of beautiful riparian environment. Tumacácori’s story is of the mission that should never have been and the National Park that almost wasn’t. The story is of cultural cooperation, hard working men and women, and a lot of luck. It is a national treasure that people still discover today.
Robert Parks: Social and Solitary Wasps Observed in Arizona
This introduction to some commonly encountered wasps of the Southwestern United States will focus on the aculeate wasps or those that sting. It is only females that will sting and the ovipositor has evolved into a sting which injects venom. Some of the most commonly encountered include Tarantula Hawks, Paper Wasps, Yellow Jackets and Mud Daubers.
Glenn Minuth: How Birds Work: The Skeleton Structure Matters
This is the first episode of a new annual presentation that will explain how the various bird body systems work. You’ll “take-off” with just the bare bones—meaning, an exploration of the bird’s skeletal system. Can you guess how bird skeletons have adapted to be more robust than that of a mammal skeleton? They have to be light enough for flight, but also strong enough to take the strain of flight--so how do avifauna overcome these conflicts? Remember: you can't interpret birds' skeletal features without bearing in mind exactly how the skeleton functions while flying and in other activities. Birds' skeletons possess some unique adaptations achieved by both fusion of skeletal elements and by pneumatization. You’ll be able to identify and name bird bones corresponding to the mammal bones you may have already learned along with some new ones. More importantly, you will be able to “bone-up” on how bird skeletons differ from those of mammals and explain the functional significance of these differences. You will understand why the unique features of bird skeletons might or might not be considered as adaptations to flight. Ultimately, we will unpack the structure and the inner workings of the avian skeletal system piece by piece to build a better picture for how they survive and thrive.
Karen Krebbs: The Exciting Night Life of Bats!
Karen has studied bats for more than 30 years. Learn about this exciting and unique nocturnal mammal and how it is so successful as a predator and pollinator. There are more than 1,100 species of bats that occur worldwide. Bats are an important part of our ecosystems and deserve our respect and admiration. Echolocation allows a bat to fly in total darkness to locate, chase, and capture flying insects. Bridges and other human structures are important roost habitat for many species of bats. Nectar bats visit and pollinate columnar cactus and succulents in our area. Learn about the 28 species of bats that live right here in Arizona.
Karen will lead a car caravan field trip to Ramsey Canyon to view nectar bats feeding at 6:30 PM on Friday. Limit of 8 participants. This is a paid trip, please book via the field trip registration page.
Kathe Anderson: Temporary Custody of a Rainbow
This is the backstory of ten colorful migrants--the Yellow Warbler, Blue Grosbeak, dazzling red Summer Tanager, eye-popping Hooded Oriole and others—that migrate through Arizona or make the state their summer breeding territory and home. Where do they come from and what makes them unusual.
Holly Richter: Hydrology of the San Pedro
The fascinating world of hydrologic modeling, monitoring, and research to keep the San Pedro Flowing
The San Pedro River Basin is arguably one of the most studied watersheds in the Western U.S. This presentation will highlight some of the most interesting lessons learned about how water moves through the San Pedro watershed and its aquafer, and what is being done to ensure its current and future water needs are met to sustain this amazing habitat.
Saturday, August 6, 2022
Glenn Minuth: Ancient Seas – Part 2
Rocks of the Paleozoic Era contain a variety of stratigraphic units and fossils that yield information about conditions that prevailed at the time the rocks were formed. These rocks indicate that during much of this portion of Arizona's geologic story, it was either covered entirely or partly by marine waters. We will be interested in understanding what marine organisms existed in these conditions that were buried in sand or mud and preserved as fossils.
Glenn Minuth: Ancient Seas Part 2 Carpool Field Trip (half day)
Meet after talk at 8:30
Our trip begins where we left off with Part 1 last year: starting with the Mississippian Period Escabrosa Limestone to examine fossil occurrences. Carpool – bring sun protection and water bottle (water refills available, and no hiking, just roadside geology).
9:00-10:15 AM (ROOM 901)
Callie Caplenor: Sky Island Flyover – A Three Parks Perspective SPECIAL KIDS EVENT
Join National Park Service (NPS) ranger Callie Caplenor for a family-oriented bird program. What is a national park, and what part does the NPS play in preserving these special places and the wildlife that calls them home? Ranger Callie and colleagues will bring their touchable bird skulls and talk about the behaviors and characteristics of the birds that inhabit the Sky Island region. Also hear the perspective of a new birder discovering southeast Arizona for the first time. At the end children will be invited to create their own bird with special adaptations.
Stephen Vaughan: Arizona’s Pygmy Owls
Arizona is the only state that offers both the Northern Pygmy-Owl and Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl. Pygmy-Owls are not only small but unique in many ways. Their behaviors and physiology are quite different from other “normal owls.” Steve has spent the last 6 years photographing and observing Arizona’s Pygmy-Owls. Join Steve while shares his experiences while with these dynamic owls.
10:30-11:45 AM (ROOM 901)
Erica Merritt: Southwest Wings Story Time SPECIAL KIDS EVENT
Listen to a fun story about birds and create an avian craft. Presented by Erica Merritt, Youth Services Librarian at the Sierra Vista Public Library.
Rick Taylor: How to identify Arizona's Hummingbirds
Sierra Vista is officially the Hummingbird Capital of the United States, and it is no wonder as no fewer than 15 species have been recorded in the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains in recent years. While brightly-colored males pose few identification challenges, female and young birds can be tricky to distinguish. Rick’s talk will focus on the features which help distinguish the members of this amazing and intriguing family of birds.
Followed by an exclusive book signing of Rick Taylor's new book Birds of Arizona, available before its official publication.
Mark Hart: Bear Aware
The Arizona Game and Fish Department in Tucson fielded approximately 100 black bear-related phone calls in the summer of 2012, the year following the Monument Fire which devastated bear habitat on the eastern slope of the Huachuca Mountains. This presentation examines that worse-case scenario, as drought conditions may well drive more bears into contact with people in the Sky Islands this year. Birders who frequent the backcountry need to be especially “Bear Aware,” but so too do those who go to more accessible locations such as Madera Canyon. Learn about how to stay safe in Bear Country, and gain greater understanding of how Game and Fish manages this shy but curious species that can weigh-in at 400 pounds.
Justin Schmidt: The Biology of Bees
The 20,000 world-wide species of bees are crucial pollinators of most of the world’s plants including many human food crops (not to mention the food plants of most birds and other animals). I will describe the life histories and biologies of many families and species of bees inhabiting our region, including briefly discussing honeybees and how these introduced bees have affected our lives and environment.
Diana Hadley, Founding President, Northern Jaguar Project: Borderland Jaguars
Renowned for their power, strength, beauty and grace, jaguars once roamed across much of the southern United States. Today, these magnificent predators are vanishing throughout the Americas. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the U.S. Mexico borderlands. Removed from their historic northern range by poaching and habitat fragmentation, jaguars have all but disappeared from the U.S. portion of their former territory. Yet, jaguars still persist just south of the international border in Sonora, Mexico and occasionally venture northward into former habitat in Arizona and New Mexico. This beautifully illustrated presentation provides information on the Northern Jaguar Project’s work to protect jaguar populations and establish viable wildlife corridors through community environmental education programs and agreements with cattle ranchers.