We’re glad to see an effort by the City of Sierra Vista to embrace recognition as the hummingbird capital of Arizona.
Anyone with familiar with the city’s history knows the long and intimate relationship Sierra Vista has had with hummingbirds. The area boasts a wide variety of the energetic birds, which annually migrate from Central America and Mexico each spring. They stop along that route at the San Pedro River, in the canyons of the Huachuca Mountains and at backyard feeders throughout the community.
Members of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory have faithfully logged the travels of hummingbirds from April through October, hosting a “banding” event almost every weekend. Hummingbirds are temporarily captured while they are in the area of the San Pedro House, with observatory members collecting information on each bird, putting a band on their tarsus, and setting them free. Banding studies are a diagnostic tool for the health of bird populations that in turn may reflect the general health of the environment.
In addition to the San Pedro House, experienced “birders” visit The Nature Conservancy’s Ramsey Canyon Preserve, where they enjoy seeing blue-throated hummingbirds at the feeders around the visitor center.
Beatty’s Guest Ranch, located in the national forest in Miller Canyon, has attracted visitors from around the world. The site is considered among the best locations to see the white-eared hummingbird, which migrates through the area a bit later than other species, usually beginning in May.
Lucifer hummingbirds are usually spotted in Ash Canyon, about four miles south of the Miller Canyon entrance. The brightly-colored Lucifer can often be found enjoying the feeders around the Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast, another well-known destination for those who make bird watching more than just a hobby.
Proclaiming Sierra Vista as the “hummingbird capital” of Arizona will help the community’s efforts to draw tourists and it will compliment the city’s brand — Extraordinary Skies, Uncommon Ground.
As veteran City Council member Gwen Calhoun has stated, the designation is “… who we are,” and identifies Sierra Vista for its unique connection with birding and nature.
Now it is time for our locally elected state officeholders to step forward and support this effort at the Legislature. We were glad to see Rep. Gail Griffin’s early comments in support of this designation and hope to hear from Rep. Becky Nutt and Sen. David Gowan as well.
Let’s put another “feather” in Sierra Vista’s cap, and get the city officially recognized as the best place in Arizona to see hummingbirds!