A cardinal of a different color

A male Northern Cardinal with a rare mutation has become an Internet sensation!

Former shelter kitty Lucky Wilbury, who is currently recovering from a life-threatening bladder blockage.

To commemorate this avian celebrity (and gently rib certain curmudgeons in the birding community), I created this homage to Andy Warhol’s colorful silkscreen portraits of celebrities. It’s now available in my Mountain-Gem Arts store on Zazzle on men’s, women’s, unisex, and kids’ T-shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, and more in a variety of bright, medium, and dark colors, including many bird-friendly options. A cropped version including the left and center panels is available for your wall and as a 2-inch square button to adorn your Tilley hat or birding vest (or as one of your minimum 15 pieces of flair).

Proceeds from sales of this design (and everything else in my Zazzle shop) will help defray the cost of recent lifesaving veterinary treatment for my indoor-only rescue kitty, Lucky Wilbury.

 

Hummingbirds of Arizona Tour

This August I’ll be co-leading the semiannual Hummingbirds of Arizona Tour for the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory. The 7-day, 6-night itinerary starts and ends in Tucson and covers the top hummingbird destinations in this hummingbird-rich corner of the Southwest: Madera Canyon, Patagonia, the San Pedro River, the Huachuca Mountains, and Cave Creek Canyon. Our featured lodging will be Casa de San Pedro Bed & Breakfast, a beautiful and extremely comfortable inn adjacent to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area that is the location of one of SABO’s two hummingbird banding stations.

Up to 15 hummingbird species are possible in mid-August, including southwestern specialties such as Lucifer, Magnificent, and Violet-crowned; southbound Calliope, Rufous, and Allen’s; and, with luck, irregular wanderers from Mexico such as White-eared and Plain-capped Starthroat. Though hummingbirds will be the focus of this tour, we won’t neglect the songbirds, birds of prey, butterflies, wildflowers, and other natural treasures that make this corner of Arizona such a popular destination for birders and naturalists of every stripe. Our field trips will cover a wide range of habitats, from the cactus forests of the Sonoran Desert to the cool pine-fir forests atop our “sky island” mountains.

My co-leader will be my husband and colleague Tom Wood (right), founder and director of SABO, and we’re looking forward to showing a small group of hummingbird admirers around our favorite birding destinations while sharing some of what we’ve learned about hummingbird identification, behavior, ecology, and conservation.

If you’re saying to yourself, “Arizona in August? Is she insane??” hear me out. August is the lushest, greenest month of the year in southeastern Arizona. Monsoon thunderstorms that begin in early July create a “second spring,” bringing the deserts and canyons to life with birds, butterflies, and wildflowers. It’s also the peak of hummingbird migration, when maximum numbers and species diversity are present.

The tour is August 13-19 (Sunday-Saturday) and follows the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival in Tucson. The limit is 8 participants, so reserve your spot now! For more details and/or to make a reservation, please visit the tour page at SABO’s Web site.

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