Annual hummingbird fest wows the crowd

Coming out early on July 27 to observe the annual capturing and banding of hummingbirds at the Sipes White Mountain Wildlife Area were spectators from near and far. With well over 300 people, The Arizona Game and Fish Department brought in Sheri Williamson, author of the Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America, and her husband Tom Wood, both directors, naturalists and founders of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO) for their 16th Annual Hummingbird Festival. Watching these tiny birds being carefully and lovingly handled, weighed, banded and fed was a treat for everyone as they postured their cell phones and cameras to record this one-of-a-kind event. The ever popular colorful and aggressive rufous hummingbird stole the show with the spreading of his tiny turkey-like fan of tail feathers. No doubt many spectators will return next year, along with friends. The White Mountain Audabon Society was on hand with an information booth and Game and Fish had other booths including one featuring rescued raptors.

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