"It's increasingly important for our leaders — our elected officials, our communities — to come together," Audubon Arizona executive director Sonia Perillo said. "We've always believed that this is a kind of all-hands-on-deck situation."
When Audubon says “all-hands on deck”, who comes to mind? Elected officials? Water managers? What about birders? With over 550 species (more than any other state without an ocean coastline) and world class birding destinations like the San Pedro River, Arizona is a great place to be a birder. However, with great birding comes great responsibility, and it’s not something Arizona takes lightly.
Arizona has relatively robust and long-term data describing the bird populations that depend upon our streams and rivers. This is thanks to the efforts of many - Audubon’s Christmas Bird Counts, annual Breeding Bird Surveys, the Important Bird Area (IBA) volunteer network, the Arizona Field Ornithologists, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and the statewide Coordinated Bird Monitoring effort to name a few. However, there are still gaps for our riparian obligate species in the spring and the summer, which is why we’re excited to put the network to action in the field for the first ever Western Rivers Bird Count.
The Arizona IBA volunteer network and the county compilers for the Global Big Day are being alerted about the Western Rivers Bird Count and we encourage you to reach out to your local county compiler to participate in the May 5th Global Big Day or explore our interactive map to see where surveys are needed near you. Remember, any day in May and June are fair game!
No matter how you take action for western rivers, whether it be through an online action alert or in the field counting birds, we thank you. Read on to learn about other news from Arizona’s Western Rivers Action Network.
Hummingbird Springs Saison
Does the thought of counting birds along Arizona’s rivers in May and June make you thirsty? Do you like supporting local businesses that take meaningful conservation action? If so, then Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company’s Hummingbird Springs Saison might be for you!
With an expected release date of May 12th, Hummingbird Springs Saison will be the first local beer to sport the Western Rivers Brewers Council logo and is being brewed to draw attention to the value of native plants to birds and Audubon’s Plants for Birds initiative.
Tribal Water and Restoration Forum
Late last month, Audubon Arizona hosted a forum with the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals to discuss rivers, water, and habitat restoration on tribal lands. Eleven tribes were represented at the forum, including the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Cocopah Indian Tribe, Colorado River Indian Tribes, Gila River Indian Community, Hopi Tribe, Navajo Nation, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Tohono O'odham Nation, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians, Yavapai-Apache Nation, and Zuni Tribe.
The goal of this forum was simple - to open the floor to tribal environmental professionals, giving tribal members, Audubon, and the Western Rivers Action Network an opportunity to learn from these experts in the field. Stay tuned – presentations and recordings from this forum will soon be made available!
Audubon in the News
With so many voices engaged in the Arizona’s statewide discussion about water, what makes the Western Rivers Action Network different? As is the case for most things Audubon, the answer is birds and the places they live. We continue to take every opportunity to remind people that, simply put, birds need water. It’s critical that we don’t let this point go unnoticed in what has been a complicated and sometimes heated discussion.
We had two opportunities to be a voice for rivers and birds this month, once as a voice for collaboration in the face of drought and once as an example of how creative restoration projects can benefit rivers and birds. We will continue to speak up every chance we get, and we’ll continue to keep you informed about action opportunities as they arise. Until then, stay up to speed with the links below.