If you’re a fan of our monthly Birds n’ Beer speaker series, then you know we’ve been working with Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company for years. If you’re a member of the Western Rivers Action Network or follow the Western Rivers Brewers’ Council, then you know they never hesitate to step up for Arizona’s wild places and the birds that call them home. On Saturday, October 17th, they took it one step further by transforming their Downtown Phoenix beer garden into an oasis for hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. The result is a space that we hope will inspire visitors to transform their outdoor spaces into refuges for birds and other wildlife - Arizona’s (the world’s?) first and only Bird-Friendly Beer Garden!
Led by Audubon staff, the Arizona Wilderness team installed nearly 100 native plants in and around the beer garden. Now landscaped with almost entirely native plants, the garden provides a uniquely Arizonan experience, a perfect fit for a brewery created “to celebrate hand crafted artisanal beers that are inspired by the beautiful and diverse state of Arizona.” By providing this experience to their customers, Arizona Wilderness is also providing birds and other wildlife the resources it needs to survive in a warming, drying, and increasingly urban environment.
Whether you’re an Arizona Wilderness patron stopping by for a brew or a pollinator dropping in for a meal, this garden has much to offer. Parry’s Penstemon and Chuparosa provide a splash of red and plentiful nectar for Hummingbirds – Anna’s, Black-chinned, and Costa’s, or if you’re lucky a migrating Rufous, are the likely suspects at flowers in Phoenix. Desert Milkweed will attract Monarch, Queen, and other butterflies. Golden Dyssodia with cheery yellow flowers and Mexican Evening Primrose with pale, pinkish-purple blooms will support a diversity of other small pollinators, benefitting insect eating birds like Black-tailed Gnatcatcher and Verdin.
After visiting Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company’s beer garden, we know folks will start to wonder how they can replicate it in their own outdoor spaces - maybe a patio, a backyard garden, a school, or a business. That’s why the garden’s signs will point them to Audubon’s Plants for Birds initiative where they (and you!) can learn about what to plant where you live. That said, there’s no reason to wait until you visit the garden to start on your own – check out Audubon’s Plants for Birds Database to learn what to plant where you live.
Cheers to a bird-friendly Phoenix!
By Steven Prager
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