During the summer, Arizona’s rivers come alive. Monsoon storms bring water, cooler temperatures, a spike in humidity, and an abundance of wildlife. Animals that have gone unseen for a year reemerge, the canopy screams with busy insects, and countless birds return from their wintering grounds in Central and South America. With its drawn out knocking call heralding approaching storms, no bird is more emblematic of this yearly boom than the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo – the Rain Crow.
Cuckoos thrive along healthy rivers, but as rivers across the west have been dammed, diverted, or otherwise degraded, they have lost significant ground - so much so that in 2014 the US Fish and Wildlife Service listed it as a threatened species. Just as their presence announces coming productivity, their absence causes grave concern because just like the cuckoo, our communities, economies, and people are reliant on healthy rivers.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Each year, biologists across the west head into the field to learn more about the cuckoo and its habitat to help us identify the places most in need of protection. In addition, recent legislative wins are a good sign that we can meet the challenge of managing our water resources in a hotter, drier future. In short, there is reason to celebrate! That’s why we teamed up with Western Rivers Brewers’ Council members Borderlands, Wren House, and Crooked Tooth brewing companies to brew the second annual batch of Rain Crow IPA.
The brew was released at Borderlands in Tucson on Friday, August 30th. and will be available in the Phoenix area by the week of September 15th. Whether you’re looking to kick back after a long season in the field, preparing for the next legislative session, or just want to raise a glass for the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, this brew is for you!