Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hummingbird Class

Male Anna's Hummingbird fluffed up and only flashing just a hint of color.
Avian expert and birder extraordinaire, Tom Gaskill, was in rare form this Saturday teaching his hummingbird class at Desert Botanical Garden.  With his seemingly endless knowledge base (avian and otherwise), boyish enthusiasm, vast birding experience and keen wit, his lectures never disappoint. 

An important point that Tom made throughout his presentation was that color should be the last thing you consider when identifying hummingbirds in the field.  Of much more importance is size, shape of head, body and bill, behavior - esp. tail movement, and vocalizations.  Plumage color and gorget shape can be misleading.  For example, as a male Anna's ages, his gorget sides get longer and can look like a Costa's.

Speaking of Costa's, Tom recommends planting Penstemon to attract them into your yard.  Costa's have shorter bills and are attracted to plants with shorter tubular blossoms.  To attract Anna's and Black-chinned, try planting some Chuparosa, which have longer tubular blossoms.

If you haven't taken a class or gone on a bird walk with Tom you're missing out!  But don't despair, he has 2 more classes coming up this spring at DBG.  There's Swifts and Swallows on April 12th with a field trip on April 14th, and Nighthawks on May 2nd.  Register online at DBG website.  Tom is also the guest speaker at the May 9th Sonoran Audubon meeting where he will be sharing his experiences birding in Egypt (I know, incredible right?  Who goes birding in Egypt?  I think if there were birds on Venus, Tom would be there!)

There is a new festival coming up this August - the first annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival!  The festival will take place August 3-4-5, 2012, with presentations and a “Hummingbird Mall” at the new Sedona Performing Arts Center. Includes three full days of presentations by hummingbird experts in many interest areas: science, gardening, photography, conservation, and regional species studies.  See .


  1. Great photos and info Peggy. I'm seriously looking into this April Swifts and Swallow class now. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hope you sign up, it would be great to see you in the class, and the field trip should be fun!

  3. The Sedona Hummingbird Festival looks fun. Thanks for sharing!


Do you have an event, bird walk, meeting, or nature walk that belongs on this calendar? Please send info to

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...