Habitat Destruction from Arizona Wildfires Handicaps Hummingbird Migration

Habitat Destruction from Arizona Wildfires Handicaps Hummingbird Migration

31 August 2011

published by www.businesswire.com

USA — The fires that scorched the Arizona wilderness earlier this summer critically impacted wild birds there, especially eleven Hummingbird species including several rare and unusual varieties that nest in the area. More than 30,000 acres of habitat in the Huachuca Mountains and more than 700,000 acres of habitat elsewhere in Arizona encompassing nesting sites, food sources – such as nectar and insects – and an important migratory route are significantly impacted. As birds flee the devastation in search of food, they crowd backyard feeders in unseasonably high numbers, making them vulnerable to stress, disease, and predators.

“Feeding stations are swarming with birds,” noted Sheri Williamson author of the Peterson Field Guide to Hummingbirds and Director of The Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO). “The high numbers of birds at feeders indicates there isn’t enough food available naturally to support the population.”

Experts at KAYTEE® Wild Bird Products realized the potential impact of the situation and sought the engagement and input of SABO to establish the Arizona Hummingbird Disaster Relief effort supporting the health and welfare of the resident and migrating hummingbirds. KAYTEE and Cedar Works®, both Central Garden and Pet Company brands, are shipping $50,000 of product for placement throughout the region by concerned citizens and public groups. Distribution sites are being arranged through Farmer’s Markets and birding events from July 29 to September 24, 2011 within the region.

“We’ve spoken to one individual who has gone through 65 pounds of sugar in a week to make nectar to keep feeders full in her area,” noted Mario Olmos, a KAYTEE Ornithologist. “Unlike homemade nectar, placing feeders filled with KAYTEE Hummingbird ElectroNectar provides the stressed birds with much needed hydration and a nutritional boost for migration, because it provides electrolytes not found in other prepared hummingbird nectars.”

During the past month the Arizona Hummingbird Relief effort booth at the Bisbee Farmer’s Market distributed free 16 oz. bottles of the new KAYTEE Hummingbird ElectroNectar™ concentrate and 16 oz. Cedar Works Dipper™ Hummingbird Feeders. Concerned citizens across the country may support the effort with the purchase of an Arizona Hummingbird Disaster Relief “Rescue Kit” exclusively offered on Amazon.com. The kit includes a 16 oz. Cedar Works Dipper™ Hummingbird Feeder and a 16 oz. bottle of the new KAYTEE Hummingbird ElectroNectar™ concentrate. These kits, sold at cost, will supplement KAYTEE and Cedar Works’ corporate donation.

Additionally, financial contributions can be made directly to the Arizona Hummingbird Disaster Relief fund, Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, P.O. Box 5521, Bisbee, AZ 85603-552, or online at www.azhummingbirdrelief.com. The fund, managed by SABO, will be used to support feeding, population monitoring, and habitat restoration efforts. The funds will be matched by KAYTEE and Cedar Works in nectar and feeder donations up to $50,000.

Hummingbirds must eat half their body weight in sugar each day to maintain their strength and endurance for migration and nest building. Experts express a sense of urgency to replace lost food sources in time to support the migrating hummingbirds passing through the areas in upcoming weeks.

“Hummingbirds are a real treasure and hold a special place in many birders’ hearts,” noted KAYTEE’s Ornithologist Mario Olmos. “We’re eager to do what we can to help in this situation and have received many encouraging comments from people across the country eager to get involved.”

Editor’s Note: Visuals available include fire-damaged habitats, hordes of hummingbirds at feeders, video interviews with experts about importance of supporting hummingbird migration through supplemental feeding efforts.


A division of Central Garden and Pet, KAYTEE provides wild bird food, feeders and other small animal and pet bird products to help customers connect to nature. Founded in 1866 as a grain and seed business, the business has evolved over the years, but remains steadfastly committed to and highly regarded for superior quality, reliable service and innovative products. The company’s outstanding business performance earned it a nomination as a Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year. Learn more about KAYTEE at http://www.wildbirds.kaytee.com or at KAYTEE Wild Bird on Facebook.

About Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory—

The Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the birds of southeastern Arizona, their habitats and the diversity of species that share those habitats through research, monitoring and public education. Founded in 1996, SABO addresses the growing needs for educational activities, ecotourism development and conservation-oriented research on both public and private lands in southeastern Arizona. Working cooperatively with government agencies, other non-profit organizations, businesses, and private landowners, SABO takes an active but non-confrontational role in local and regional conservation. Learn more about SABO at www.sabo.org

About Cedar Works—

A division of Central Garden and Pet, Cedar Works’ products are carefully crafted from one of nature’s most remarkable woods, the Aromatic Red Cedar. While focusing in cedar products when they were founded in 1976, over the years the company expanded their line of bird feeders and houses to include plastic and even recycled material bird feeders and houses that respect both the needs of birds and the bird-feeding public. Learn more about Cedar Works and their tradition of quality and innovation at www.cedar-works.com

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