Often called the “hummingbird capital,” the Arizona city of Sierra Vista wants to make the nickname official.
The Sierra Vista City Council is planning to consider a resolution proclaiming the city as a hummingbird hub, the Sierra Vista Herald reported. In addition, council members will ask their legislative representatives to push the same resolution at the statehouse.
“Making the moniker official will help elevate the uniqueness of our area to those who aren’t familiar with either Sierra Vista or its nickname,” said Judy Hector, the city’s marketing and communications manager.
Sierra Vista, about 75 miles southeast of Tucson, and surrounding nature preserves such as Ramsey Canyon Preserve and the San Pedro House are known for hosting the unique birds. Experts say more than 15 of the known 26 species of hummingbirds in North American can be seen in the region.
The area is touted by the Arizona Tourism Office as one of the seven must-know spots for avid birders.
The Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory regularly conducts a study of hummingbirds on a migratory route alongside the San Pedro River.
Every year, the observatory holds a hummingbird banding event at San Pedro House during the spring and fall migrations. Volunteers can get a close glimpse of hummingbirds as they are measured, weighed and banded before released. It has served to get the community engaged, even if they aren’t passionate bird-watchers.
Councilwoman Gwen Calhoun, who has lived in Sierra Vista since 1971, said having the moniker be formally recognized could increase tourism.
“It locks us in the books officially. It’s who we are,” Calhoun said.
Bird-watching on average brings a total economic impact of $1.4 billion each year in Arizona, according to the Tucson Audubon Society.