You might say that today’s talk, given by Dr. Tina Hall, was for the birds – hummingbirds that is.  Dr. Hall spoke this morning on the past, present, and future of the Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds. The Center is located in Patagonia, AZ. The Center began as the backyard of Wally and Marion Paton’s home when it was discovered that rare and not so rare hummingbirds loved to visit their backyard. The Paton’s set up chairs and invited all to come and visit their birder’s paradise. Upon the Patton’s passing the Tucson Audubon Society has taken over the management of the property. Many improvements have been made over the years including the Backyard Pavilion in which visitors may sit, out of the sun, and view the 176+ bird and 60+ butterfly species that visit the Center – especially over the summer months. In addition, The Richard Grand Memorial Meadow delights visitors with thousands of native plants and a 1,200 gallon pond teaming with life including dragonfly larvae and endangered Sonoran Tiger Salamanders. A Streamside Restoration Project has restored four acres of riparian habitat along Sonoita Creek by planting over 3,000 new native habitat-creating plants and removing invasive plant species. Looking towards the future, the Center is involved in a $450,000 capital campaign which is nearly fully 3 funded. Once the capital campaign is concluded, Tucson Audubon will begin the process of replacing the former Paton home. The exterior of the new building will maintain the qualities of a private residence, but the interior will serve multiple needs, including an indoor space to engage the public, a small commercial kitchen for the preparation of bird food and hygienic maintenance of feeders, an administrative space for staff and volunteers, and quarters for short-term overnight stays by visiting researchers, speakers, or artists. The Paton Center for Hummingbirds sounds like a great place to visit whether you’re a birder or not!