Cynthia’s life after retirement from IBM has included significant focus on birds, with board and presidency positions at the Fairfax / Northern Virginia Audubon and Tucson Audubon. She is also a master gardener in both Virginia and Arizona.  Cynthia has narrated the outstanding Raptor Free Flight program at the Arizona-Sonoran Desert Museum for 12 years, and is currently serving her second term on the National Audubon’s Board of Directors.
Cynthia spoke about bird migration… when, where and why they do it.  
Approximately 50 percent of birds migrate, stopping as visitors in Arizona, and with many continuing as far as the North Pole. When migrating North during the Spring, bird migration is best observed here between Apr 19th and May 7th. However, with the Fall migration, the exact timing is much more spread out.  A migration takes 1-2 months, depending on the bird species and weather. Migrating birds provide a service by pollinating and eating insects. Approximately 50 percent or less of migrating birds survive the journey.
There are more than 19 bird species in Southern Arizona, with 13-14 species present all year. An excellent local spot to view Sandhill Cranes and other migrating birds between Nov thru mid-March is the Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area:
A significant migrating visitor to our area is the Swainson’s Hawk, migrating between Argentina & Canada and feeding heavily on grasshoppers in Arizona and the Western states.
The Migrating Bird Treaty Act of 1918 has protected birds when traveling for more than 100 years, especially initially in the early 1900’s when there was great demand for Egret feathers for women’s hats adorned with plumes.
Sadly, 30 percent of the worlds’ birds have been lost in the last 50 years. Pesticides and rodenticides’ have been a great hazard for birds and also for bees. We may help migrating birds by planting native plants with diversity and not destroying migration ‘stop-off’ points that birds need to avoid total starvation during their migration.