I learn from my friend that people pay rather handsomely to have some semblance of this experience. My quarters have been booked for months now, however it appears there is still availability at Steve's.
I exit my "zero emissions hotel room" for the Sonora Desert Museum, but wonder how it can be any better than what I've already seen.
I arrive at 9 am, just a half hour after they open as I want to be there for the Raptor Free Flight at 10.
Oh golly, where do I begin? This place is huge, 21 acres and I already know I won't be able to do it justice in just one day, despite the website saying "It normally takes at least 2 hours to see all the museum has to offer". I present my $2 coupon (which I received from the campground ranger), pick up a map and will concentrate first on 3 exhibits; Hummingbirds, bees and raptors.
Anna's, Calliope's, Costa's, Broadbill's, and Magnificent's are all (bred) here. As they can not be release into the wild, the young are pulled each year to prevent inbreeding and are relocated to zoos and other museums.
I grew up with bees, selling the honey door to door and still have family members who keep hives, so this is my 2nd pick.
With over 1,000 different bee species in the area, this exhibit alone, could take the whole day. I concentrate my attention on the carpenter bee as they are true masters of their namesake.
Female carpenter bees bore round nesting tunnels inside sotol stalks, laying a single egg on a loaf of nutritious honey and pollen. She then builds a particle-board like partition of plant fiber and secretions across the tunnel sealing the egg and provisions inside. This process is repeated until the tunnel is filled with separate nurseries. The hatched larva will stay in the cell until adulthood feasting on the food source at which time they will chew their way out Wow!
-To bee continued...