By Dawn Aerts
Iron County Today
CEDAR CITY–Dallin Saurey loves to watch hummingbirds in Idaho, Oregon and Utah.
As a former specialist in Utah’s Department of Natural Resources, he conducted bird surveys, worked as a wildlife biologist and for the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon, and took classes at Cornell University.
Today, Saurey offers online community education classes on a variety of topics, from ‘backyard’ bird watching and wilderness survival, to introductory classes on birds-of-prey and owl-watching. But it’s hummingbirds that continues to intrigue him in his own back yard.
“Doing numerous surveys, I watched the broad tail hummingbirds…and thought, what a beautiful bird they are,” said Saurey, who studied migration patterns, vocalization-patterns, feeding habits and other behaviors. His interest evolved into sharing his experience in online classes. “People like to learn at their own pace, in the convenience of their home and with their own schedule.”
Saurey said it was camping trips with his father that inspired him to earn a degree in recreational management at Brigham Young University and later, to develop classes focused on wildlife, birds, basic survival skills, and how to use navigation and global positioning systems.
“My dad loved to share his experience of the outdoors, which led me to enjoy wildlife and bird-watching,” said Saurey of the hummingbird course. In this class I outline ‘Ten Things’ that students should know in how to identify them, understand their habitat, behavior patterns, migration and courtship.
He has spent hundreds of hours watching them feed on flowers and listening to the unique calls.
“So this is another way that people can enjoy the outdoors and nature, but when it is convenient for them to tune-in,” he said. In one of his on-site courses he took school teachers on an outing: “They wanted to see an owl up close, so we ended up chasing one Great Horned Owl for nearly a mile before we could catch up.”
Over the past two years, he has developed specific workshops that people of all ages can enroll in online and through community education. “I recently posted several new classes on Woodpeckers, another on Desert Survival; I have a Sub-Zero Wilderness Survival course, one on backpacking and another on the basics of camping.”
But it is his appreciation for the Hummingbird that continues to bring him back into the outdoors and to the wildlife stories that most intrigue him. “I still love fishing, rock-climbing and even butterfly-watching,” said Saurey. “But I think you’ll find that Hummingbirds are one of the least understand bird species, that can captivate the attention of any age group.”