...

Birding

A Naturalist Haven

Arizona is a vast landscape of bold color, formations and piercing beauty. The southeastern corner is no exception. Isolated mountains called “Sky Islands” rise abruptly from the arid desert highlands, harbor a tremendous variety of plant and animal life and border the San Pedro Valley. The unique grassland of the valley is supported by the San Pedro River, which enters Arizona from Sonora, Mexico and flows north to join the Gila River.

Casa de San Pedro is centrally located for those interested in birding, permitting easy day trips to other birding hotspots such as Madera Canyon, Patagonia, Empire Cienega, Garden Canyon, Miller Canyon and Ramsey Canyon. Other attractions include Kartchner Caverns, Bisbee, Tombstone, Coronado National Memorial, Old Mexico, and the Chiricahua National Monument. Take a look at the eBird list of birds reported at the Casa – the list shows sightings for birds by month and will give you an idea about when you can see any array of birds.  As you can tell, the Casa is one of the migratory hot spots for birding, and many birds are resident as well. 

Courtyard with plants and a fountain

Hummingbird Banding at The Casa

Tom and Sheri are also conducting Hummingbird Banding at the Casa on most Friday afternoons during most of the Spring and Summer months and into September and October. (Exact dates and times are on their web site: www.sabo.org) The Hummingbird Banding happens in our back yard on (most, but check the calendar carefully!) Friday afternoons from 4-6pm. Join Tom and Sheri for a great hummingbird experience. These hummingbird banding sessions at Casa de San Pedro are free to our resident guests. For non-resident participants you must pre-register with SABO at their website and attendance is limited. There is a small charge for participants not staying at the Casa.

Walking down a forest trail

The Nature Conservancy Guided Nature Walks

Nature Walks Visitors from all over the world come to see the more than 170 species of birds found in the preserve and surrounding national forest. Southwestern specialties such as painted redstarts and magnificent hummingbirds share the canyon with many other animals, including black bears, Chiricahua leopard frogs and dozens of species of butterflies. The canyon is also home to more than 400 species of plants, from tiny mosses to towering firs. Guided walks are on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 9 a.m. from March 1 to the end of October. The reserve is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Casa de San Pedro

SOUTHEASTERN ARIZONA BIRD OBSERVATORY

Join one of the variety of tours and learning experiences led by Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO). These educational programs, offered for the discriminating nature enthusiast, combine outstanding southwestern hospitality with some of the most exciting and diverse birding in North America. SABO handles their own reservations for bird tours. Please see their website for their calendar of events and to sign up for the tour or walk of your choice.

Spring Only

SABO will also be hosting River Walks along the San Pedro River at Casa de San Pedro from late March through mid May on Tuesday and Friday mornings each week. Pair a River Walk with SABO with a great Mexican Dinner at the Casa the evening prior (Mondays and Thursdays)!

Spring & Summer

SABO will also be doing Humming Bird Banding at the Casa on Friday afternoons from early April through early June, and July through early October. Be sure to join them at the Casa and hold a hummer in your hand to release it - and learn about hummingbirds from our own nationally famous author of the Perterson Guide to the Hummingbirds of North America - Sheri Williamson!

Winter

SABO is featuring Sunday Morning walks at Whitewater Draw to see the Sandhill Cranes and overwintering waterfowl from December through March.

Kathe Anderson Birding Seminars

As you tour Southeast Arizona from our high prairie grasslands, to mountain canyons, and riparian areas, it is probable that you will find well over 180 species in just a few days, without a lot of effort.

Our local bird guides can help you find and identify the many types of birds, and guide you to popular birding hot-spots.  And as always, the San Pedro River Valley is at the heart of Arizona’s hottest birding sites.

Older couple looking in binoculars

Summer Color: Flycatchers & Temporary Custody of a Rainbow

June 21st-23rd, 2024

This is a full weekend program focusing on birds morning and evening, with afternoons free to relax at la Casa or explore the many natural and cultural resources of the area. On the first evening, we’ll take a closer look at the large and often confusing flycatcher family, which includes kingbirds, phoebes, and pewees, among other flycatchers – some colorful and some not! On Saturday evening, in a program specifically developed for Casa de San Pedro, willhighlight a range of common colorful birds of the Sierra Vista area and the Casa, plus a trio of striking black-and-white birds.

Choose one or both classes, each $30 per person. Field trips included. Lodging stay at the Casa required.

Big Birds, Raptor ID & All About Cranes

November 2nd-3rd, 2024

This is a full weekend program focusing on birds morning and evening, with afternoons free to relax at the Casa or explore the many natural and ultural resources of the area. On the first evening we will take a close look at Sandhill Cranes, their life history, diet, mating danes and threats.  We’ll also discuss some crane species worldwide. On Saturday evening we will look at and discuss some of the major families of raptors, including falcons, “forest hawks”, and soaring birds. plus vultures.  What should we be looking at to help tell them apart.

Choose one or both classes, each $30 per person. Field trips included.  Lodging stay at the Casa is required.

Solo Birding

We are pleased to let you know that the Ash Canyon property has been purchased and donated to the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory. The operations of the bird sanctuary will continue under the guidance of Tom Wood and Sheri Williamson with a lot of help from local volunteers and donations from near and far. This very special habitat is a perfect location for bird watchers of all types. Visit the open yard, sit in comfortable chairs, and the birds come to feast at the many feeders around the yard. Tom and Sheri and volunteers will assist you in identifying the many types of birds that attend daily!

About:
Mountain meadow. Hummingbirds and montaine birds.

Location:
Located 8 miles south of Fry Blvd./Hwy 92 to Miller Canyon Road. The Beatty’s Guest Ranch is 2.6 miles west on Miller Canyon Road. The last 1.8 miles are dirt and rough in spots.

Fee:
$5 donation per person

Website:
beattysguestranch.com

Minutes from Casa:
20 minutes

About:
One of the most reliable localities for Buff-breasted Flycatcher as well as other high altitude birds such as Red-faced Warbler, Red Crossbill, Yelloweyed Junco, Olive Warbler, Pygmy Nuthatch and Steller’s Jay.

Location:
7 miles south of Fry Blvd./Hwy 92 to Carr Canyon Road – 8.5 miles to the campgrounds. Unpaved, switchback road.

Website:
fs.usda.gov

Minutes from Casa:
35 minutes

About:
Owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy. On Pennsylvania Ave north of Hwy 82 in Patagonia.

Location:
One hour west of Sierra Vista, this lush riparian area provides habitat for over 200 species of birds. Fee required at preserve. The nearby Roadside Rest Area on Hwy 82 is another spot to visit. Carefully cross the highway and walk along the fence marking private land along Sonoita Creek. Rose-throated Becards have nested in the sycamores here in recent years. High desert and riparian habitats. High desert resident birds and migrants.

Fee:
$6 per person

Website:
nature.org

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour

About:
Recently added the Sonoita Creek Natural area to its attractions. The area boasts shorebirds, flycatchers , and even a trogon or two. You can rent a boat to see the area, take the trail around the lake, or take advantage of a guided pontoon boat trip. Overnight full-hookup camping is available.

Location:
Located 13 miles southwest of Patagonia. Easy access by car.

Fee:
Park entrance fee is $7 per car up to 4 people.

Website:
azstateparks.com

Minutes from Casa:
1.5 hours

About:
Of the 700 butterfly species you can see in North America, over 200 can be seen in Patagonia. August is an excellent time to visit.

Location:
The open butterfly garden is in the Patagonia Town Park.

Fee:
N/A

Website:
patagoniaaz.com

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour 13 minutes

About:
This is definitely the place to see hummingbirds in Pataonia. Marian Paton’s yard is open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk; it borders the Patagonia sewer ponds and the preserve property. A heron rookery is easy to watch from the viewing area.

Location:
Located 1 ¼ miles southeast of the Preserve Visitor Center on Blue Haven Road; 477 Pennsylvania Ave., Patagonia, AZ 85624

Fee:
Donations accepted.

Website:
tusconaudubon.org

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour 15 minutes

About:
Owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy, this 300 – acre preserve in the middle elevations of the canyon provides excellent birding opportunities. Famous for its hummingbirds (including Magnificent, Blue-throated and White-eared), but offers even more. Look for Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Duskycapped Flycatchre, Painted Redstart, Elegant Trogon, Arizona woodpecker, and Spotted Towhee.


Location:
Hwy 92 – 6 miles south of Fry Blvd/Hwy 90 in Sierra Vista, 4 miles to the end of Ramsey Canyon Road.

Fee:
$3 for Cochise County residents and members, $5 for nonresident.

Website:
nature.org

Minutes from Casa:
30 minutes

About:
Riparian birds, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk, Belted and Green Kingfisher, Painted Redstart, Hummingbirds, and lots of field and river birds.

Location:
San Pedro House Visitor Center on Hwy 90, east of Sierra Vista on the west bank of the San Pedro River. Ponds, bookstore, tours. Watch for the Green Kingfisher. The SPRNCA stretches 40 miles from Casa de San Pedro (Waters Rd) on the south all the way to St. David. Various access points include Casa de San Pedro, Hereford Road bridge, San Pedro House, Charleston Road, and the Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David.

Fee:
Day use is free

Website:
blm.gov

Minutes from Casa:
15 minutes

About:
All of the common oak woodland birds such as Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Bridled Titmouse and Montezuma Quail are found here along with mammals such as White-tailed Deer, White-nosed Coati and Javelina.

Location:
Coronado Memorial Road off Hwy 92, 16 miles south of Sierra Vista and 21 miles west of Bisbee.

Fee:
Free

Website:
nps.gov

Minutes from Casa:
30 minutes

About:
Riparian habitat. Resident and migrant birds.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy to moderate hikes from parking area.

Fee:
Free

Website:
portalarizona.com

Minutes from Casa:
2 hours 30 minutes

About:
High desert grasslands and some riparian areas. High desert residents and migrant birds. Unique and rare vegetative communities including five of the rarest habitat types in the American Southwest: cienegas (marshlands), cottonwood-willow riparian forests, sacaton grasslands, mesquite bosques, and semi-desert grasslands.

Location:
Easy access by car when dirt roads are dry. Easy hikes.

Fee:
Free

Website:
blm.gov

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes

About:
Mountain canyon habitat. Montane birds and Spotted Owl.

Location:
Moderate to difficult access by car. Four wheel drive advisable beyond picnic areas. Strenuous hike in Shelite Canyon. Easy to moderate hiking in Garden Canyon

Fee:
Unknown

Website:
wildlifeviewingareas.com

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes

About:
High desert habitat. Hummingbird garden and resident desert birds.

Location:
Fee area. Easy access by car.

Fee:
Cave tours: adults $23.00

Website:
azstateparks.com

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes

About:
High desert and riparian habitats. High desert resident birds and migrants.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy walks around parking areas. Trip includes stops at 2 spring fed ponds and golf course.

Fee:
Unknown

Website:
kinospringsgc.com

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour 30 minutes

About:
High desert and mountain canyon habitats. High desert, montaine and migrant birds.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy, moderate and strenuous hikes.

Fee:
Varies

Website:
friendsofmaderacanyon.org

Minutes from Casa:
2 hours 30 minutes

About:
Man made lake. Waterfowl and riparian birds. Sandhill Cranes Nov-March.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy hikes from parking area.

Fee:
Unknown

Website:
azgfd.com

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes

About:
Huachuca and Garden Canyons on the Fort.  LIMITED ACCESS

Location:
Adjoins the west side of Sierra Vista.  Access through the Main or East Gates.  Ask for detailed map directions and advice about permitted hours, road closures, etc when you enter the base.  Access is very limited due to security concerns (think terrorist shootings on military bases by persons who were already permitted to be on those bases….)

NOTICE:
 Homeland Security Regulations limit access to military bases.  Day passes for US Citizens with government issued IDs require applying for access, submitting to background checks, and filling out a lot of paperwork (plan on at least 1 hour for processing – and only go at non-busy times… whatever they are.)  No foreign nationals permitted.

Why go?
Good canyon birding (Mexican Spotted Owl, Elegant Trogons, Montezuma Quail, Antelope, etc, etc.)  Worth the effort if you can put up with the long lines to get day permits AND are a US citizen with proper ID and willing to submit to a background check.

Minutes from Casa:
30 minutes

You can view the birds frequenting our backyard feeders by linking to our Haiku Box report online.  The Haiku Box is a fun addition to any back yard.  It “listens” for bird calls, tweets, hoots, quacks etc, and identifies the species and keeps a log of the birds it hears/identifies.  So any time you want to see which birds are at our feeders “today”, you can just link to the Haiku Box app at the following LINK (for the Casa).  From the Haiku App you can also buy your own HaikuBox to track your own yard birds (fun!), or you can use their map to locate public Haiku Boxes around the country.  Just create your free account on their site and start exploring! Going to the Olympic Peninsula in Washington? – pick a Haiku Box yard and get a preview of the birds around that Box. There are several other Haiku Box sites in SE Arizona so do a bit of a tour of the area to get a broader view of the many species throughout this birding hotspot!

Bird Guides in Southeast Arizona

We are fortunate to have many excellent bird guides in the area who can assist you with bird tours for groups or individuals, for a week-long itinerary or a day, or even a part day, or an evening Owl Prowl. The tour companies listed below also provide birding and nature tours to the best birding in the World, the US, South America, and even Hereford, AZ!


We highly recommend each of the following guides and tour companies:

Ken Blankenship

Southeast Arizona & Texas

Ted Mouras

Hereford, AZ

Kristi Gallo

Hereford, AZ

Peg Abbott

Portal, AZ

Sandy Anderson

Sierra Vista, AZ

Melody Kehl

Tucson, AZ

Kieth Kamper

Tucson, AZ

Richard Fray

Rio Rico, AZ

Wings Bird Tours

Tucson, AZ

Scott Wilbur

Southeast Arizona

Jeff Babson

Southern Arizona

Kathe Anderson

Phoenix, AZ