Sonoita Creek Birding Sites
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Birding in Sonoita and Patagonia

The best birding tours are conducted out of Bisbee, AZ by the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO) and by the Patagonia Bird and Butterfly Co., located in the town of Patagonia, AZ. Birds commonly seen in Patagonia 2008: Dusky Flycatcher, Mexican Jay, Bridled Titmouse, Black-capped Gnat catcher.
On the northern edge of Nogales ( west of Patagonia, AZ) is the Kino Springs Golf Course. The ponds there still attract many water-loving birds, including Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. In summer, watch along the entrance road for Varied Buntings, Gray Hawks, and Black Vultures, Watch for Tropical Kingbirds and Bronzed Cowbirds around the clubhouse in summer.
Northeast of Sonoita, along Hwy 82 and Hwy 83 , is the Bureau of Land Management's Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (formerly Empire-Cienega Ranch), an excellent place for grassland and wetland birds including Pronghorn.
South of Hwy 82, in the Coronado National Forest and west of the Huachuca Mountains, are the San Rafael Grasslands- a prime habitat for Cassin's and Botteri's sparrows. Other local hot spots include the Empire-Cienega Ranch, Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, and the Leslie Canyon Road nestled in the Sulphur Springs Valley.
Located in the Coronado National Forest, on the north end of the Santa Ritas, is Madera Canyon. This densely wooded canyon is one of the most famous birding sites in all of Arizona. In the late summer rainy season, Cassin's and Botteri's sparrows can often be heard singing here. Florida (pronounced "flor-EE-dah") Wash is a great spot for lowland and foothill species, including Varied Bunting and Rufous-winged Sparrows. Most of the sky island "specialties," including Elegant Trogon and Yellow-eyed Junco, can be found in the oak woodlands and pine-oak forests of the upper canyon, along with occasional rarities such as Flame-colored Tanagers and Crescent-chested Warblers. Passes for access to the Madera Canyon Recreation Area are offered by the Forest Service and are good for the Sabino Canyon and the Catalina Mountains as well. Above the entrance here is the feeding station at Santa Rita Lodge. The Lodge is open to the public and offers an easy introduction to the canyon’s birds, especially hummingbirds. Broad-billed Hummingbirds are common here along with up to 11 other species. Trails that begin both below and above the lodge lead to higher elevation habitats.


Local area bird list:

Cassin’s vireo, Hutton’s vireo, Mexican jay, Chihuahuan raven, violet-green swallow, rough-winged swallow, cliff swallow, barn swallow, bridled titmouse, verdin bushtit, white-breasted nuthatch, rock wren, canyon wren, house wren, ruby-crowned kinglet, blue-gray gnat catcher., bluebird, Swainson’s thrush, hermit thrush, northern mockingbird, brown thrasher, curve-billed thrasher, crissal thrasher European starling, yellow warbler, yellow-rumped warbler, gray warbler, Townsend’s warbler, MacGillivray’s warbler, common yellowthroat, Wilson’s warbler, painted redstart, yellow-breasted chat, summer tanager, western tanager, green-tailed towhee, spotted towhee, canyon towhee, Abert’s towhee, rufous-crowned sparrow, lark sparrow, black-throated sparrow, fox sparrow, song sparrow, northern cardinal, pyrrhuloxia , black-headed grosbeak, lazuli bunting, red-winged blackbird, hooded oriole, Bullock’s oriole, Scott’s oriole, western meadowlark, Brewer’s blackbird, great-tailed grackle, bronzed cowbird, brown-headed cowbird, house finch, lesser goldfinch , house sparrow, tri colored heron, Mississippi kite, least tern, red-eyed vireo, buff-collared nightjar, black-capped gnat catcher., prairie warbler, hooded warbler, ovenbird slate-throated redstart,
ruf.-capped warbler, flame-col. tanager, Botteri’s sparrow, rose-br. Grosbeak, guinea hen, great horned owl, Ruby Throated Hummingbirds.

Sonoita Creek Hummingbirds Drinking Callio