Bird-watching in Saguaro National Park
To check out the more than 200 species of birds living or migrating through the park, begin by focusing your binoculars on the limbs of the saguaros, where many birds make their home. In general, early morning and early evening are the best times for sightings. In winter and spring, volunteer-led birding hikes begin at the visitor centers.
The finest areas to flock to in the Rincon Mountain District are the Desert Ecology Trail, where you may find rufous-winged sparrow, verdins, and Cooper's hawks along the washes, and the Javelina picnic area, where you will most likely spot canyon wrens and black-chinned sparrows. At the Tucson Mountain District, sit down on one of the visitor center benches and look for ash-throated flycatchers, Say's phoebes, curve-billed thrashers, and Gila woodpeckers. During the cooler months keep a lookout for the wintering neotropical migrants such as hummingbirds, swallows, orioles, and warblers.
Outfitters and Expeditions
Audubon Nature Shop. The society's Audubon Nature Shop organizes free local outings and carries field guides, bird feeders, binoculars, and natural-history books. 300 E. University Blvd., Suite 120, University, Tucson, AZ, 85705. 520/629-0510.
Borderland Tours. Bird-watching tours throughout the state and internationally are led by this company, whose owner, Richard Taylor, has written several photo field guides, including Birds of Southeastern Arizona. 2550 W. Calle Padilla, Northwest, Tucson, AZ, 85745. 520/882-7650. www.borderland-tours.com.
Nature Conservancy. Contact the local branch of the Nature Conservancy about bird-watching trips in nature preserves. 1510 E. Fort Lowell Rd., Tucson, AZ, 85719. 520/622-3861.
Wild Bird Store. This shop is an excellent resource for bird-watching information, feeders, books, and trail guides. 3160 E. Fort Lowell Rd., Central, Tucson, AZ, 85716. 520/322-9466. www.wildbirdsonline.com.
Wings. A Tucson-based company, Wings leads ornithological expeditions worldwide and locally. 1643 N. Alvernon Way, 109, Central, Tucson, AZ, 85712. 520/320-9868 or 866/547-9868. www.wingsbirds.com.
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