There are over 500 species of birds just waiting to be spotted in the Tucson area.
Discover a Very Birdy Area
Whether you want to identify birds in your yard or you are interested in going on field trips with others, birding is a wonderful pastime. One of the things that makes southeastern Arizona so special is our great diversity of birds due to the range of elevations, mild seasons, Sky Island mountains that link the Rockies to Mexico's Sierra Madre, influences from Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahuan deserts, migratory flyways, and tropical areas south of the border.
Common desert birds that you can see right in urban Tucson include the brilliant Vermilion Flycatcher, Cactus Wren (the Arizona state bird), the always active Verdin, Curve-billed Thrasher, Gila Woodpecker, Gambel’s Quail and the silky black Phainopepla.
The huge number of bird enthusiasts and other wildlife watchers who live in, or visit Arizona contribute a surprising annual "total economic impact" of $1.5 billion to Arizona's economy. It doesn't matter if you are buying some bird seed, a pricy spotting scope, or staying in a bed and breakfast on a trip—you are part of the action!
- Agua Caliente Park for desert birds and riparian species.
- Head north on Catalina Highway to take in as many stops on Mt. Lemmon Highway as time permits.
- Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and/or the Tucson Mountain Unit of Saguaro National Park for desert birds and Sweetwater Wetlands (except summer) for water birds.
- Catalina State Park for desert birds and Arthur Pack Park for water birds.
- Sabino Canyon plus a more thorough exploration of Mt. Lemmon.
- Florida Wash for desert and grassland birds, Madera Canyon for oak woodland birds and hummingbirds and visit Arivaca Cienega.
- Catalina State Park, Madera Canyon, Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.
This prime location is one of the most rewarding bird-watching destinations in North America.
Video: Two part slideshow "Birds of the Catalina Foothills"
Bring Your Binoculars
Follow the birds every month with Tucson Audubon's The Southeastern Arizona Birding Year. Find the best time to visit if your goal is to see the maximum diversity of southwestern "specialties" (between mid-April and mid-September) with tips for birding travelers from Southeastern Arizona Birding Observatory.
Discover southern Arizona's surprising natural science, from Sonoran Desert to sky islands, with the Mt. Lemmon Science Tour smart-phone app, an audio-video journey along scenic Catalina Highway featuring music and narration by Tucson band Calexico.
Sandhill Crane Cam
Between October and March or early April, Arizona Game and Fish has a wildlife viewing camera trained on Whitewater Draw where the sandhill cranes spend the winter. The site says that the cranes tend to be seen early in the morning and return after feeding shortly before noon.
Birding Hot Spots
Featured Urban Oases
Featured Tucson-Area Natural Habitats
Featured Southeast-Arizona Natural Habitats
Featured Birding-Naturalist Resources
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