San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area – A Birders Wonderland.

Birding the San Pedro House trail

Birding the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is accessed from few locations. One location is the San Pedro House where trails give easy access  to the river..

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) encompasses over 56,000 acres is managed by the BLM. The riparian area is located in Cochise County, Arizona. The NCA extends from the Mexican border to Saint David, 40 miles to the north. The San Pedro River meanders northward through the NCA providing water, forage. There are more than 80 species of mammals, including recently a Jaguar. Nearly 400 species of birds can be spotted. There are about 250 birds that migrate through the area in spring and fall or nest here in the winter. There are also more than 40 reptiles and amphibians that can be found in the preserve.

Ladderback Woodpecker in the nest at the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area photo

Birds can be found nesting along the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area was set aside by law on November 18, 1988 to preserve the vanishing desert riparian ecosystem. This type of ecosystem was extensively found in the Southwest prior to Arizona becoming a state. The NCA is one of the few locations in the southwest that still has a continuously flowing river system. The San Pedro River is the only river in Arizona that is still free flowing. The center of the NCA is located at the San Pedro House. I have written about this site in a previous blog and you can follow this link to read about it.

The area is believed to have been inhabited about 13,000 years ago. A mammoth kill site and a Clovis site can be found in the NCA. In addition to these sites, there are ruins of an old Spanish Presidio, Santa Cruz de Terrenante, established in 1776. During the mining rush, the San Pedro River was a site of mills and towns. These old ghost towns are now part of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and many are accessible from trails along the river..

Cochise County Bird Photography example

The Norther most range for the Gray Hawk is the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. They can be seen in Saint David during the summer.

These days the San Pedro River draws naturalists, bird watchers and people that love explore the sites along the river.  With the great variety of birds, the birders come to the area to fill in those elusive birds on their life list. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is the northern most range for some birds from Central America during the summers breeding season.

Being an NCA, there are few locations that have lodging available along the San Pedro River. Down By The River is the only b and b that is located at the north end of the NCA. The river is easily accessible from the b and b and the patio faces the tree lined San Pedro River. We are centrally located and provide easy access for day trips to many of the birding hotspots or other historical sites in Cochise County. Look us over and try us out.

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