Southeast Arizona Birding Abounds Around Down by the River Bed and Breakfast
Down By The River Bed and Breakfast is located on the San Pedro River just at the northern end of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Saint David, making it a prime location for Southeast Arizona birding. Down By The River is the Lodging Hub of Cochise County because we are located on the San Pedro River and also because we are a short distance to many birding areas in the county. Why are we at a great location like this? Well let me tell you why. The San Pedro River is the last free flowing river in Arizona. Where the bridge in Saint David crosses the river, the river flow is underground beginning some time in late April or early May but will be back with high flood waters as soon as the monsoons have hit in July. At Down By The River B and B, the San Pedro still has surface water into June. Sometimes it will go underground in the area until the monsoons start up. Birds are still seen in the area during this time because of the abundance of food , the spring fed ponds in the area and hummingbirds also find a place to eat at our feeders. Click here to see other birding area locations that are near to us.
I have had many birders ask me what types of birds there are to observe in the area. Since 2005 when Down By The River B and B opened its doors, we have enjoyed the opportunity to watch the birds in the area. Bird watching here is unlike Phoenix, where everything seems to be a pigeon, a grackle or an LBJ (little brown job) as my birding friend Randy likes to call them. There are still the LBJs that frequent the area but now we are able to determine the species names, sometimes. There are many birds in the area that have great coloring such as vermillion flycatchers, gold finches and warblers to name a few. There are always the local birds that spend the winter and summers in St. David including the roadrunner, house finches, doves, sparrows, lesser gold finches and a Sayes Phoebe that built her nest in 2008 and returns every year to raise a brood or two. In 2011 and 2012 a Black Throated Sparrow took up residence in the breezeway to hatch her eggs. Two young were raised in the nest. During the winter, the roadrunner has kept warm by roosting on the outdoor fireplace or on our wood lintel that we have hanging in the breezeway. Sometimes the roadrunner will sit against the bird room or prospector room window. One of the reasons we chose Saint David for our B and B was because of the San Pedro River. This river corridor is one of the best birding areas in the United States for migratory birds with approximately 400 documented species found in the area. The peak times for migration occur during March and April when flying north and September and October for the southern return.
Since we opened Down By The River the following list of birds has been compiled with the help of our guests and from our own observations. The birds have been spotted either on our property by guests, who are usually sitting on the patio, or are down along the San Pedro River near the property. We have established a trail from the patio to the river for our guests to use. With only a 10- to 90-minute drive time, our guests have gone to many birding locations that have species not on our list. Sheri Williamson, a Director and founder of Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, has stated in the National Wildlife Magazine that the Sky Islands in this part of Arizona is unique specifically saying, “Here you can see birds that occur nowhere else in the United States.” When planning your next trip for birding lodging on the San Pedro River consider us.
I just recently came across a website that has different bird call recordings from all over the world or by specific area. People can contribute sounds when they sign up. The site is http://www.xeno-canto.org/
So if you want to have a relaxing time and take a gander at natures beauty on the wing, consider Down By The River as a central hub and starting off place for your birding activities. We are proud members of the Tucson Audubon Association but we are also novices to this hobby and not experts. We do enjoy the times when we are observing the birds that frequent the area and we look forward to adding to our list as we experience more sightings.
In November of 2012, I was able to witness a fight among two Anna’s Hummingbirds. These two were at a feeder and the fight lasted about 20 minutes. I was able to video the fight and it is here for you to see.
Birding Guides that operate here in Southeastern Arizona
Email Contact – wezil@ wezilwalravenbirdtours.com
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Stuart Healy (semi retired)
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