Paton Hummingbird Haven – A Birders Paradise
Paton Hummingbird Haven is a short day trip from Down By The River B and B that will take you through wine country and into the rolling hill country of Patagonia. This drive is very scenic with scattered oak trees dotting the landscape after you leave Sonoita. The Paton Hummingbird Haven started as the home of Wally and Marion Paton in 1974. They found this ideal spot located on a quiet back street with a wooded area surrounding the property. Over the years the Paton’s developed the site to attract birds and butterflies. The property was covered with hummingbird and seed feeders.
Over the years bird watchers would gather outside the yard to look at the birds. The Paton Hummingbird Haven was a draw and the Patons finally allowed the visitors to enter the property to better see the birds. They installed a tent cover
and placed seating under it to give the birder some shade and allow them to relax while viewing the activity. The Haven also had a plastic tote that contains birding identification books for the use of the birders. That is a nice thing to have if you forgot your copy. There is also a white board where people put down what they have seen. The site became famous all over the world for the opportunities to see a large variety of birds in a single setting. With reports of over 200 species of birds having been seen in the yard over the years, this location is probably the highest number that have been recorded anywhere.
When Barb and I opened the B and B in 2005, we had heard of the Paton’s site in Patagonia but with all the things you have to do to provide a good B and B experience for your guests we never were able to visit the location. Many of our guests have told us about this venue and raved about the many birds that they had seen. This past year I had heard that the American Bird Conservancy, The Tucson Audubon and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours were working together to purchase the site from the Paton heirs. The goal was to purchase the property and to be able to maintain this fantastic birding experience for future birding enthusiasts.
Recently Angie and I decided to plan a day when we had no guests and make a day trip to Paton’s and see exactly what everyone was talking about. With that in mind we set out early one morning to head for Patagonia. The trip took us a little over an hour but the scenery is magnificent. We enjoyed the drive and once we were in Patagonia we looked for 4th Ave, made a right turn and went to Pennsylvania St. Turning left we drove to 477 Pennsylvania and parked in the shade of a large tree. The Haven has a caretaker that waters the yard and keeps the feeders filled. This is a constant job for one person. He told us that he goes through more than 20 pounds of seed a day. There is more to learn about this great place and so the next blog will go into the experience that we had looking at the birds during our stay at the Paton Hummingbird Haven.