San Pedro River Bird Migration

San Pedro River Bird Migration could be early this year?

The weather has been warm and the San Pedro River bird migration may be earlier this year than it has been in years past. Normally the birding opportunities for migrant birds won’t start until mid to late March or early April. This is because we usually are still experiencing freezing morning temps in Cochise County. This year has been an anomaly however. The freezing morning temperatures ended in late January and the trees along the river started to leaf out in February. In the 11 years I have been here at Down By The River B and B during Spring migration, the trees along the river have never leafed out in mid February. So does this mean we might be seeing the migratory birds earlier?

san pedro river bird migration

The Yellow-Headed Blackbirds have been seen flocking here in St. David.

The warmer temperatures in 2012 signaled an early migratory pattern of birds and this year there is a similar warming of temperatures that may indicate that the birds will start moving earlier than normal. Cornell Lab of Ornithology seems to think that it might be the case with their forecast. We have seen the Yellow Headed Black birds here already and other bird activity seems to be picking up. So bird migration in Southeastern Arizona could be starting much earlier than normal.

With the trees leafing out and the insect levels higher, this will be a draw for the birds. The food and water sources will lure the birds north into our area. The temperatures have been in the 70s most of February and it appears that this will continue into March unabated. The San Hill Cranes are still here and haven’t started moving on yet but they still have a good feed in the fields around Willcox. They will start to move out earlier this year as the month heats up. They are normally leaving by the end of March.

We are still waiting to see our first hummingbirds. We start seeing them in later March and if they show up earlier it may be an indicator that the migration will also be early. Time will tell and we can only wait and see. Mother Nature will dictate what is to happen and we can only observe to find out if our guess is right.


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