Southeast Arizona Birding Abounds Around Down by the River Bed and Breakfast

King Bird Picture.

Cassin’s King Bird

Down By The River Bed and Breakfast is located on the San Pedro River at the northern end of the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area in Saint David. This location makes it a prime location for Southeast Arizona birding enthusiasts. Down By The River is the Lodging Hub of Cochise County because we are located a short distance to the birding areas and other attractions in Cochise County. When planning your next trip and your looking for a B and B near the southeast Arizona birding locations on the San Pedro River

Cochise County Bird Photography example

Lady Luck allowed me to spot this Gray Hawk and take a photograph of him before he took flight.

consider us. Why is this such a great location? Well let me tell you why. The San Pedro River is the last free flowing river in Arizona and because of this, it is one of the 5 best migratory bird routes in the United States. During the peak migrations, Spring (March and April) and fall (September and October), the surface water at the river can be found from north of St. David all the way south to the Mexican Border. With only a 10  to 90 minute drive time, our guests have visited 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.” Click on the link to see other birding area locations that are near to us.

Barn Swallow Picture

Barn Swallows can be found in the San Pedro Valley area

I have had many birders ask me what types of birds can be found around the B and B and at the adjacent section of the river. Since we opened Down By The River, we have started and updated the  list of birds has been compiled on the sidebar. This list is a continuing work with the help of our guests and from our own observations. The birds were spotted either on our property, or along the San Pedro River near the property. I recently found a website that has different bird call recordings from all over the world or by specific area. I have used the site to help identify some birds that we hear but aren’t able to see very well. People can contribute sounds when they sign up. The site is To enhance our guests experience, we have established  trails on the property and also have a trail from the patio to the river for our guests to use.

Chipping Sparrow picture

LBJ aka Chipping Sparrow

Crissal Thrasher

The Crissal Thrasher is found in AZ

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. Southeaster Arizona Birding along the San Pedro River Valley is unlike other locations in Arizona, where everything seems to be a pigeon, a grackle or an LBJ (little brown jobs) as my birding friend Randy likes to call them. There are still the LBJs that frequent the area but now we are better able to determine the species names, with the help of books and experience. There are many birds in the area that have vivid coloring such as vermillion flycatchers,

Female Summer Tanager Picture

Female Summer Tanager

summer tanagers, cardinals, gold finches and orioles 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 Say’s 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. Raptors can be seen gliding over the open fields off the back patio during many times of the year. During the winter, a 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.

White Crown Sparrow Picture

The White-crowned Sparrow

Golden Eagle Picture

Golden Eagle at the river

We also are asked about why the river is dry. Although it appears to be dry, the river retreats underground and is still flowing north. At the bridge in Saint David prior to the monsoons in July, the surface water on the San Pedro River flow underground beginning some time in late April or early May. The San Pedro River will be reappear above ground as soon as the monsoons have hit in July. The San Pedro River behind the B and B, will still have surface water into mid to late June and in some cases there is always some surface water. Birds are still seen in the area during this time because of the abundance of food and the spring fed ponds in the area. We do feed the hummingbirds but you will also find a woodpecker that likes to eat at our feeders. To read my blog about the San Pedro River click here.

Sharp shinned hawk picture

Sharp shinned Hawk

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. Take a look at our events page to see different birding activities that can be found during the year.

Here is a special treat for those of you that wish to see something that isn’t recorded too often. 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. Both birds would rest at times and drink nectar and then go back to fighting.  I was able to video the last 10 minutes of the fight and a good portion is here for you to see.

Hummingbird Fight picture

Anna’s Hummingbird Fight Video

We have been asked about Birding Guides that operate here in Southeastern Arizona. As a service to our guests and birding friends, I have included names and contact information for your use if you wish to hire one of them.

Wezil Walraven
Email Contact – wezil@

Melody Kehl
Email Contact –

Mark Pretti
Email Contact –

Stuart Healy (semi retired)
Email contact –

Blue Grossbeak

This picture of a Blue Grossbeak was taken by Randy Van Note in the late afternoon on the Patio at Down By The River B and B on the 4th of July. Being in the shade with the lighter background the blue doesn’t show as well as it could.

Other Birding Links:

Learn about the birding migration patterns in the San Pedro River and Cochise County at E Nature.

Vermilliion Flycatcher

Vermillion Flycatcher after a moth.

There are now 143 birds that have been seen and verified on the property, the adjoining San Pedro River and DMR Ranch area. These birds include:

  • Abert's Towhee
  • American Coot Dec 2013 at Pond
  • American Goldfinch
  • American Kestrel
  • Anna's Hummingbird
  • Ash Throated Flycatcher
  • Aztec Thrush
  • Bewick's Wren Feb 2015
  • Black-chinned Hummingbird
  • Black Phoebe
  • Black Throated Grey Warbler April 29
  • Black Throated Sparrow
  • Blue Grossbeak (July 5, 2013)
  • Brewer's Sparrow
  • Bridled Titmouse
  • Bronzed Cow Bird
  • Bullocks Oriole
  • Calliope Hummingbird
  • Cassins King Bird
  • Chihuahuan Raven
  • Chipping Sparrow Dec 2014
  • Clay-Colored Sparrow - Rare was seen Apr 28, 2013 in the patio area for 15 minutes
  • Cliff Swallow
  • Common Ground Dove
  • Common Raven - August, 2014
  • Cooper's Hawk - Mar 4, 2014
  • Crissal Thrasher - Spotted Jan 23, 2014 by Wezil Walraven
  • Curved Beak Thrasher
  • Dusky Flycatcher
  • Gambel Quail
  • Gila Woodpecker
  • Gilded Flicker Oct 6, 2014
  • Golden Eagle
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Great Horned Owl
  • Great Tailed Grackle
  • Greater Roadrunner
  • Green-tailed Towhee Jan 26, 2014 by guests
  • Grey Flycatcher
  • Grey (Gray) Hawk
  • Hepatic Tanager
  • Hooded Oriole  May 2015
  • Killdeer - Apr 29, 2013
  • Ladderback Woodpecker
  • Lark Sparrow Dec 2014
  • Lazuli Bunting
  • Lesser Goldfinch - Texas Form
  • Lesser Goldfinch - Western Form
  • Lesser Nighthawk
  • Loggerhead Shrike impaling grasshopper - Oct 17, 2013 by guest
  • Lucy's Warbler - April 20, 2014 by guest
  • Magnificent Hummingbird
  • Mallard Duck Dec 2013 at Pond
  • Mississippi Kite  April 2013
  • Mockingbird
  • Morning Dove
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Northern Flicker Jan 2014
  • Northern Harrier
  • Northern Rough Winged Swallow
  • Northern Shoveler - Dec 2013 at Pond
  • Orange Crowned Warbler
  • Peregrine Falcon - Spotted by Kin Quitugua from HawkQuest April 13,2013
  • Pine Siskin Spring 2015
  • Pyrrhuloxia Nov, 2014
  • Purple Martin
  • Red-naped Sapsucker Dec 2014
  • Red Tailed Hawk
  • Red Tailed Hawk (Fuentes Subspecies)
  • Red Winged Blackbird
  • Ruddy Ducks Dec 2013 at pond
  • Rufous Hummingbird
  • Sayes Phoebe
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Scott's Oriole
  • Sharp -shinned Hawk - Feb 28, 2014
  • Snowy Egret
  • Song Sparrow
  • Starling
  • Summer Tanager
  • Swainson's Hawk April 2015
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Verdin Nesting in Cactus 2013
  • Vermillion Flycatcher
  • Vesper Sparrow Dec 2014
  • Violet Green Swallow
  • Virginia's Warbler
  • Warbling Vireo
  • Western King Bird
  • Western Tanager
  • Whip- poor-will
  • White Breasted Nuthatch
  • White-crowned Sparrow - 1st Winter West Taiga Jan 2014
  • White Faced Ibis
  • White Winged Dove  Dec 2014
  • Wilson's Warbler
  • Yellow Breasted Chat
  • Yellow - Headed Blackbird
  • Yellow Eyed Junco
  • Yellow-Rumped Warbler
  • Zonetailed Hawk
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