Birding

Birding at Casa de San PedroFor those interested in southeast Arizona birding, Casa de San Pedro is centrally located, permitting easy day trips to other birding “hot spots” such as Madera Canyon, Patagonia, Empire Cienega, Garden Canyon, Miller Canyon and Ramsey Canyon. Other attractions include Kartchner Caverns, Bisbee, Tombstone, Coronado National Memorial, Old Mexico, and the Chiricahua National Monument.

Arizona is a vast landscape of bold color, formations and piercing beauty. The southeastern corner is no exception. Isolated mountains called “Sky Islands” rise abruptly from the arid desert highlands, harbor a tremendous variety of plant and animal life and border the San Pedro Valley. The unique grassland of the valley is supported by the San Pedro River, which enters Arizona from Sonora, Mexico and flows north to join the Gila River.

The inn is adjacent to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and is situated on 10 acres bordering the San Pedro River. The broad grasslands in the valley and the cottonwood and willow trees along the river provide a constant supply of food, shelter and water for wildlife. This is a unique habitat attracting over 335 species of birds, 82 species of mammals, and 47 species of amphibians and reptiles. Over 100 species of resident and breeding birds and another 200+ species of migrant and wintering birds occur in this area, which represents roughly half of the regularly occurring species in North America. Notable birds include 36 species of raptors such as the Gray Hawk and Mississippi Kite. Other species are the Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Green Kingfisher and Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Rounding out the list are 42 species of sparrows and their allies, such as Botteri’s Sparrow, Black-throated Sparrow and the Pyrrhuloxia.

Birds near Casa de San PedroThe San Pedro River is considered one of the largest and most critical avian migratory corridors remaining in the western United States. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area provides habitat for over 100 species of breeding birds, and provides water, food and shelter for another 250 species of migratory and wintering birds. In addition, the river supports one of the largest cottonwood-willow forest canopies remaining in Arizona and is one of the last free-flowing rivers in the Southwest. The river valley also hosts over 80 species of mammals, one of the highest concentrations in the western hemisphere.

Our central location gives you easy access to popular southeast Arizona birding destinations such as Ramsey Canyon, Beatty’s Orchard, Garden Canyon, Patagonia Preserve, San Pedro Riparian Area, Kino Springs and White-water Draw. Elevations of 4250 feet on the San Pedro River to 7500 feet in the mountain canyons provide comfortable birding in our high desert environment. A rich variety of sparrows, songbirds, quail, flycatchers, phoebes, towhees, kingbirds and hawks/falcons are available for your study and pleasure. See below for more details. Let us arrange for local guides to make your birding experience more productive.

Excellent birding is available year-round. Southeast Arizona birding has an incredible variety of birds and five distinct periods. Learn about them in our downloadable PDF: Birding by the Seasons

Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory at the Casa!

Join one of the variety of tours and learning experiences led by Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO). These educational programs, offered for the discriminating nature enthusiast, combine outstanding southwestern hospitality with some of the most exciting and diverse birding in North America. SABO handles their own reservations for bird tours. Please see their website for their calendar of events and to sign up for the tour or walk of your choice.

SABO is featuring Sunday Morning walks at Whitewater Draw to see the Sandhill Cranes and overwintering waterfowl from December through March.

SABO will also be hosting River Walks along the San Pedro River at Casa de San Pedro from late March through mid May on Tuesday and Friday mornings each week. Pair a River Walk with SABO with a great Mexican Dinner at the Casa the evening prior (Mondays and Thursdays)!

SABO will also be doing Humming Bird Banding at the Casa on Friday afternoons from early April through early June. Be sure to join them at the Casa and hold a hummer in your hand to release it - and learn about hummingbirds from our own nationally famous author of the Perterson Guide to the Hummingbirds of North America - Sheri Williamson!
Birding at Casa de San Pedro

Birding On Your Own

Ash Canyon B&B

About:
One of the best overall venues to sit in comfortable chairs and see the best assortment of humming birds and other canyon birds at all the feeders. Mary Jo Ballator’s open yard is a marvel, and so is she ! Our #1 Choice for the best birding!

Location:
Hwy 92 about 12 miles south of Sierra Vista, 0.7 miles past mile marker 332 to Turkey Track Road. Turn right on Turkey Track and follow it about ½ mile (curves left, then right) to the fence across the road.  Limited parking in spaces marked "BIRDER PARKING" only. The viewing area with chairs is at the west end of the house (toward the mountains).

Fee:
$5 donation per person

Website:
ashcanyon.com

Minutes from Casa:
15 minutes



Beatty's Miller Canyon

About:
Mountain meadow. Hummingbirds and montaine birds.

Location:
Located 8 miles south of Fry Blvd./Hwy 92 to Miller Canyon Road. The Beatty’s Guest Ranch is 2.6 miles west on Miller Canyon Road. The last 1.8 miles are dirt and rough in spots.

Fee:
$5 donation per person

Website:
beattysguestranch.com

Minutes from Casa:
20 minutes



Carr Canyon and Peak

About:
One of the most reliable localities for Buff-breasted Flycatcher as well as other high altitude birds such as Red-faced Warbler, Red Crossbill, Yelloweyed Junco, Olive Warbler, Pygmy Nuthatch and Steller’s Jay.

Location:
7 miles south of Fry Blvd./Hwy 92 to Carr Canyon Road – 8.5 miles to the campgrounds. Unpaved, switchback road.

Website:
fs.usda.gov

Minutes from Casa:
35 minutes



Patagonia Sonoita Creek Preserve

About:
Owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy. On Pennsylvania Ave north of Hwy 82 in Patagonia.

Location:
One hour west of Sierra Vista, this lush riparian area provides habitat for over 200 species of birds. Fee required at preserve. The nearby Roadside Rest Area on Hwy 82 is another spot to visit. Carefully cross the highway and walk along the fence marking private land along Sonoita Creek. Rose-throated Becards have nested in the sycamores here in recent years. High desert and riparian habitats. High desert resident birds and migrants.

Fee:
$6 per person

Website:
nature.org

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour



Patagonia Lake State Park

About:
Recently added the Sonoita Creek Natural area to its attractions. The area boasts shorebirds, flycatchers , and even a trogon or two. You can rent a boat to see the area, take the trail around the lake, or take advantage of a guided pontoon boat trip. Overnight full-hookup camping is available.

Location:
Located 13 miles southwest of Patagonia. Easy access by car.

Fee:
Park entrance fee is $7 per car up to 4 people.

Website:
azstateparks.com

Minutes from Casa:
1.5 hours



Patagonia Butterfly Garden

About:
Of the 700 butterfly species you can see in North America, over 200 can be seen in Patagonia. August is an excellent time to visit.

Location:
The open butterfly garden is in the Patagonia Town Park.

Fee:
N/A

Website:
patagoniaaz.com

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour 13 minutes



Paton's of Patagonia

About:
This is definitely the place to see hummingbirds in Pataonia. Marian Paton’s yard is open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk; it borders the Patagonia sewer ponds and the preserve property. A heron rookery is easy to watch from the viewing area.

Location:
Located 1 ¼ miles southeast of the Preserve Visitor Center on Blue Haven Road; 477 Pennsylvania Ave., Patagonia, AZ 85624

Fee:
Donations accepted.

Website:
tusconaudubon.org

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour 15 minutes



Ramsey Canyon Preserve

About:
Owned and operated by the Nature Conservancy, this 300 – acre preserve in the middle elevations of the canyon provides excellent birding opportunities. Famous for its hummingbirds (including Magnificent, Blue-throated and White-eared), but offers even more. Look for Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, Duskycapped Flycatchre, Painted Redstart, Elegant Trogon, Arizona woodpecker, and Spotted Towhee.


Location:
Hwy 92 – 6 miles south of Fry Blvd/Hwy 90 in Sierra Vista, 4 miles to the end of Ramsey Canyon Road.

Fee:
$3 for Cochise County residents and members, $5 for nonresident.

Website:
nature.org

Minutes from Casa:
30 minutes



San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area

About:
Riparian birds, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk, Belted and Green Kingfisher, Painted Redstart, Hummingbirds, and lots of field and river birds.

Location:
San Pedro House Visitor Center on Hwy 90, east of Sierra Vista on the west bank of the San Pedro River. Ponds, bookstore, tours. Watch for the Green Kingfisher. The SPRNCA stretches 40 miles from Casa de San Pedro (Waters Rd) on the south all the way to St. David. Various access points include Casa de San Pedro, Hereford Road bridge, San Pedro House, Charleston Road, and the Holy Trinity Monastery in St. David.

Fee:
Day use is free

Website:
blm.gov

Minutes from Casa:
15 minutes



Coronado National Memorial

About:
All of the common oak woodland birds such as Acorn Woodpecker, Mexican Jay, Bridled Titmouse and Montezuma Quail are found here along with mammals such as White-tailed Deer, White-nosed Coati and Javelina.

Location:
Coronado Memorial Road off Hwy 92, 16 miles south of Sierra Vista and 21 miles west of Bisbee.

Fee:
Free

Website:
nps.gov

Minutes from Casa:
30 minutes



Casa de San Pedros

About:
Mesquite grasslands and riparian habitat. Resident and migrant birds.

Location:
Easy to moderate hiking from inn.

Fee:
Free

Website:
You're on it!

Minutes from Casa:
You're here!



Cave Creek/Portal, AZ

About:
Riparian habitat. Resident and migrant birds.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy to moderate hikes from parking area.

Fee:
Free

Website:
portalarizona.com

Minutes from Casa:
2 hours 30 minutes



Empire Cienega

About:
High desert grasslands and some riparian areas. High desert residents and migrant birds. Unique and rare vegetative communities including five of the rarest habitat types in the American Southwest: cienegas (marshlands), cottonwood-willow riparian forests, sacaton grasslands, mesquite bosques, and semi-desert grasslands.

Location:
Easy access by car when dirt roads are dry. Easy hikes.

Fee:
Free

Website:
blm.gov

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes



Garden/Shelite Canyons at Fort Huachuca

About:
Mountain canyon habitat. Montane birds and Spotted Owl.

Location:
Moderate to difficult access by car. Four wheel drive advisable beyond picnic areas. Strenuous hike in Shelite Canyon. Easy to moderate hiking in Garden Canyon

Fee:
Unknown

Website:
wildlifeviewingareas.com

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes



Kartchner Caverns

About:
High desert habitat. Hummingbird garden and resident desert birds.

Location:
Fee area. Easy access by car.

Fee:
Cave tours: adults $23.00

Website:
azstateparks.com

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes



Kino Springs

About:
High desert and riparian habitats. High desert resident birds and migrants.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy walks around parking areas. Trip includes stops at 2 spring fed ponds and golf course.

Fee:
Unknown

Website:
kinospringsgc.com

Minutes from Casa:
1 hour 30 minutes



Madera Canyon

About:
High desert and mountain canyon habitats. High desert, montaine and migrant birds.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy, moderate and strenuous hikes.

Fee:
Varies

Website:
friendsofmaderacanyon.org

Minutes from Casa:
2 hours 30 minutes



Whitewater Draw

About:
Man made lake. Water fowl and riparian birds. Sandhill Cranes Nov-March.

Location:
Easy access by car. Easy hikes from parking area.

Fee:
Unknown

Website:
azgfd.com

Minutes from Casa:
45 minutes



Fort Huachuca Army Base

About:
Huachuca and Garden Canyons on the Fort.  LIMITED ACCESS

Location:
Adjoins the west side of Sierra Vista.  Access through the Main or East Gates.  Ask for detailed map directions and advice about permitted hours, road closures, etc when you enter the base.  Access is very limited due to security concerns (think terrorist shootings on military bases by persons who were already permitted to be on those bases....)

NOTICE:
New (August 2015) Homeland Security Regulations limit access to military bases.  Day passes for US Citizens with government issued IDs require applying for access, submitting to background checks, and filling out a lot of paperwork (plan on at least 1 hour for processing - and only go at non-busy times... whatever they are.)  No foreign nationals permitted.

Why go?
Good canyon birding (Mexican Spotted Owl, Elegant Trogons, Montezuma Quail, Antelope, etc, etc.)  Worth the effort if you can put up with the long lines to get day permits AND are a US citizen with proper ID and willing to submit to a background check.

Minutes from Casa:
30 minutes
Birding at Casa de San Pedro

Bird Guides in SE Arizona

We are fortunate to have many excellent bird guides in the area who can assist you with bird tours for groups or individuals, for a week-long itinerary or a day, or even a part day, or an evening Owl Prowl. The tour companies listed below also provide birding and nature tours to the best birding in the World, the US, South America, and even Hereford, AZ!

We highly recommend each of the following guides and tour companies:


Sheri Williamson and Tom Wood

About:
Southeast Arizona Bird Observatory*, Bisbee, AZ

Contact:
(520) 432-1338
sabo@sabo.org

Website:
sabo.org
Ted Mouras

About:
Hereford, AZ

Contact:
(520) 803-0221
tedmouras@mindspring.com
">Wezil Walraven

About:
Hereford AZ or New Mexico

Contact:
(520) 366-6722
wezil@wezilwalravenbirdtours.com

Website:
wezilwalraven.blogspot.com

Peg Abbott


About:
Naturalist Journeys*, Portal, AZ
Going to Portal AZ? - just ask Peg about the many bird guides available in Portal/Cave Creek, she can help you locate a great guide for the Chirachauas and Portal.

Contact:
(520) 558-1146
info@naturalistjourneys.com

Website:
naturalistjourneys.com

Sandy Anderson


About:
Gray Hawk Nature Center, Sierra Vista AZ

Contact:
(520) 226-8410 or (520) 458-0542
grayhawksandy@gmail.com (best way to reach her)

Website:
grayhawknaturecenter.org

Melody Kehl


About:
WINGS*, Tucson AZ

Contact:
(520) 320-9868
wings@wingsbirds.com

Website:
az-birding.com

Bob Behrstock


About:
Hereford AZ

Contact:
(520) 378-3262
naturewideimages.cox.net

Website:
naturewideimages.com




Mark Pretti


About:
Mark Pretti Nature Tours*, Hereford, AZ

Contact:
(520) 803-6889
mpnaturetours@earthlink.net

Website:
markprettinaturetours.com




Wings Bird Tours*


About:
Tuscon based.
Great Guides like Jon Dunn, Rich Hoyer, Will Russell, Jake Mohlman, Matt Brooks.

Contact:
(520) 320-9868 or (866) 547-9868
wings@wingsbirds.com

Website:
wingsbirds.com


Kathe Anderson

About
Birding seminars at Casa de San Pedro
Phoenix based

Contact:
(480) 951-4890
kathe.cool@cox.net

Kathe will be joining Casa de San Pedro for several workshops in coming months: Birding 101/102/103 in January, and Get Ready for Migration in early March. Plus more fun birding workshops in the future. See our events calendar for dates.

As a volunteer, Kathe has led over a hundred Bird Walks for the Boyer Thompson Arboretum, Hassyampa River Preserve, Glilbert Water Ranch and various Audubon societies. As a professional guide she has led as many walks for clients from several states to a variety of sites in Arizona, New Mexico, and California. She has also developed and taught a series of interactive birding classes designed for beginners and intermediate birders to hone their observation and identification skills. Some of the classes Kathe had developed (and some of which she will be presenting at the Casa in future months):

  • Birding 101—books, binoculars, the basics
  • Birding 102—calls and behaviors
  • Birding 103—families and habitats
  • Birding by Ear
  • Beyond Color and Shape
  • Hummingbirds
  • Birding journaling
  • Woodpeckers and wrens
  • Migration
  • Flycatchers
  • Eggs and nests
  • Ducks/Not ducks
  • Feathers and fluff
  • Desert Dozen
  • Backyard Birding
  • Raptor ID

* Indicates Tour Companies that Feature SE Arizona and other great birding locations.
Please note that non-US citizens must make special arrangements in advance to enter the Fort Huachuca military facility. An escort with military clearance is required and may be arranged through the Sierra Vista Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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Casa de San Pedro Bed and Breakfast
8933 S. Yell Lane
Hereford, AZ 85615, USA
(520) 366-1300

A Naturalist Haven!

Here you can view 355 species of birds and hundreds of butterflies. Experts agree Casa de San Pedro is one of the most romantic Arizona getaways and the most upscale Southern Arizona Bed and Breakfast. Naturalists, bird watchers, history buffs and environmentalists herald the inn as a world-class accommodation with a heart. One seasoned travel writer exclaimed that the Casa is "90 miles from Tucson, but only inches from Heaven."