Here, you’ll find the most beautiful desert in the world, snow-capped mountains, and many iconic views like the Horseshoe Bend at the glorious Grand Canyon. What about the strong vortexes heavily debated about found at Sonoran Desert? Locals believe that it emanates healing powers and is the magnetic force that draws aliens - hence the many alien sighting reports. Arizona will thrill any adventurer and keep them coming back for more. One such attraction that should be gaining more interest in are the bird sanctuaries are scattered across the state, providing refuge for fierce and fancy fowl found locally. If you are driving across the state or holidaying in Phoenix, read on. Take the opportunity to visit these eye-opening bird sanctuaries in Arizona.
1. Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center, Phoenix
Proof that neglected futile ground can be turned into an oasis of sentience for wildlife, Nina Mason Rio Salado Audubon Center, once an industrial dump, is now engaging 15,000 Arizonans in environmental education and hands-on conservation. Take on the trails with a pair of binoculars and watch birds nesting, feeding, or just chilling in its natural habitat for free! The long term inhabitants include the easily identified great blue heron, sleek black Gambel’s quail, and the striking-coloured summer tanager. Perfect for a stroll or a workout, the trails are a great fit for families, nature enthusiasts, and exercise junkies. Just 2 miles (3.2 kilometres) from the South Phoenix downtown, drop by to learn, watch, and enjoy the beauty that thrives from conservation efforts. Many programs are held on a monthly and weekly basis. Do not miss Birds n’ Beer, a lively, entertaining presentation of birds and wildlife featuring local craft beer and wine that happens on the third Thursday of every month.
Nina Mason Pulliam Rio Salado Audubon Center
Address: 3131 S Central Ave, 85040 Phoenix, Arizona
Opening hours: Tue - Fri: 9am - 4pm; Sat: 9am - 1pm (closed on Sun & Mon)
2. The Oasis Sanctuary, Benson
Regarded as social animals, parrots desire social contact with either birds or humans to rid of their anxiety. Because they are such smart birds (and can mimic the human voice), they are often taken in as pets. However, the alarming news is that many parrots (and other exotic ones) are abused or abandoned by their owners. The Oasis Sanctuary serves as an avian rescue and life-care facility, giving these colourful birds a permanent home with rehabilitation. Make an appointment before visiting as entry is by appointment only. It is also situated three hours south-east of Phoenix so you wouldn’t want to drive all the way there and be refused entry. If you have a few days to spare, take the plunge and be a volunteer on site. They provide guest rooms for overnight and extended stays at no cost. You can then work in closer proximity to the creatures and spend time interacting with them.
The Oasis Sanctuary
Address: 5411 N Teran Rd, 85602 Benson, Arizona
Website: The Oasis Sanctuary
Opening hours: 10am - 4pm (daily)
Price: 10 USD
3. Paton Center for Hummingbirds, Patagonia
Coming up this week: a Birds & Community Lecture that will give you a unique glimpse into the amazing world of...Posted by Tucson Audubon's Paton Center for Hummingbirds on Monday, 2 March 2020
In the small, quiet town in Patagonia lies a small, quiet haven for birds, particularly hummingbirds. It all began when the original owners, Wally and Marion Paton, invited birders to sight native and often rare birds at their private yard. After both of them passed away, the birding community built on that inspiring legacy, birthing Paton Center for Hummingbirds. It is not a park for children to frolic around but an impressive garden fitted with feeders to draw the birds. Swing by early in the morning and settle into a comfortable position (either on the benches and a newly built pavilion crafted to look like a hummingbird’s wing) and just watch. About 212 bird species have been reported to be spotted at this 1.4-acre (0.5 hectare) residential property. Among them are violet-crowned hummingbirds, gray hawks, black-headed grosbeak, and thick-billed kingbirds. Birders, this place will bring you joy!
Paton Center for Hummingbirds
Address: 77 Pennsylvania Ave, 85624 Patagonia, Arizona
Website: Paton Center for Hummingbirds
Opening hours: 6:30am - 7:30pm (daily)
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4. Desert Breeze Hummingbird Habitat, Chandler
Situated in the hip suburb of Chandler, Desert Breeze Park is the pride of the county. What was once an area burdened by water retention issues has been reconstructed to be a landscape that features over 50 varieties of drought-tolerant plants, a gorgeous lake, and artistic structures. The introduction of these florae attracted the fauna, particularly hummingbirds and butterflies. Perfect for absolutely everyone, they’ve got giant barbecue pits for gatherings, a choo-choo train for young kiddos, a well-stocked lake for fishing, and pathways for a casual stroll or run. However, the highlight of this park is the prismatic hummingbirds that float around from flower to flower. Care is taken so that no pesticides are applied in and around their habitat as it could eliminate their food source (insects and seeds). The park can be enjoyed in the morning or at night, but if you are out to spot hummingbirds, come by in the morning.
Desert Breeze Hummingbird Habitat
Address: 4700-4724 W Desert St, 85226 Chandler, Arizona
Website: Desert Breeze Hummingbird Habitat
Opening hours: 6am - 11pm (daily)
5. Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, Cibola
You can watch wildlife on television channels like National Geographic and Discovery Chanel, but what if you could be there in the flesh? At Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, approximately three hours west from Phoenix, you can experience the spectacular beauty of nature around you. Located in the floodplain of the lower Colorado River the 18,444-acre (7,464 hectares) is a haven for migratory waterfowl during winter months. Therefore, it is best to visit during the winter months to spot the white-faced ibis, American avocet, black terns, and western sandpiper migrating. Of course, there are also fowls like the burrowing owl, Abert’s towhee, and red-winged blackbird that has made this place their permanent home. Ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, stop by the Visitor Center first to learn more about the available hikes and drives. Then, it is encouraged that you spot the birds from the comfort of your vehicle so you don’t scare them away. The best time to do this is just before sunrise or after sunset. Consider going on the 1-mile (1.6 kilometres) Corn Field Nature Trail if you’d like to work up a sweat while enjoying the beauty of nature.
Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 66600 Cibola Lake Rd, 85328, Cibola, Arizona
Website: Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
Opening hours: 8am - 4:30pm (daily)
Support avian conservation in Arizona through your visits
Arizona is a land rich in natural wonders. Whilst many would flock to the Grand Canyon to catch breathtaking sights, no one should ignore the rich diversity of the avian species in the state. Be it a conservation park or a rehabilitation site, these beautiful flying beasts deserve more attention in the world of wildlife. Pick up a pair of binoculars or an ‘omni-focus’ camera and take flight with them. When within close proximity, you’ll get to learn so much more about their way of life and why it is so important to safeguard their habitat and provide shelter for birds that have been mistreated. One way to support their cause is to visit and share the experience. You get to do this at these different locations in Arizona.
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