Feathered friends flock to Cochise County!

Our high mountains, grasslands, waterways, and cooler temperatures – an unexpected southern delight – attract a wide variety of birds throughout the year. From thousands of wintering Sandhill Cranes, to Elegant Trogons, to hummingbirds and secretive owls, Cochise County offers world-class birding year-round. Bring your binoculars and boots, and find out why birds (and birders) flock to this famous southeastern Arizona destination!

Riparian corridors (rivers and streams), towering mountains, Chihuahuan desert, and grasslands create one of the most diverse ecosystems in the U.S., attracting a staggering range of avian residents and migrants across the calendar. Among many highlights are Varied Bunting, Summer Tanager, Vermilion Flycatcher, Painted Redstart, Lucifer Hummingbird, Scott’s Oriole, Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher, and much more. With abounding adventure and feathered friends, Cochise County is an experience you won’t want to miss!

Photo Credit: (top) Mike Foster, (bottom) @bcbirdergirl

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned birder, Cochise County offers a wide array of birding hotspots, birding festivals, and guided tours. You’ll find sample birding itineraries and helpful birding resources below. Over 450 different species of birds have been recorded in Cochise County!


Ash Canyon offers three separate habitats: Chihuahuan Desert grassland, riparian woodland, and oak forest.

It is also home to one of the most rarely seen hummingbirds, the Plain-capped Starthroat. Ash Canyon is a great place to spot the Scott’s Oriole and the Lucifer Hummingbird.


At 7,200 feet, the cooler temperatures in Carr Canyon make it a terrific place to spot birds, butterflies, and other wildlife.


A popular public bird feeding station is at Beatty’s Guest Ranch in Miller Canyon, where a U.S. record for hummingbird species sited in one day was set (14 species).

Looking for night-hunters? Hit the trails or wait patiently by the water pool.


The Nature Conservancy manages a 280-acre National Natural Landmark inside Ramsey Canyon that provides a haven for over 170 varieties of birds, including 14 species of hummingbirds.

Explore on your own or take a tour with Nature Conservancy guides.


Located just 8 miles east of Sierra Vista, the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is one of only two national riparian conservation areas in the entire United States.

This 58,000-acre area teems with wildlife – over half of the known breeding bird species in the U.S. have been spotted here. Start at the San Pedro House with docents or explore on your own.


Four canyons slice into the Huachuca Mountains just off Hwy 92. The canyons offer superior birding with hundreds of species.

Sightings of the Plain-capped Star Throat, the Flame-colored Tanager, and the Slate-throated Redstart have gained national attention and these canyons are world famous for hummingbirds.


The Sierra Vista Wastewater Wetlands has over 200 acres of land planted in native grasses, creating a habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Check it out from the 1,800 square-foot wildlife viewing platform, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Guided bird walks are conducted on Sundays, courtesy of Friends of the San Pedro.


The Sky Islands of Cochise County create five distinct life zones that are magnets for birds from Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains, the Sonoran and Chihuahua deserts, and beyond.

Sky Islands are where desert and forest meet and are among the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The Cochise County sky islands have a diversity exceeding anywhere else in the U.S., supporting well over half the bird species of North America, 29 bat species, over 3,000 species of plants, and 104 species of mammals.


This 1,500-acre wildlife habitat is famous for the large population of Sandhill Cranes during the winter season of October through February, plus many waterfowl, shorebirds, and passing flocks.

Whitewater Draw Wildlife Area lies in the Chiricahua desert grassland habitat of the Sulphur Springs Valley, south of Willcox. Spotting scopes are located on the viewing platforms for use by visitors.


The annual Wings Over Willcox Birding and Nature Festival in Willcox takes place each January on the third full weekend (coinciding with the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday).

The Southwest Wings Spring Fling Festival is held in Sierra Vista the first week/weekend of May. In addition, the organization’s official Southwest Wings Birding and Nature Festival – also held in Sierra Vista – is the first weekend in August each year.


Need a guide? Contact these local resources for expert birding guides in Cochise County.


1 Friends of the San Pedro River is a mostly volunteer organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the San Pedro River. The organization operates a gift and bookstore, leads guided interpretive walks/hikes along the river and throughout the adjacent area, presents educational programs to schools and community groups, and assists the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in a variety of other programs. You can also visit the gift shop and information center at the San Pedro House. Volunteers from the Friends of the San Pedro River staff the center. It is an excellent resource for visitors who want information on the area’s hiking and birding opportunities. Visit
2 Some rare birds make Southeastern Arizona their temporary home in winter and summer. Sandhill cranes and hummingbirds are some of the most notable migratory species. Birding and nature festivals are the perfect opportunity to enjoy birding at its finest, or to learn from experienced birding tour guides. Visit
3 A collaboration between the Tucson Audubon Society and the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, with funding from the Southeastern Arizona Birding Trail committee, the Birding Southeast Arizona App covers over 130 birding sites in six subregions in and around Tucson, all vetted by local experts. Visit
4 The Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the birds of southeastern Arizona, their habitats and the diversity of species that share those habitats through research, monitoring and public education. Visit
5 The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Visit
6 For those interested in Southeast Arizona birding, Casa de San Pedro Bed and Breakfast is centrally located, permitting easy day trips to other birding hotspots such as Madera Canyon, Patagonia, Empire-Cienega, Garden Canyon, Miller Canyon and Ramsey Canyon. The inn is adjacent to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area and is situated on 10 acres bordering the San Pedro River. 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. Visit
East West Birding Tours, conveniently located on the property of Casa de San Pedro B&B, provides daily guided birding services in Southeast Arizona, as well as several options throughout the calendar year with made-to-order group tour packages during prime birding windows in several destinations. Let East West Birding Tours help you search for specific target species, maximize life birds, or simply explore some excellent under-birded “off the beaten path” locations.


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