Bird-Watching

To check out the more than 200 species of birds living in or migrating through the park, begin by focusing your binoculars on the limbs of the saguaros, where many birds make their home. In general, early morning and early evening are the best times for sightings. In winter and spring, volunteer-led birding hikes begin at the visitor centers.

The finest areas to flock to in Saguaro East (the Rincon Mountain District) are the Desert Ecology Trail, where you may find rufous-winged sparrows, verdins, and Cooper's hawks along the washes, and the Javelina picnic area, where you’ll most likely spot canyon wrens and black-chinned sparrows. At Saguaro West (the Tucson Mountain District), sit down on one of the visitor center benches and look for ash-throated flycatchers, Say's phoebes, curve-billed thrashers, and Gila woodpeckers. During the cooler months, keep a lookout for wintering neotropical migrants such as hummingbirds, swallows, orioles, and warblers.

Tours

Borderland Tours. Bird-watching tours throughout the state and internationally are led by this company, whose owner, Richard Taylor, has written several photo field guides, including Birds of Southeastern Arizona. Seven-day tours of Southeastern Arizona include all meals, accommodations, and transportation from Tucson. 2550 W. Calle Padilla, Northwest, Tucson, Arizona, 85745. 520/882–7650; www.borderland-tours.com. From $2,195 for a 7-day tour of Southeastern Arizona.

Wild Bird Store. This shop is an excellent resource for birding information, feeders, books, and trail guides. Free bird walks are offered most Sundays. 3160 E. Fort Lowell Rd., Central, Tucson, Arizona, 85716. 520/322–9466; www.wildbirdsonline.com.

Wings. This elite Tucson-based company leads ornithological expeditions worldwide and locally. Its Southern Arizona tours—sighting owls, hawks, warblers, hummingbirds, and more—have a maximum group size of seven and range from eight to 10 days. Tucson, Arizona. 520/320–9868; 866/547–9868; www.wingsbirds.com. From $2,400.

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