San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area


San Pedro attracts thousands of birdwatchers from all over the world each year. Over 100 species of breeding birds, and another 250+ species of migrant and wintering birds occur in this area, representing roughly half the number of known breeding species in North America. Notably, 36 species of raptors, including the gray hawk, Mississippi kite, and crested caracara can be found within the NCA. Other enticing species include the green kingfisher, northern beardless tyrannulet, and yellow-billed cuckoo.

The Hereford Bridge Access Point is an excellent, low-crowd area to birdwatch. The habitat here is fairly similar to the San Pedro House access except that the riparian area is much narrower. Nonetheless, the area within 2 miles north of the bridge has recorded such notables as Neotropic Cormorant, Gray Hawk, Common Black Hawk, Crested Caracara, Peregrine Falcon, Wild Turkey, Montezuma, Scaled and Gambel's Quail, Lesser and Common Nighthawk, Black Swift, Plain-capped Starthroat, Elegant Trogon, Green Kingfisher (regular), Thick-billed Kingbird, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Rufous-backed Robin, Tennessee and Palm Warbler, Baird's Sparrow, Rusty Blackbird, and Orchard Oriole.

Incredibly, the southernmost record for the United States of Northern Shrike occurred in the grasslands just southwest of the bridge in 1988.

The grasslands northwest of the bridge hold healthy populations of both Cassin's and Botteri's Sparrow in the summer monsoon season from July through September.

Winter finch and sparrow populations fluctuate widely, but at times the grassy fields on the east of the bridge can produce 20 species.

All of the common resident species can be found here fairly easily if one searches diligently and knows the bird calls and respective songs. Refer to a bird list or the Birder's Guide to the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (available at the San Pedro House or BLM office) for more information.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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