Welcome to Audubon’s Arizona Important Bird Areas (IBA) Program!

Arizona IBA Program 2014 Spring and Summer Volunteer Survey Schedule

Hello IBA Friends and Volunteers,

Sign up for surveys here online!

The 2014 Spring and Summer survey schedule has been finalized and it is going to be a fun season. This season seems especially great as it will be very diverse with many different opportunities to visit different areas with diverse types of birds. This season we also have several species-specific surveys for birds such as Elegant Trogons, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Elf Owls and Gilded Flickers. These types of surveys are especially great for less-confident birders and lots of fun for all birders.

The complete and finalized schedule from now through July is below. I really looked at schedules for other groups and tried to prevent date conflicts where ever possible. To sign up for any of these surveys go to this link and fill out the online survey

Thanks so much!

Breeding Bird Surveys on the Tohono O’odham Nation – April 17-18 (Thur-Friday), May 15-16 (Thur-Friday) and July 17-18 (Thur-Friday)– This is the second year of these surveys where Tucson Audubon is teaming up with the Tohono O’odham tribe to monitor and Tucson Audubon volunteers have been especially invited to help by the tribe. These are Coordinated Bird Monitoring (CBM) surveys and they are serious science and the results from these surveys will impact management decisions for the whole state in the coming years. The protocol is quite specific, but not too complicated. Those who are unfamiliar with this protocol don’t worry! We will have a training orientation before the first survey. For all three survey sessions we will drive out together to Sells, AZ (about an hour west of Tucson) and have been invited to stay in the local Recreation Center in Hickiwan. We will need to bring our own food and sleeping bags/air mattresses to use in the Rec Center but will have access to bathrooms, showers and A/C. We will leave Tucson on Thursday (likely early afternoon) and sleep in the Hickiwan rec center.. Then we will conduct the Area Search surveys on pre-determined plots Friday morning and will return to Tucson by Friday evening. If you are interested in helping please let me know as soon as you can, this survey may fill up and there is a cap on how many people we can bring.

Lower San Pedro Surveys April-July – We are surveying this beautifully lush portion of the Lower San Pedro River near San Manuel (between Oracle and Mammoth) as part of a long-term avian monitoring project in this Global Important Bird Area. We will be conducting three types of surveys with three surveys each for a total of 9 volunteer opportunities. This is private land with very restricted access that is full of birds – these surveys are one of few chances for birders to get onto this property.

-          Migration Point Count Surveys – April 15-16 (Tuesday afternoon-Wed afternoon), April 24-25 (Thur – Friday) and May 1-2 (Thur – Friday) – These are great surveys that really get you into the riparian corridor habitat. These surveys do require some long walking distances over uneven surfaces and ducking under trees and over fallen trees. Each team will have a route along the river and will stop at point counts and record all birds they see and hear for 5 minutes. For these surveys all volunteers will meet in San Manuel the evening before the survey, have dinner (on the IBA program) and stay in the San Manuel Lodge (also on the IBA program) so we can make an early start on the survey to beat the heat. Some volunteers prefer to drive up early the morning of the survey and that is totally fine.

-          Nocturnal Surveys with a Nightjar Focus – May 14 (Wednesday), June 11 (Wednesday) and July 9 (Wednesday) – These are really fun surveys that we do from the car along the internal private roads. Each team has a portion of road and stops every .4 of a mile, gets out and listens for owls and nightjars. We do use call-back (speakers provided) and these surveys are timed to coincide with the full moon to optimize nightjar detectability. Just a half day, we meet at San Manuel in the evening, have dinner (on the IBA program as a thank you!) do the survey and return to Tucson around 10 pm.

-          Yellow-billed Cuckoo Call-back Surveys – June 26-27 (Thur-Friday), July 10-11 (Thur-Friday), July 24-25 (Thur-Friday)– These elusive birds can be difficult to detect on surveys so we use the standardized call-back protocol developed by NAU that is being used by all agencies conducting these surveys all over the state. When you help with these surveys you are contributing to a larger effort to discover where in Arizona this imperiled subspecies is nesting. We have had great success finding these birds in this excellent habitat which makes these surveys lots of fun! For these surveys all volunteers will meet in San Manuel the evening before the survey, have dinner (on the IBA program) and stay in the San Manuel Lodge (also on the IBA program) so we can make an early start on the survey to beat the heat. Some volunteers prefer to drive up early the morning of the survey and that is totally fine.

***We will also be helping with a Desert Purple Martin study on this property in conjunction with York University and there will be chances to help with capturing and attaching transmitters to track their migration route which is largely unknown. Since we are coordinating with a visiting researcher for this project the dates are not determined yet, but it will likely be towards the end of May***

Phew, that is a lot of different surveys going on! Here is a summary calendar to help us all keep it straight:


June 11: Nocturnal Survey #2 on the Lower San Pedro – San Manuel

June 26-27: Yellow-billed Cuckoo survey #1 on the Lower San Pedro – San Manuel

July 9: Nocturnal Survey #3 on the Lower San Pedro – San Manuel

July 10-11: Yellow-billed Cuckoo survey #2 on the Lower San Pedro – San Manuel

July 17-18: Tohono O’odham Breeding Bird Survey #3

July 24-25: Yellow-billed Cuckoo survey #3 on the Lower San Pedro – San Manuel


If you would like any more information on any of these surveys or are interested in signing up for any of these, please email Jennie at jmacfarland@tucsonaudubon.org or call Jennie at 520-209-1804


Audubon Launches Multistate Grassroots Network to Protect Rivers

Join the Effort to Save Critical Habitat for Birds and Other Wildlife

Audubon is taking a major step to address threats to rivers in the arid west, launching the Western Rivers Action Network, a multistate grassroots coalition to advocate for rivers and the birds and other wildlife that depend on them.


To find out how you can help restore and protect our rivers and to be invited to our upcoming advocacy workshops in Tucson and Phoenix, sign on at http://az.audubon.org/rivers-and-water-0

The Colorado River and its tributaries provide water for tens of millions of people, including twenty-two Native American tribes and the populations of Denver, Phoenix, Albuquerque and Tucson. In Arizona, millions of migrating birds representing over 250 species depend on these waterways for their survival. Over 100 species, including the Southwest Willow Flycatcher, Bell’s Vireo and Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo, breed in Arizona’s riparian forests. Some 80% of Arizona’s vertebrates spend some portion of their life cycle in riparian areas. Many of these species are now threatened or endangered.

Years of drought, invasive species, over-allocation and unsustainable management have resulted in loss of riparian habitat and significantly reduced flows. Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network will work across the intermountain west to raise awareness of threats to rivers, promote conservation actions to increase flows and improve habitat, and advocate for sensible water management policies that benefit communities and wildlife.


Check out the online interactive National IBA map here

Take the IBA volunteer/participant survey here and let us know what you think!

Upcoming IBA Events for the New Year 2013!

Checkout our new booklet on Arizona’s Important Bird Areas. This booklet features each of Arizona’s 42 IBAs with information on how to best visit each IBA, site information, the birds that make each area special and conservation issues that each IBA is facing.

A PDF of the booklet suitable for online viewing here

If you have comments and edits for this second draft booklet, you can download this PDF file and make corrections/suggestions right in the PDF. If you could then add your name to the end of the file name and send it to jmacfarland@tucsonaudubon.org and we will make those changes. Thank you so much for helping us to make this booklet the best it can be!

The Arizona Important Bird Areas Program is co-administered by:
Audubon Arizona (Tice Supplee, Director of Bird Conservation) and Tucson Audubon Society (Jennie MacFarland, AZ IBA Program Conservation Biologist).

The Arizona IBA Program, Avian Science Initiative is led by the Arizona IBA Program at Tucson Audubon Society. This website and the AZ IBA Bird Survey Database linked within it are administered by Tucson Audubon Society.

To participate in science-based IBA bird surveys managed by Audubon’s IBA Program in Arizona, including surveys at potential IBAs, existing IBAs, or at sites of interest to Audubon chapters in AZ, please contact Jennie MacFarland, AZ IBA Program Conservation Biologist at Tucson Audubon Society (520) 209-1804.

To inquire about the AZ IBA Program in general, including the IBA nomination and review process, the AZ IBA Science Committee, IBAs identified to date, and IBA recognition & publicity, as well as Audubon state policy issues, please contact Tice Supplee, Director of Bird Conservation at Audubon Arizona (620) 468-6470 x106.

Additionally, both IBA Program offices in Arizona work on issues and specific projects for the conservation of Important Bird Areas in Arizona . The IBA Program works with people to promote win-win-win objectives for people, wildlife, communities, and sustainable economies.

The AZ IBA Program also works in partnership with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (through the Arizona Bird Conservation Initiative), the Sonoran Joint Venture, the Intermountain West Joint Venture, Arizona State Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, BLM, land trusts, and various non-governmental organizations, colleges, and universities.

Other Citizen Science and Birding Opportunities:

  • Hummingbird Monitoring Network – This organization primarily uses volunteer hummingbird banders, data recorders and trappers to track movements and abundance of hummingbirds. There are several trapping sites within or very near Important Bird Areas. The sites in southern Arizona are: Sabino Canyon, Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, Florida Canyon (Santa Ritas), Harshaw Creek (Patagonia), Garden Canyon (Huachuca Mountains), Ft Huachuca Public Affairs Office, Mt Lemmon, El Coronado Ranch (Turkey Canyon, Chiricahua Mtns), George Walker House (Paradise, Chiricahua Mtns), South Western Research Station (Chiricahua Mtns). Information about how you can volunteer with the HMN can be found at www.hummonnet.org and information about the Sabino Canyon site specifically can be found at www.humbander.net

Tucson Bird Count 2012

The spring count of the Tucson Bird Count is coming up! Any birder that can readily identify the birds of Tucson is invited to adopt a route to survey. It only takes one morning of your choice between April 15 …

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View from the Jesus Goudy Trail in the Piñaleno Mountains

IBA of the Month

Pinlaeño Mountains IBA The Pinaleño Mountains are one of the most northern of the Coronado Forest “Sky Islands”. Located in Graham County and south of the agricultural community of Safford, this mountain has provided resources for settlers in the region. …

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Upcoming Events


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