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

Bringing Birds Home – Landowner Habitat Improvement Guides

Both Grasslands and Riparian Habitat Guides now available for download

The Arizona Important Bird Areas Program along with its partners, Arizona Game and Fish, Tucson Audubon, Audubon Arizona present two Habitat Management Guides. Below are links to PDFs for both the Grasslands guide and the Riparian Guide. There is a third and final guide coming in the near future focusing on Desert habitat. These guides would not have been possible without the support of the following partners: Sonoran Joint Venture, Arizona Antelope Foundation, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, SRP, and National Audubon Society’s Western Water Initiative. Visit this page for more information and to download the guides.

Grassland and Riparian Habitat Improvement Guides Download

Grassland and Riparian Habitat Improvement Guides Download

2018 Spring IBA Survey Season

Join us for this year’s exciting Spring Surveys

We have quite the spring survey season forming for this year! We will be investigating Bendire’s Thrashers in Avra Valley Northwest of Tucson. We are also planning some Gilded Flicker surveys and some general IBA route surveys as well. Looking a bit ahead we also have the Elegant Trogon Sky Island survey dates sorted out and a special training session this summer for volunteer to help with Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys. There’s a lot going on and I hope you can join us!

Bendire’s Thrasher Surveys in Avra ValleyBendire's Thrasher_Dominic Sherony_cropped

Bendire’s Thrashers are a species of high conservation interest and data shows they are in steep decline. This is a high priority bird species for the Arizona Important Bird Areas program and there is strong conservation goals associated with these surveys.

Tucson Audubon will be surveying an area in Avra Valley managed by Tucson Water. With their permission we are going into this area where Bendire’s Thrashers have been documented nesting so we can quantify how many nesting territories this area sustains.

Bendire’s Thrasher Survey in Avra Valley #1March 15    Sign up Here

Bendire’s Thrasher Survey in Avra Valley #2April 10 (NEW DATE)   Sign up Here

There may also be opportunities to join in with ongoing work with these Bendire’s Thrashers. Some of our partners may be doing a color banding study of these birds later this spring and will need volunteers to help monitor the behavior and habits of these birds. If you are interested in helping with this please email the project leader Chrissy at CKondrat-Smith@azgfd.gov

Gilded Flicker by Alan Schmierer

Gilded Flicker by Alan Schmierer

Gilded Flicker Transect Surveys

Tucson Audubon has partnered with Saguaro National Park and volunteers can sign up for a hiking transect in either the Rincon Mountain District or Tucson Mountain District to survey for Gilded Flickers. You will be assigned a route and can survey it alone or with a partner on the morning of your choice before the end of April.

Protocol, datasheets and a permit will be provided. The permit also waives the park entrance fee.

Gilded Flickers are a Important Bird Area Continental Qualifying bird and a species of interest for the program. Your data will help us to determine if the two new Tucson area IBAs, the Tucson Mountains IBA and the Tucson Sky Islands IBA could qualify for Continental IBA status. To sign up for one or more transect areas please click the link below, Jennie will be in contact with you shortly with more information.

Join the Gilded Flicker Survey Team Here

Tucson Mountains by Derek DeVries

Tucson Mountains by Derek DeVries

Adopt a NEW IBA Survey Route!

There are two new Important Bird Areas near Tucson and we need help monitoring some newly established survey routes. You can choose one or more routes in either the Tucson Mountains IBA or the Tucson Sky Islands IBA and survey it on the morning of your choice five times a year. Even if you are not available the entire year you can still adopt a route and survey it when you are available. These will be surveyed using standard IBA transect protocol.

Join the Tucson area IBA survey team here to find out more about the available routes and get more info

Elf Owl Surveys – Hiking in the Moonlight

Elf Owl by Bryant Olsen

Elf Owl by Bryant Olsen

Tucson Audubon is doing night time hiking surveys for the first time ever. Saguaro National Park is coordinating with us for these surveys and a ranger or two may even be joining us. We will be hiking along moonlit trails in teams of two or three and listening for Elf Owls and periodically playing their calls to try and goad them into calling back to us. You must have reasonably good hearing and be comfortable walking a trail at night while using a headlamp or flashlight. These two surveys are scheduled during the full moon to try and have as much light as possible but it will still be quite dark out there! This is something new for Tucson Audubon and we may encounter other owl species, cool reptiles and who knows what else!

Saguaro Nat Park – Rincon Mountain District – Saturday March 31   Sign up

Saguaro National Park – Tucson Mountain District – Monday April 2  Sign up

Elegant Trogon Surveys in Sky Islands

Elegant Trogon male by Julio Mulero

Elegant Trogon male by Julio Mulero

There is an abundance of evidence, both anecdotal and scientific, that the ecological influence of tropical Mexico has grown over the last century in Southeastern Arizona. Mammals such as Javalina and White-nosed Coati have both extended their range out the tropics into southern Arizona as part of this larger ecological system expansion. The expansion continues even today with the birding community noting the recent increase in prevalence of Gray Hawks and rarities in general including the recent first ever US nesting record of Tufted Flycatcher this past spring. Elegant Trogons are also part of this story with their United States range expanding over the last century which can be tracked with mainly anecdotal evidence and isolated incidents of collecting.

To further our understanding of how many Elegant Trogons there are in the US organized surveys have been ongoing in the Chiricahuas and Huachucas led by Rick Taylor for many years and beginning in 2013 Jennie MacFarland and Tucson Audubon assisted Rick and helped expand the surveys to three more ranges. The new areas we surveyed the last four years are the Atascosa Highlands, Santa Rita Mountains and Patagonia Mountains.

  • Sunday May 6 – Atascosas (near Nogales)
  • Saturday May 26 – Patagonias (near Patagonia)
  • Sunday May 27 – Santa Ritas (near Green Valley)
  • Saturday June 2 – Huachucas (near Sierra Vista)
  • Sunday June 3 – Chiricahuas (near Portal)

To sign up for any or all of these survey dates please visit www.tinyurl.com/trogon2018

We always need more people for these surveys! The more the better so please tell your friends. These surveys are suitable for beginning birders.

More information and resources for the survey here on our Trogon Survey Page

Train to be a Yellow-billed Cuckoo Survey Leader

western Yellow-billed Cuckoo by HarmonyPlanetEarth

western Yellow-billed Cuckoo by HarmonyPlanetEarth

Tucson Audubon is partnering with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Audubon Arizona to offer a special training session this upcoming July. This is an official training and could qualify you to be added officially to the Tucson Audubon Society survey permit. This training will be no cost to volunteers and once completed you could possibly be qualified to lead a survey team into areas of interest coordinated by Tucson Audubon’s Conservation Department.

The training is July 10-11, 2018. The first day, July 10 is a classroom day in Tucson at Pima Community College Downtown campus in the Amethyst Room. The second day, July 11 is a morning field practice day and will be held at Tucson Audubon’s Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia.

Anyone that has helped with the last three years of Tucson Audubon’s Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys is encouraged to do this free workshop and be added to the permit. If you are interested in participating in the July 10-11 workshop fill out our easy and short survey here. If you are interested please do this soon as we need to get some info to USFWS before hand.

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Wintering Elegant Trogon Survey

For the first time Tucson Audubon and the Arizona IBA program are organizing a winter survey for Elegant Trogons in SE Arizona. These charismatic birds are famously present in lush canyons of this region’s Sky Island mountain ranges during the spring and summer. They are also present in the winter but in smaller numbers and often in different canyons and riparian areas then where they nest in the spring. Most of these breeding and wintering areas are within Important Bird Areas and we already survey for them in the spring but are also attempting to determine which areas are important for them when they are wintering as well.

For more information on how you can help please visit our Elegant Trogon Winter Survey page here.

Arizona IBA StoryMap

Take a virtual tour of Arizona’s 48 Important Bird Areas here

Stroy Map Screen Shot

s Warbler_Scott Olmstead_ok to use_facing left

Lucy’s Warbler Study – You can help us study these amazing birds.

Tucson Audubon is launching an initiative to learn more about Lucy’s Warbler nesting needs as well as study how effective different nestbox designs can be for these charismatic warblers. We need help with three aspects of this study: nestboxes (both building and monitoring), foraging investigation, and searching for natural nests. Find out more about this engaging and fun project at our Lucy’s Warbler Page Here.

 

Eastern “Azure” Bluebirds Nest Box Program

Azure Bluebird in nest hole by Richard Thompson
Azure Bluebird in nest hole by Richard Thompson

Tucson Audubon needs you help to monitor and maintain nest boxes in SE Arizona for the Azure sub-species of Eastern Bluebirds that nest in the grasslands and oak foothills of our Sky Islands.

These birds are special as they are a distinct sub-species of Eastern Bluebird that occurs in southeast Arizona known as Azure Bluebird or Mexican Bluebird and they are quite different from the “regular” Eastern Bluebirds. The Azure Bluebirds that love the meadows and grasslands of southeast Arizona are smaller and paler than their eastern cousins and stay in this habitat year-round instead of migrating. It is tempting to think of these birds as pioneers from the eastern population that have made it out west, but in reality the situation is more complex and international. The range of Eastern Bluebirds extends significantly into Mexico and our Azure Bluebirds are a northern extension of the birds that inhabit the Sierra Madre mountain chain. This means that the Azure Bluebird that helped to make the Patagonia Mountains an Important Bird Area are one more “Mexican specialty” bird that makes Southeast Arizona such a great place for birders.

For information on the Azure Bluebird Nest Box program and for information on joining the monitoring team please visit this link.

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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.

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Check out the online interactive National IBA map here

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

 

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

2016 Tucson Bird Count

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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