Birding the Yuma Area

This map of southwest Arizona displays seventeen areas which are good for birding.  Click on the site numbers (or the brief descriptions below) to access web pages that provide detailed maps and information about each location.

To preview and/or order Finding Birds in Yuma County, Arizona, a birding guide with detailed accounts of the fifteen best sites in Yuma County, click here!

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White-tailed Kite
White-tailed Kite

Southwest Arizona


Birding Locations


Yuma Main Drain
Winter home to a Thick-billed Kingbird from 2002-2009, this area also attracts waders, shorebirds, and raptors.  Recent sightings have included Tricolored Heron and White-tailed Kite. In August 2007 I found an immature Roseate Spoonbill feeding there with Great Egrets.


South of Yuma
Cultivated areas with citrus groves and farm fields.  Winter targets include Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Golden Eagle, Mountain Plover, and the irruptive Mountain Bluebird. 


Wetlands along the Colorado River and city parks create wonderful diversity.  Look for Clapper Rai, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and Crissal Thrasher. Clicking on this link takes you to another map with more detailed site information.


Gila River & Fortuna Pond
Riparian areas, fields, and open water provide a multitude of habitats.  Targets here include Willow Flycatchers and all the western warblers.


Betty's Kitchen and Mittry Lake
Desert scrub, riparian areas plus a large lake with marshes.  Listen and watch for Black, Virginia and Clapper Rails, Crissal Thrasher, raptors, and numerous passerines.


Imperial Dam Area
Riparian areas, marshes, and a golf course.  Look for migrants, rails, and water birds.


Martinez Lake and Imperial NWR
Riparian areas, shallow lakes, open water, and marshes.  Targets include Clark's Grebe, Osprey, Bald Eagle, shorebirds & waterfowl.


Cibola NWR
Spectacular area of riparian areas, lakes, fields, marshes, and nearby desert mountains.  Targets include Clapper Rail, White-fronted Goose, Sandhill Crane, and Bald & Golden Eagles.  Bird List here!


Kofa NWR
Awesome desert mountains and washes.  Targets are Golden Eagle, thrashers, Canyon Towhee, Rufous-crowned and Black-chinned Sparrows, and Scott's Oriole. And after a rainy winter, awesome spring wildflower displays.


Tacna Area
Desert saltbrush flats, riparian corridor, and agricultural fields.  Quigley Wildlife Management area can have Tundra Swan, Sandhill Cranes, assorted ducks, and Zone-tailed Hawk. Paul Lehman found Arizona's first Couch's Kingbird close by in 2007. Just east of here are reliable spots to find Le Conte's Thrasher!


West Pond & Desilting Ponds
Some of the best waterfowl habitat around, the desilting ponds provide a safe haven for wintering ducks.  West Pond is one of the best places to hear and occasionally see Black, Clapper, and Virginia Rails.


Laguna Dam Area
With California Fan Palms and lots of riparian habitat, this area is good for Crissal Thrasher, Cactus Wren, sparrows, and rare wintering birds.  In December 2002 we found Rufous-backed Robin, Ruddy Ground Dove, Golden-crowned Sparrow, and Summer Tanager.


Spook Canyon
Lush desert wash and high-walled canyon.  Breeding birds include Prairie Falcon and Canyon Wren.


Tinajas Altas
Desert watering hole on the Camino del Diablo, just north of the Mexican border.  Anything can show up, including breeding LeConte's Thrashers, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and migrants.


Hunter's Hole & Lower Colorado River
An oxbow of the Colorado River provides fine riparian area.  Target birds include Willow Flycatcher and Blue Grosbeak. Access is now restricted to foot traffic due to heightened border security.


Dateland Shrimp Ponds
These 10 multi-acre ponds north of Dateland are an excellent spot to see waterfowl, waders, and shorebirds during the late spring and summer month.  A great place to find rarities, too! Unfortunately, as of 2007, they have been dry. If they start up again, I'll post the info here.


Kofa Queen Canyon & Signal Peak
This lush desert canyon is one of the few reliable spots in Yuma County to find Elf Owl, Canyon Towhee, Canyon Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher, Scott's Oriole, & Gilded Flicker.  On the path to Signal Peak (4780') you can find Black-chinned & Rufous-crowned Sparrows. My favorite spot in Yuma County to bird in the spring!

 Last update: Nov 4, 2012


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