Birding in Yuma, Arizona
With over 400 bird species in the area, birding is a popular year-round activity in the greater Yuma region.
The more popular birding spots include the nearby West Wetlands Park and East Yuma Wetlands that run along the lower Colorado River, and are connected by a multi-use trail that follows an irrigation canal. Irrigation canals are great places to see osprey and kingfishers, burrowing owls, and killdeer.
The East Yuma Wetlands has walking paths along the Colorado River and around the restored wetland areas and cottonwood groves. This area features loons, ibises, egrets, a variety of herons and ducks, least bitterns, yellow-headed blackbirds, and more. The West Wetlands also follows the Colorado River, and has a beautiful hummingbird garden, a butterfly garden, a fishing pond, and a variety of trees including cottonwoods, acacia and mesquite. Look out for vermillion flycatchers, roadrunners, woodpeckers, quail, thrashers, hawks, warblers, and wading birds. It’s a terrific area to enjoy a picnic lunch in the shade.
This region of the lower Colorado River region is home to four Global, one Continental, and two State Important Bird Areas (IBAs). Global includes: Mittry Lake State Wildlife Area, Imperial National Wildlife Refuge, Imperial Reservoir, and Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge. Continental includes Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, and Arizona State includes Quigley State Wildlife Area and Lower Colorado River Gadsen Riparian Area.
Other regional areas to go bird watching include the Kofa National Wildlife Refuges, as well as the Salton Sea and Picacho State Recreation Area in neighboring southern California.
The Yuma Audubon Society hosts field trips throughout the year, and you can keep up with them at www.audubonyuma.org. The City of Yuma Parks and Recreation Department also hosts special guided group kayak and canoe trips throughout the year, but you can also book your own group outing. Call (928) 373-5243 for details. Another useful resource is www.southwestbirders.com, which has a Yuma bird list, and popular birding sites.
You can download a Field Birding Check list for the Yuma area here.