One of the World’s Best Places for Bird Watching?

Updated January 17, 2020

Where is one of the the best place for birding watching? It just may be one of the last places you might think of – the Arizona desert.

MAn and woman stand with binoculars looking off camera.

Why Southeastern Arizona’s Sky Islands?

Southeastern Arizona’s Sky Islands are environmentally diverse. And so, they are some of the best places in the world for birders to find extremely wide ranges of bird species. Sky islands are isolated mountains that are dramatically and environmentally different from their surrounding lowland deserts. The mountains offer diverse habitats that attract a vast amount of migratory bird species. For birders and nature lovers, southeast Arizona provides rich opportunities to discover many species while enjoying the outdoors. An hour and a half east of Tucson, the Chiricahua Mountains – a significant Sky Island – ascends from the arid Chihuahuan Desert. The Sky Island transitions to grassland, oak-pine woodland, pine forest and finally to spruce-fir-aspen forest at its higher elevations.

Stay at this Birders’ Paradise

For birding and lodging in the Chiricahua Mountains, Sunglow Ranch, a boutique guest ranch resort, is a birder’s paradise. It is located in the foothills of the Chiricahua Mountains at 5,340 feet in elevation in one of the best places for bird watching. Sunglow offers guests inspired lodging and dining in its hideaway setting. Birders can also relax with a variety of other activities including astronomy, hiking, biking, horse riding, fishing, swimming and a spa. Running water, a pond, bird feeders, onsite trails and birding stations makes Sunglow Ranch a frequent venue for visitors and birds alike.

Turkey Creek which flows through the ranchlands offers phenomenal birding. Over 500 bird species have been reported at and around Sunglow Ranch. Because mountain streams attract large bird populations all year.

Best places for bird watching in SE Arizona

Nearby, the Wings Over WILLCOX Birding and Nature festival happens the third week in January, Wednesday through Sunday at one of the best places for bird watching in southeast Arizona, Willcox, AZ. Birders and nature enthusiast of all backgrounds enjoy seminars, photo contests, birding workshops and tours.

The WILLCOX Playa is arguably the best shorebird and waterfowl watching area in Southern Arizona. The Playa is a shallow, dry lakebed located seven miles south of Willcox in Cochise County, Arizona. The Apache Station Wildlife Area, located 8.5 miles south of I-10 on US 191, is probably one the best spots on the WILLCOX Playa, and the easiest to access.

For an outstanding experience in birding and lodging in the Chiricahua Mountains Sky Island, choose Sunglow Ranch. The ranch provides  breathtaking views, inclusive meals and an experience to be remembered.

Sunglow Ranch EARNED BOTH the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence and the Travelers’ Choice Award for 2012.   For more information on Sunglow Ranch, chosen as one of the “Top 25 Relaxation/Spa Hotels in the United States,” call: 520-824-3334


Birding Bash: Yuma Bird, Nature & History Festival



As is common in the travel industry, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was provided with accommodations, meals, and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

In addition, this blog, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, she will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping this travel blog active. Thanks for reading.

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