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If you love the outdoors as much as we do, there is no such thing as time wasted in the Pinals. However, spring IS an opportune time to see all kinds of birds, from black-chinned sparrows to Lucy's warblers.

Birding in the Pinals

No better time than spring

Tice Supplee

Audubon Arizona Bird Conservation Director


Spring time in Pinal County is a wonderful season for birding. April and May are the best when migration is in full swing. May is also when our own birds that are native to the chaparral and oak woodland habitats are singing and very visible.

My favorite is the black-chinned sparrow. A handsome bird with a wonderful song that sounds like a bouncing ping pong ball, the black-chinned sparrow lives in the shrub oak and Manzanita vegetation community that is called chaparral. A short drive from Superior or Globe will place you in the habitat very quickly. A favorite spot is Oak Flat Campground on the Tonto National Forest. Black headed grosbeak will also be there and often migrating orioles will stop in. The river corridors are really hopping, with Lucy’s warblers and Bell’s vireos in the mesquite bosques along the San Pedro River near Winkleman and along Aravaipa Creek. Look for yellow warblers in almost every cottonwood tree along the river channel. The “chuck” of summer tanagers alerts a sharp-eyed birder to look for this beautiful scarlet red bird high in the canopy overhead. A day trip up to Pinal Peak is a perfect multi-elevation birding trip. Once in the ponderosa pines painted redstarts and red-faced warblers will delight the patient birder.

Take a break at a restaurant or café that has an outdoor patio and enjoy the local birds and keep a sharp eye out for pyrrhuloxia, a relative of the northern cardinal and enjoy the loud voice of the diminutive verdin.

Additional information about birding Pinal County is available from the Boyce Thompson Arboretum – also a wonderful place to bird in the spring. The arboretum is a renowned Arizona migration stop for birds and is recognized as an Audubon Important Bird Area.

So take some time and listen to the “music” of Pinal county birds this spring!




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