Birding in Yuma

With over 400 bird species in the area, birding is a popular year-round activity in Yuma County.

Here at the hotel, because of the palm tree shade we have provided along with the variety of flowers, cactus and shrubs we have planted such as bougainvillea and lantana, you will see hummingbirds, mocking birds, woodpeckers, mourning doves, starlings and grackles, swallows and swifts flying about.

Many of our guests end their day sitting outside their room or relaxing at one of our outdoor seating areas with their favorite beverage, watching the sunset with egrets and herons flying over from the nearby Colorado River.

Some guests have even seen owls swoop over at night, merlin hawks zoom by at the crack of dawn, and have had a roadrunner hangout at our picnic area under the palms! Sunrise and late afternoons are the best times to go birding, especially during the warm summer months.

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 bicycle and walking path 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, Yuma clapper rails, 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.

Other regional areas to go birding include the Cibola, Kofa and Imperial National Wildlife Refuges, as well as the Salton Sea 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.

To help plan your Yuma birding adventure, stop by the Yuma Information Center at the Quartermaster Depot for maps, books and guides. Another useful resource is www.southwestbirders.com, which has a Yuma bird list, and popular birding sites. Don’t forget to pack your binoculars, we look forward to hearing about your Yuma birding experience!