Arizona Nightbirds

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Flammulated Owl by Rick Bowers ©

1-6 May 2018

Arizona Nightbirds is designed to show you more owls and nightjars in five nights than you will see anywhere else in the US!  Come join half of the team (with Kenn Kaufman) that holds the Big Owl Day record – eleven species seen in 24 hours (Big Owl Day article).  Ten species of owls and five nightjars are found in this land of deserts, woodlands, and mountains.

The owls include Western and Whiskered Screech-Owls, Barn, Flammulated, Great Horned, Elf, Burrowing, Spotted, and Northern Saw-whet owls plus Northern Pygmy-Owl.  Whiskered Screech-Owl and Elf Owl reach their northernmost range limits in this small area of Arizona.  Frequently one of the easiest areas in the United States to find the Flammulated Owl is in the mountains of Southeastern Arizona.  Barn Owls are declining but we will probably see them in one of the many dry wells, abandoned buildings, and barns that abound in this area.  With luck Scheelite or Miller canyons in the Huachuca Mountains will yield a Spotted Owls.  Burrowing Owls, once an abundant feature of this land, are now scarce but we should find some residing anywhere from city centers to deserts.  Whiskered Screech-Owl is the owl with the most restricted range in North America but it is numerous in most mountain canyons here.

Nightjars are also common in Southeastern Arizona.  Common Poorwill, Mexican Whip-poor-will, Common and Lesser Nighthawk, and Buff-collared Nightjar are all to be found in the deserts and mountains of Southeastern Arizona.  Common Poorwill, Lesser and Common Nighthawks can all frequently be seen within a few minutes in several areas.  Mexican Whip-poor-will is common in the pine-oak woodlands of larger mountain ranges.  Most interesting and restricted in range, the Buff-collared Nightjar, will be the target of an intensive search on this trip.

Our Arizona Nightbirds tour is designed for you to see and become familiar with as many of these species as possible in five nights and days of study of these fascinating bird groups.  We will concentrate on evening and night birding, with daytime searches for diurnal owl species and some nocturnal species that can be found roosting.  During the day we will look for diurnal owls as well as other species at a relaxed pace.  As darkness draws near, the really exciting portion of the “day” will begin.  We will owl from dusk to around midnight to give us the best chance of seeing and hearing as many species as possible.

Although the primary emphasis of this tour will be owls & nightjars, we will probably also see many of Arizona’s specialty birds such as Elegant Trogon, Broad-billed and Rivoli’s Hummingbirds, Buff-breasted Flycatchers, Red-faced, Grace’s, and Lucy’s Warblers, and Botteri’s and Rufous-winged Sparrow.

Leader: Rick Bowers

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