Arizona’s Sky Islands are known about the world as a birding mecca. Birders who check out the southeastern section of the state can come across species these kinds of as the violet-topped hummingbird, Montezuma quail and elegant trogon.
But this just isn’t the only place in Arizona to see a fantastic variety of resident and migratory birds.
The less-visited Invoice Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, alongside the Colorado River in western Arizona, is a 6,105-acre wildlife haven that sees more than 340 species of birds yearly.
Why does this off-the-beaten-path setting teem with so many species? The Arizona Republic talked to Steven Prager, instruction biologist for Audubon Southwest, to master what makes the spot an suitable habitat for so lots of sorts of birds.
In this article is anything you need to know about Invoice Williams River Countrywide Wildlife Refuge around Parker, Arizona.
Extra:Enjoyable matters to do on your vacation to Parker and western Arizona
What types of birds can you see in western Arizona?
The Invoice Williams River marks the transition zone amongst the Mojave and Sonoran deserts and is a melting pot of wildlife from each. More than 340 species of birds have been recorded there, for every the U.S Fish and Wildlife Provider.
Prager stated there are three approaches to categorize the birds there.
- Resident birds: Birds that live, breed and wintertime at the refuge are vintage desert birds you can place any time of the calendar year, including verdin, Abert‘s towhee, cactus wren, Gila woodpecker and yellow-rumped warbler.
- Wintering migrants: In wintertime the refuge sees a major populace of shore birds from the north, together with Western sandpiper and spotted sandpiper as effectively as waterfowl these kinds of as ducks.
- Summer months breeders: These birds invest the summer months at Bill Williams and wintertime in the south. They include the summertime tanager, yellow-billed cuckoo, Southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-breasted chat.
Additional:Very best fowl watching in Arizona: Sizzling spots and species to look for
Why does the Monthly bill Williams River bring in so numerous birds?
The Invoice Williams River Nationwide Wildlife Refuge, a 9-mile corridor and delta, is the previous in depth naturally flood-regenerated riparian and wetlands habitat on the reduce Colorado River, in accordance to Audubon’s Arizona Essential Chook Places System. A riparian forest is a forested region subsequent to a human body of water.
The refuge’s year-round water and riparian vegetation create a hospitable microclimate in an area that commonly has very low rainfall and temperatures exceeding 100 levels, for each the IBA.
“We’ve dropped over 90 % of that habitat sort in the point out considering the fact that before settling or colonization in this article, Prager mentioned.
“So owning that forest intact is a huge factor for birds and which is especially healthful due to the fact Alamo Dam, upstream from the refuge, releases water from that reservoir in a way that mimics purely natural seasonal flooding and creates a definitely healthier mesquite forest along the edges of the river and definitely useful wetland marsh habitat.
“To see that type of seasonal flooding, as we have dammed, diverted and usually screwed up our rivers all-around the state, is a seriously exclusive matter to see.
“It is really a seriously nutritious big patch of river, which is more and more unusual, and the Colorado River by itself is a main north to south obligatory corridor for birds. So it is quite nicely positioned geographically to have a ton of birds passing by.”
More:Best birding hikes in Arizona: Where by to see trogons, owls, tanagers and much more
What months are most effective for hen viewing?
There are two primary periods of year for chook seeing at Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge, Prager stated.
“In the center of the wintertime months, in December and in January, you are likely to have a wonderful diversity to the finish of the refuge nearer to (Lake) Havasu exactly where there is a whole lot of open up drinking water. You are heading to see a whole lot of ducks, shore birds and wintering raptors like bald eagles and peregrine falcons,” he claimed.
“If you go there in the course of summer months months and head to the riverside of the refuge a minor little bit further more absent from Lake Havasu, you are going to see individuals breeding tropical migrants like warblers, chats, tanagers and orioles.”
What unusual birds can you see in western Arizona?
Astute birders have a prospect to location exceptional and endangered birds at the refuge. Prager said notable varieties include the Southwestern willow flycatcher and the yellow-billed cuckoo, which are endangered species.
In summer you may well see a Nutting’s flycatcher. Prager mentioned the refuge is 1 of the few destinations in the United States where Nutting’s flycatcher breeding has been documented.
The refuge is also a distinctive place for Clark’s nutcrackers and Western grebes, Prager explained. These can primarily be seen in close proximity to the mouth of the Monthly bill Williams River.
Why do birds migrate to western Arizona?
It is really a lot more complex than just the transform of seasons, Prager said. Birds’ movement is triggered by seasonal fluctuations in availability of meals and other sources that birds want to endure.
“For birds to breed or to endure the wintertime, they are heading to require a plentiful food resource,” Prager said. “They’ll go away in the course of the less productive year to an additional place in which the means exist for them to do what they have to have to do.
“And it receives messier than that. If you feel about birds that are coming down from the north, they’re likely to end up in the variety of birds that were being previously there. So you will find enhanced competition and all sorts of points that can impact when and where by birds go.”
Items to do at Bill Williams River Countrywide Wildlife Refuge
Prevent at the visitor centre: It truly is on State Route 95 about 16 miles north of Parker. You can select up a brochure and get information about the region.
Wander the character trails: Two quick trails — each about a fifty percent-mile prolonged — start out in the vicinity of the visitor center. The Peninsula Path is partly paved and meanders past indicators that give you facts about the ecosystem. There are benches alongside the way the place you can take it easy and soak up the sights. The Delta Loop Path is a half-mile loop that follows the shoreline of the Monthly bill Williams River delta.
Explore the refuge: Activities include things like kayaking, searching, boating, birding, fishing and a scenic push. For an overview of the landscape, take the 7-mile spherical excursion push alongside Earth Ranch Highway for mountain, river and wooded views. Get out and stretch your legs at pullouts alongside the way. Superior-clearance cars are advised for this grime and gravel highway.
Environmental fears at the refuge
These pursuits and environmental ailments have an effect on the refuge, Prager claimed.
Weather modify: Drought pushed by weather improve could diminish the water flow. “It will very likely impression functions at the Alamo Dam, which can influence their ability to provide on people seasonal flows that have benefited the refuge so much,” Prager claimed.
Off-freeway car or truck vacation: Vehicles that go off established roads and generate as a result of washes or river corridors injury the habitat. “You conclusion up tearing up soil and vegetation and that prevents the river method from recruiting new crops,” Prager explained.
Wind electricity progress: While Audubon is in favor of renewable electricity, Prager reported, exactly where wind farms are built is of concern to the organization.
“That reduced Colorado River corridor frequently comes up as a likely location for wind farms,” he explained. “You can picture as large of a migratory corridor as it is that siting becomes challenging, and producing sure people get set in the ideal place so they’re not colliding with birds can be genuine crucial.”
Grazing: “There is a good deal of lively grazing even now heading on all over the refuge, so making confident the cattle are positioned appropriately and are in places where they are supposed to be” is important, Prager explained.
Boating: Boats make waves that disturb the marsh habitat where by birds nest. There are closures about the mouth of the Invoice Williams River close to Lake Havasu to secure these spots.
Invasive species: Nonnative plant species like tamarisk can choose above river devices, push out cottonwoods and willows and deplete the drinking water desk. Tamarisk also is a fire hazard.
Nonnative aquatic species like zebra mussels hook onto boats and create them selves in new drinking water units. According to Arizona Match and Fish, zebra mussels remove phytoplankton from the h2o, which disrupts its ecological equilibrium.
How you can help
Boat responsibly: Keep out of shut regions and generate gradually near the mouth of the refuge so you don’t disturb the habitat.
Be a proactive birder: Submit information and facts and pictures of the birds you see at https://ebird.org/residence. “That is how we discover what is there and what is working with the space mainly because our biologists cannot be just about everywhere all the time,” Prager stated.
Remain knowledgeable: Check out the Audubon’s Western Rivers Action Network. You can indicator up to receive alerts about water concerns and other subject areas that affect birds nationwide.
Bill Williams River Countrywide Wildlife Refuge
When: Visitor middle is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
The place: 60911 Point out Route 95, Parker.
Far more matters to do in western Arizona
The Invoice Williams River National Wildlife Refuge is just one spotlight of western Arizona. In this article are other things to do in and all over Parker.
Desert Bar: The Desert Bar is an open-air watering hole in close proximity to Parker whose claims to fame are its remoteness — 5 miles down a rugged grime road — and its quirky architecture constructed over 40 several years by operator Ken Coughlin.
Far more:Desert Bar will never ever be accomplished, and that is just how the owner likes it
Buckskin Mountain Condition Park: This park is on the Colorado River just more than 6 miles from the refuge. Rolling mountains line the California and Arizona sides of the river. There are 80 campsites for RVs and tents, and fishing, boating and swimming are obtainable in designated areas. Facilities contain restrooms, mountaineering trails and a small retailer with treats and souvenirs.
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