August is for the Birds in Arizona's State Parks

August 1, 2023

PHOENIX – You may not realize it, but one of Arizona’s most rewarding pastimes is heating up this month. For novices and experts alike, Arizona’s state parks have some of the best birding around, so pick up your binoculars and head out!

According to the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory, late summer is a great time to catch sight of birds, especially hummingbirds. Fall migration can begin as early as late June, and several of the parks are right in the flight path.

Both Patagonia Lake State Park and adjacent Sonoita Creek are spectacular birding areas. Hummingbird migration peaks in late July to mid-September, and the southern part of the state is directly in the path of birds migrating from Mexico. The park offers great resources on what other types of birds you may see while you're visiting. Reserve a campsite or cabin and make a weekend of it to expand your opportunities.

There’s no better summer getaway than Sedona, and Red Rock State Park has an amazing selection of birds to view along its trails. The riparian area along Oak Creek is a cool spot to see wrens, swallows, and possibly hawks and eagles. The park also offers daily guided nature hikes and bird walks every Wednesday and Saturday morning. In Cottonwood, Dead Horse Ranch State Park is another birding hot spot. This riparian zone trails flanking the Verde River give birders a chance to see nesting black hawks, numerous waterfowl species such as wood ducks and mallards, plus the chance of seeing a majestic bald eagle in its native environment.

Other southern Arizona state parks have plenty of birding opportunities, including Catalina State Park, which housed a pair of great-horned owlets this spring and also had long-eared owls raising their young in the park. Kartchner Caverns State Park has a stunning hummingbird garden, enticing flying visitors to stop and rest during migration. You’ll be sure to catch these majestic marvels when you visit.

Many of the parks have bird lists and guides available, and you don’t have to be an expert to enjoy catching sight of a wide-variety of birds. You can also find handy resources and information by flocking to our website.


Managing and conserving Arizona's natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of the people, both in our parks and through our partners.

For information about the more than 30 Arizona State Parks and Natural Areas, the Trails and Off-Highway Vehicle Programs and State Historic Preservation Office call 1-877-MY-PARKS or visit