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Birding near Douglas

Slaughter Ranch Museum, east of Douglas
(520) 558-2474
You can combine birding with history at the restored ranch of John Slaughter. This turn-of-the-century southwestern ranch house has been restored and is open to the public. The house pond, formed in the 1890s by damming native springs, attracts many birds and is a haven for rare native fish.
The ranch is twenty miles east of Douglas. From Douglas, take 15th Street east. It becomes Geronimo Trail. Continue east on this road approximately 15 miles. The museum is open to the public Wed-Sun 10 -3 Admission $8/adult, children under 14 free

San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge
The San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge, along with the neighboring Leslie Canyon National Wildlife Refuge, protects scarce aquatic and riparian habitats. The San Bernardino Refuge stretches across the bottom of a wide valley and includes a portion of the headwaters of the Yaqui River, which drains western Chihuahua and eastern Sonora, Mexico. This wetlands habitat has fostered a wide diversity of mammal and avian species as well as rare Arizona native fish. Artesian wells and seeps create small areas of riparian forest, marshland, scrub and aquatic habitat. Over 270 species of birds can be seen at San Bernardino NWR, including great blue heron, green-backed heron, Virginia rail, ringneck duck, Mexican duck, sandhill crane, magnificent hummingbird, Costa's hummingbird, yellow warbler, blue grosbeak, phainopeplas, white-crowned sparrows, and Gila woodpeckers. Raptors include gray hawk, zone-tailed hawk, golden eagle, Swainson's hawk, kestrel, sharp-shinned hawk, and peregrine falcon. From Douglas, take 15th Street east. It becomes Geronimo Trail. Continue east on this road approximately 17 miles.

Chiricahua Mountains, southwest side
Rucker Canyon
(520) 364-3468
Coronado National Forest, Douglas Ranger District
Rucker Canyon on the southwest end of the Chiricahua Mountain range offers camping and picnicking for birders as well as beautiful scenery. There is trail access into the Chiricahua Wilderness. Free

Sulphur Springs Valley
This valley stretches between the Willcox Playa and the Mexican border between Bisbee and Douglas. A drive through this valley, either on the main highway (191) or on the back roads of the ghost town areas, will afford many sightings ranging from sandhill cranes (in fall and winter) to hawks, eagles and the always-lively roadrunner. Free

Chiricahua Mountains, northeast side
The Chiricahuas are serious mountains, which means they generate a number of "you can't get there from here" scenarios. One of them is the fact that the "best" route to Cave Creek is through Douglas, up Highway 80 through Rodeo, New Mexico, and back into Arizona to Portal.

Cave Creek Canyon, Portal
(520) 364-3468
Coronado National Forest, Douglas Ranger District
From Portal the road into the Chiricahua Mountains winds along Cave Creek Canyon, where you may spot peregrine falcons. In the fall, this is a good place to see the Calliope hummingbird. It is also one of the few canyons in the U.S. where the elegant trogan nests. After the road passes the Southwestern Research Station of the American Museum of Natural History, a dirt road climbs to Pinery Canyon and Rustler Park campground. Red-faced warblers and Mexican chickadees are among the high-elevation species to be seen here. There are several camping areas in the National Forest as well as bed and breakfast accommodations nearby. Free

Another prime birding area in the northern Chiricahuas is Rustler Park near Paradise.

Rustler Park (520) 364-3468
Coronado National Forest, Douglas Ranger District
Rustler Park Campground, reached from either side of the Chiricahua range by a steep, winding, unpaved mountain road, is in a large meadow surrounded by pines at an elevation of 8,500 ft. Look for hairy woodpecker, pygmy nuthatch and Mexican chickadees among other high elevation species. A trailhead provides access to Chiricahua Wilderness. Free

Chiricahua Wilderness (520) 364-3468
Coronado National Forest, Douglas Ranger District
South of the Chiricahua National Monument, the 87,700-acre Chiricahua Wilderness is a much less traveled destination than the nearby Monument. Here, too, the wide variations in elevation, moisture and slope produce corresponding variations in wildlife. Many of the birds to be seen here are more common in Mexico than in the United States. Travel is difficult and is limited by law to foot and horseback. Machines are not permitted.The terrain is often difficult and for safety visitors should remain on the developed trail system. Free

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