The Sonoita Creek Preserve


The Sonoita Creek Preserve is one of Santa Cruz County’s most sought out birding hot spots.

Owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy, it is actually one of the best bird watching havens in the Southwest. This lush riparian area provides habitat for over 200 species of birds.

Southwest of Patagonia, AZ is the famous Roadside Rest Area. Many hard-to-find birds can be seen here, the most famous of which are the Rose-throated Becards.

Broad-billed Hummingbirds also visit flowering shrubs at the base of this rocky slope, Canyon Wrens sing from the cliffs and Bell’s Vireos nest in the thickets of Hackberry and Mexican Elderberry. Across the highway, the flowing water attracts species such as the Thick-billed Kingbird (summer), Varied and Lazuli buntings (summer-fall), Lesser Goldfinch, and a variety of sparrows.

For reservations and information about birdwalks, pontoon boat tours, and special events, go to their website.


Sonoita Creek State Natural Area

Located at Patagonia Lake State Park

Phone: 520-287-2791       (October 15 – April 15),

Phone: 520-287-6965       (April 16 – October 14)

Hours: Visitor Center: 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM , October 15 – April 15

Website: AZStateParks/Sonoita Creek