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  • Birders are atwitter over recent finds at Pima County’s Historic Canoa Ranch

    Sep 25, 2019 | Read More News
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    A historic Pima County park is number one, thanks to a Black Tern, a Rufous Hummingbird and a Willow Flycatcher (pictured), among others. They’re just a few of the 190 species that birding enthusiasts have seen or heard at Historic Canoa Ranch in Green Valley this year, making it the number one birding hotspot in Pima County for 2019.
    Willow flycatcher
    Overall, bird enthusiasts have spotted 226 species at Canoa Ranch since its newly restored lake opened in early 2018. Birders have added 24 new species to the Canoa Ranch version of the online birding site, eBird. They also added 37 species in 2018. 

    Two of those most-recent species were special finds, according to Brian Nicholas, a naturalist who leads numerous birding tours for Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation, which manages Historic Canoa Ranch.

    “Birders spotted a Caspian Tern and a Wood Stork, the latter of which may be a first for Pima County (in eBird),” said Nicholas, who thinks the increase in birding activity complements the historic nature of Canoa Ranch.

    “I was talking with another birder recently who remembered Canoa Ranch back when the old pond and habitat were the go-to place for birders,” Nicholas recalled. “Thanks to the habitat restoration over the past couple years, birds and birders have rekindled their love for this new natural wonder situated along the Santa Cruz, a major migratory flyway. It will only get better once the cienega is created and the pondside habitat matures.”

    The entry gate to Historic Canoa Ranch is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. for access to the Anza Trail and Canoa Lake. Open hours at the ranch are 8-11 a.m. on Saturdays when tours are scheduled. Visit pima.gov/canoaranch for tour schedules and other info. In 2001, Pima County purchased and began to restore the 4,800-acre Canoa Ranch complex with voter-approved 1997 and 2004 bond funds. Pima County opened the ranch headquarters to the public in March 2013.