The average traveler may be surprised to learn that bird watching is a popular activity in Scottsdale, especially as the West’s Most Western Town is known for its sophisticated shops, galleries and restaurants, but if you are an avid ornithologist, chances are you not only know, you have already begun to plan your Scottsdale birdwatching vacation! As can be expected from a warm climate state, migration plays a big part in the variety of the species that fly to our nests, and although the calendar only shows four seasons, and most residents only count two – summer and not summer! – there are five different seasons for birdwatching! This guide to Scottsdale bird watching will enhance a vacation spent in our I Love Scottsdale vacation havens, a vacation that will never cease to amaze.
The Five Seasons for Scottsdale Bird Watching
Spring is arguably the best time of year to visit Scottsdale for birdwatchers, offering a chance to view the birds that are migrating back to their cold weather home towns. Come to watch the hummingbirds and perhaps be able to witness their tiny nests filled with even tinier babies in mid-April, but if you are more interested in larger birds, owls are prevalent from mid-March through late May.
Taking place from May through early July most years, the dry season is when the tropical birds make their presence known, but because of the summer heat in early July, you may want to be sure to get up early to get your best views, as the temps can rise so high in the daylight hours, even the birds try to stay out of sight and as cool as possible.
The rainy season starts in mid-July, lasting through mid-September, and offers scorching heat and chaotic storms that seem to bring the hummingbirds out in force! Migrating birds, including sulphur-bellied, cordilleran, and buff-breasted flycatchers, begin to make their first appearances in early September, knowing that the temperatures in their hometowns are destined to drop sooner than they want!
Fall is when residents of the non-feathered variety fall deeper in love with our fair weather, but it really isn’t the best time for birding. You can catch sight of predators such as hawks if you are eagle-eyed, however, and even if you find nothing more than a love bird calling out loudly from the tree next to the pool of your I Love Scottsdale peaceful nest, it is still a great time for an Arizona vacation.
Finally, winter, the last of the five seasons, lasts from December through February and is best for bird watching in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson. Only about an hour and a half outside of Scottsdale, the vibe of Tucson is a more laid back one, and the birds you can see during your stay will be raptors, waterfowl, and sparrows.
Best Places to Watch Your Feathered Friends
Scottsdale offers a complex blend of sophistication, history, and natural attractions, and the trails that cross through the desert that surrounds our favorite place on earth are where the best birdwatching experiences can take place! Ranging in difficulty from easy to difficult, the easiest trail is the Granite Mountain Loop in our McDowell Sonoran Preserve. It should take you a little less than two hours to complete the 5.3-mile loop and is a very popular trail, so while you are on the lookout for birds to add to your birding book, be sure to watch out for hikers and mountain bikers that may be using the trail as well. The most difficult trail, Tom Thumb’s Trail South, is also in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, stretching out over 11 miles and taking nearly six hours to complete. This trail climbs high, and the flora and fauna you come across during your exploration is destined to please; pets are welcome on leashes, but they may interfere with your bird watching activities, especially if they like to bark when they meet new people or see other animals. This trail is popular as well. Moderate trails can be found in Pinnacle Peak Park (Pinnacle Peak Trail), McDowell Mountain Regional Park (Ringtail and Lost Dog Overlook Loops), and as you might expect, McDowell Sonoran Preserve (Brown’s Mountain Trail Loop, among others). All of these trails for bird watching in Scottsdale offer a beautiful way to take note of the variety of birds that make their homes in the Scottsdale area.
From the Deck of Your Scottsdale Sanctuary
The backyard areas of our I Love Scottsdale escapes often provide the ideal place to relax and observe the natural side of Arizona, especially if your rental offers a pool, fountain, or even a hot tub. These water sources attract the birds, and if you step outside to see a flock of lovebirds roosting on the artificial stone waterfall, be quiet, grab your camera, and document this serene moment. Reserve your favorite escape today!