Yuma Sun - Visiting In Yuma



Throughout the course of a year,watchful residents and visitors in the Yuma area can see about 230 species of birds.

“They are attracted by the wetland areas along the river and its backwaters, and the riparian habitats that line the river corridor,”said Lin Piest,a wildlife specialist with the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

“These areas provide the necessary food and cover.The milder climate allows some species to spend the winter here.Some of the agricultur­al areas provide important food resources for some species. Migrating birds use the

Colorado River as a corridor since it parallels their north/south movements.”

In the winter months, observers can watch the long-billed curlew, orangecrow­ned warbler,yellow-rumped warbler, blue-gray gnatcatche­r, white-crowned sparrow, lesser goldfinch, northern flicker, ring-billed gull,American coots,osprey, peregrine falcons,red-tailed hawks and ferruginou­s hawks.

Come spring,the wintering birds are still around but a large variety of songbirds such as Wilson’s warbler, yellow warbler, Townsend’s warbler, warbling vireo,western tanager, Swainson’s thrush,tree swallow and various shorebirds come to the area.

“The area’s most impressive bird spectacle may be the large swarms of tree swallows that come to roost at Mittry and Martinez lakes most nights from January to April,”Piest noted.“Swarms may include around 50,000 birds and offer a very impressive sight as the swallows gather into a large mass in the sky around sunset and then form a funnel cloud as they swoop down to their roosting sites.”

There are several places to watch birds in a natural setting throughout the year:

• Songbirds and waterbirds are often found at the Yuma East and West Wetlands.

• Waterbirds and vast numbers of migrating tree swallows can be found at Mittry Lake and Martinez Lake in the spring and fall.

• A variety of wintering hawks and falcons can be found in the agricultur­al areas on the southern part of the Yuma Mesa.

• Waterfowl and sandhill cranes can be found along the Colorado River in the Cibola and Havasu National Wildlife Refuges.

• What may be the region’s best place to see a large number of waterbirds in many varieties is at the Salton Sea in California.

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