• Ruins of Fort Bowie

    Fort Bowie

    National Historic Site Arizona

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  • Visitor Center Summer Hours in Effect Beginning May 1, 2014

    The visitor center will be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 am to 4 pm from May 1 – October 12, 2014. The ruins areas, hiking trails, and administrative access road are all open for the summer during park hours, sunrise to sunset. More »

Birds

The rufous hummingbird is a common summer migrant at Fort Bowie.  These birds feed on flower nectar, and the agave plant sends up a large flower stalk to encourage flower pollination by birds and bats.

Rufous hummingbird feeding on agave bloom

NPS photo

The dominant habitat type at Fort Bowie is Chihuahuan desert grassland. This shrubby savanna covers the valley between the two adjacent mountain ranges, offering lower elevation grassland habitat to those birds that aren’t usually found in the mountains. Sparrows are abundant, as well as doves, quail, meadowlarks, and other desert grassland birds. The slopes are dotted with oak and pinyon-juniper woodlands, gradually transitioning into the higher elevations.

Another feature that attracts many birds is Apache Spring, which provides a small but steady flow of water throughout the year. A narrow riparian corridor runs through the canyon bottom, making it an important "stopover" area for migrating birds. Large trees grow in this corridor, providing nest sites, foraging areas and summer shade for avian residents. Hawks nest in the large trees, as well as perching there while searching the adjacent areas for prey. Many migratory birds – such as warblers, orioles, flycatchers, and hummingbirds – utilize this riparian area (a very rare habitat in the southwest) during the hot summer months.

Did You Know?

Butterfield Trail Sign

The Butterfield Overland Mail Route ran between Memphis and St. Louis on the Mississippi River and San Francisco in California. Its traverse through Apache Pass, in present day Fort Bowie National Historic Site, was the highest point on the entire route.