Birding at Organ Pipe Cactus

A grey bird with a bright yellow head sits upon a branch holding a piece of grass.
The verdin is one of over 270 species of birds that may be spotted at Organ Pipe Cactus throughout the year.

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Birding In Organ Pipe Cactus

Organ Pipe Cactus is a fantastic place for "birding"! The monument is home to hundreds of bird species, some that are permenant residents and many migratory birds passing through to Mexico or further north. Visit the Birds page to learn more about the birds found at Organ Pipe Cactus or visit the Birding for Beginners page for fantastic tips for both beginners and experienced birders alike on this fun and rewarding activity!

Tips For Birding At Organ Pipe Cactus

Patience is the key: birders know that birding does not always mean finding. The longer you can look, the more likely you may discover a soaring caracara passing by above you!

Areas that hold water are usually good during periods of extended dryness. Tinajas are small depressions found in washes that hold water for long periods, and wildlife is often found near them during the dry times of year using them as a place to drink. Watch for an explosion of birds out of bushes as you approach!

Talk with a ranger at the visitor center. At least one birder is usually on duty and may be able to help fine-tune your trip. And remember, most of our migratory birds are on their way to someplace else, just like our visitors who also move on to other destinations.


Good Places For Birding

Birders who visit the monument and rangers who love checking off new birds from their "life list" provide great insight as to where the best birding areas are around the monument! Below are some suggested areas to explore with information on what kind of birds you may spot in that location.

Kris Eggle Visitor Center

The “Ciénega”, a small pond with Quitobaquito pupfish, is located near the visitor center just outside the back patio along the nature trail. It's a prime spot for bird watching as it provides a water source for the wildlife in the monument. Expect to see quite a variety of smaller birds such as verdin, cactus wrens, and phainopeplas stopping by to enjoy the water and rest in the trees and cacti nearby.

The picnic area out front of the visitor center also makes a great place to bird watch while enjoying a meal. Its location near a desert wash provides views of many birds that enjoy the thick vegetation and large trees found near the ephemeral water source.

Twin Peaks Campground

This spacious campground is lush with desert vegetation that attracts all variety of wildlife. You might be able to add a Scott’s Oriole or Gambel's quail to your list, and vultures and hawks are often seen around the area in search of a good meal. Listen for owls and common poorwills, particularly after evening programs when the weather is warm.

Ajo Mountain Drive

Several bird of prey species including Cooper's and Harris hawks can be seen soaring around the mountains. The canyon crevices along Estes Canyon provide homes to many species of owl and is a great place to go "owling" in the early morning. Canyon towhees, black-throated sparrows, and many more birds enjoy the canyon areas, especially around the washes.

Alamo Canyon

Perhaps the best birding area in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is in Alamo Canyon. This verdant trail testifies to increased rainfall in this part of the monument and during Monsoon Summer the wash if often running, drawing birds in search of insects and berries.

Towards the end of the trail (0.9 miles one-way) is a great area with shade near the wash to spot birds. Pass the first ranch building and you'll cross the wash to the trail on the other side; if hiking during Monsoon Summer, a bit of rock hopping may be in order to get to the other side. Follow the trail a bit and you'll pass another old ranch building on the left, then a stock tub and water tank. Take the trail to the wash and sit down on a rock. Red-tailed hawks are often seen here and Lucy's warbler has been seen near mesquite trees in early April.

Last updated: November 27, 2023

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10 Organ Pipe Drive
Ajo, AZ 85321



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