About the Tucson Bird Count

Urban birding has received a lot of attention lately as a great option to see birds close to home. There are often some very exciting migrant and wintering bird species found in parks and lush landscapes within Tucson and Green Valley. Why is urban habitat so attractive to so many species? In short it is because landscaping can be a better food source for native birds in terms of fruit producing plants such as hackberry and pyracantha than the surrounding native habitat. Sometimes there are more insect prey for birds in an urban setting due to the extra water these landscapes receive and, of course, some of us supplement the natural food supply with feeders. On the other hand we have all experienced the “dead zones” of empty dirt lots and parking lots in Tucson that barely support anything let alone native birds.

Tucson Bird Count is a Citizen Science Program coordinated by the Tucson Audubon Society in partnership with the University of Arizona. The goal of the count is to determine how parts of Tucson are utilized by native birds in order to make more of Tucson into productive urban habitat.

Any birder that can readily identify the birds of Tucson is invited to adopt a route to survey. It only takes one morning of your choice between April 15–May 15 to conduct 5 minute counts at each of the stops along your route. Many of the routes are in urban Tucson and don’t require any hiking, you can easily drive from point to point. Other routes are in more natural areas and require some hiking. There are even a few routes that are only hiking.

If you are familiar with most of Tucson’s bird species and are interested in helping with the Tucson Bird Count, please contact Jennie MacFarland at jmacfarland@tucsonaudubon.org.