Birding Bonanza
Explore three of the nation’s top birding destinations to spot sandhill cranes, western tanagers and myriad other species as you learn from experts and add to your birding list.
Program No. 7414RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Bird Class
Sierra Vista AZ
Sierra Suites

Afternoon: Program check-in by 5:00 PM on first day of program. After Hotel check-in, look for the Road Scholar registration site located in the Hotel Lobby. You will have time to get acquainted with your home for the week. This property offers a number of amenities such as exercise room, hot tub and pool. At 6:PM program participants will assemble in the Lobby to travel as a group to a local restaurant.

Dinner: The group will enjoy their first meal together at one of the local restaurants. You will have the opportunity to visit and enjoy the company of fellow participants while enjoying a hearty meal.

Evening: Program Orientation follows dinner. The adventure begins! Time for introductions and a brief outline of the week's activities. The Group Leader will give some detail information about 100 - 125 birding species that you will witness during this week. Participants may expect to spot some of the local wildlife and enjoy the beauty of high desert vegetation. This will be a relaxing week of good birding, making new friends and enjoying the beauty of nature

Sulphur Springs Valley White Water Draw Seasonal Wetland
Sierra Vista AZ
Sierra Suites

Activity note: Observe the Sandhill Crane migration.

Breakfast: The day begins early with Breakfast served at the Hotel. Participants will have a selection of a number of healty breakfast food items to create the breakfast of your choice.

Morning: Today's destination is the Sulphur Springs Valley and White Water Draw to view the thousands of migrating Sandhill Cranes and Hawks. Mexican ducks commonly nest in ponds created by farmers for the reuse of irrigation tail-water. The number of wintering sandhill cranes has increased dramatically since the 1950s, probably in response to the abundant food available in harvested grain fields; primarily corn. Numbers of both mourning, and white-winged doves have likely also increased since historic times as the result of agriculture. Participants will witness a large population of doves. Numbers of both mule deer and collared peccary have increased in recent years in response to increased food associated with agriculture. There will be birding stops and spottings along the way as the group travels about 40 miles (one way) to the Sulphur Springs Valley.

Lunch: Lunch will be served at a local family restaurant located in the rural community of Elfrida. This will be an opportunity to experience the hospitality of a small farming town.

Afternoon: The Sulphur Springs Valley is teeming with many birds to see. Following lunch the group will continue exploration of this area. The sandhill cranes darken the skies in flight formation as they come in to roost. These cranes appear sleek in flight but are very rugged when viewed on land.

Dinner: Dinner will be served at a restaurant in Sierra Vista. As this has been a full day of traveling and birding, the dinner tonight will be served at a restaurant close to the Hotel.

Evening: Review Birding List. We have seen many species of birds today and are off to a great start for a stellar birding week! Following a full day of birding and a satisfying meal, sleep will be welcomed tonight.

San Pedro National Conservation Area, San Pedro River
Sierra Vista AZ
Sierra Suites

Activity note: A mecca for birds and wildlife, today the group will walk along the banks of the San Pedro River flowning North from Mexico.

Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel. Participants will have the opportunity to select from an array of healthy breakfast foods before the day long field trip begins.

Morning: This morning the group will depart for the San Pedro National Conservation Riparian Area. The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area is a 56,000 acre preserve managed by the Bureau of Land Management and is located along the upper San Pedro River. A narrow ribbon of Fremont Cottonwoods, some over 100 years old, supports forty percent of the nesting Gray Hawks in the U.S. and creates a migratory corridor for an estimated 4 million migrating birds each year. Many additions will be added to today's birding list.

Lunch: Lunch served at a local Sierra Vista restaurant. Following a relaxing lunch the group will be birding the banks of the well-known San Pedro River

Afternoon: A trip to the San Pedro River is worthwhile any time of year. Year-round residents such as Abert’s Towhee, "Lillian's" Eastern Meadowlark, Gambel’s Quail and the elusive Green Kingfisher and Crissal Thrasher are joined in winter by large flocks of sparrows and finches and the raptors who hunt them. Along the banks of the San Pedro River ponds attract various species of waterfowl (including Wood Duck, a rare species in Arizona) and Belted Kingfishers from fall through spring and many songbirds from spring through fall. This afternoon will be a birding haven!

Dinner: Enjoy the cuisine of a Sierra Vista restaurant. After a full day of birding it is time to relax and enjoy a meal with friends. Following dinner the group will go over the birding list and then return to the Hotel for some well-deserved relaxation

Patagonia Lake State Park for Viewing Hummingbirds & Herons
Sierra Vista AZ
Sierra Suites

Activity note: Patatonia Lake State Park is a perfect viewing location for water fowl and hummingbirds.

Breakfast: Breakfast served at Hotel. After breakfast today's birding will be in the Patagonia area about 30 miles south of Sierra Vista.

Morning: Today the group's birding destination will be The Patagonia Lake State Park. The Park was established in 1975 as a state park. The tracks of the New Mexico/Arizona railroad lie beneath the lake and remnants of the old historic line may be found at the Nature Conservancy in Patagonia. Participants will stroll along the beautiful creek trail and see a variety of birds.

Lunch: the group will have lunch in Patagonia at a local restaurant.

Afternoon: Field trip continues to Patagonia Sonoita Nature Conservancy. The preserve protects a magnificent example of the rare Fremont cottonwood-Goodding willow riparian forest. Some of the trees are among the largest (more than 100 feet tall) and oldest (130 years old) Fremont cottonwood trees in this country. This is one of the few remaining sites in Arizona where this once-common forest type still persists. Arizona black walnut, velvet mesquite, velvet ash, netleaf hackberry, and various willows are found in slightly different habitats throughout the preserve

Dinner: Participants will enjoy a nutritious meal at a local Sierra Vista restaurant.

Evening: Review Birding List. Following dinner participants will review the birding list before returning to the Hotel for some well deserved rest.

Birding in Huachuca Mountains & Canyons
Sierra Vista AZ
Sierra Suites

Activity note: Travel into the Huachuca Mountain Canyons for premier birding opportunities.

Breakfast: Breakfast served at Hotel. The day begins anew with an early morning breakfast

Morning: Today participants will experience premier birding in the Huachuca Mountains and Canyons. Among the most productive and accessible locations in the Huachucas are the east slope canyons within the Coronado National Forest: Miller, Carr, and Ramsey. Until recently these Canyons had been overlooked by birders.

Lunch: Lunch at a local Sierra Vista restaurant. Following lunch the group will continue birding the Huachuca Mountains and Canyons. This afternoon the group will visit local bird feeders

Afternoon: Birdwatching field trip continues. 15 species of hummingbirds (up to 13 at one time) plus an astonishing variety of naturally occurring hybrids may be viewed at some of the bird feeder sites.

Dinner: Dinner tonight will be a special occasion. The group will experience the authentic Mexican cuisine at a long established Sierra Vista favorite restaurant. Diners will enjoy the festive Mexican decor of the restaurant.

Evening: Review birding list. Following dinner participants will review the birding list. After a full day of activities, return to the Hotel for a welcome rest.

Ramsey Canyon Bird Preserve & Sanctuary, Program Concludes
Sierra Vista AZ

Activity note: An early morning visit to Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservancy promises to be a rewarding adventure..

Breakfast: Breakfast served at Hotel. Following an early morning breakfast the group will visit scenic Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservancy. The Conservancy is about five miles from our Hotel.

Morning: This morning our destination is Ramsey Canyon Nature Conservancy. Visitors from all over the world come to see the more than 170 species of birds found in the preserve and surrounding national forest. Southwestern specialties such as painted redstarts and magnificent hummingbirds share the canyon with many other animals, including mountain lions, canyon treefrogs, rattlesnakes, and dozens of species of butterflies. The canyon is also home to more than 400 species of plants, from tiny mosses to towering firs.

Lunch: Lunch served at local restaurant. The group's farewell lunch will be served at a local restaurant in Sierra Vista. This week you have experienced the diversity of southeastern AZ. The valley floor offers a variety of cacti, the mountain timber offered habitat to fowl and wildlife and the banks of the San Pedro River were lined with cottonwoods. Each life zone introduced a variety birds, wildlife and unique beauty. The birding bonanza week will conclude following lunch (about 1:PM). We hope you will join Geronimo Educational Foundation again for a dynamic learning adventure.

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