21-23 October 2016
By Anne Pellegrini and Lauren Harter
The summer is flying by and the 10th annual state meeting in Yuma is drawing ever closer. This year’s meeting will be held at the Best Western InnSuites, just minutes from historic downtown Yuma and some excellent birding at the Yuma East Wetlands and Riverside Park. Features include mini-field expeditions to under-birded locations, several presentations about ongoing research on the status, behavior, and distribution of Arizona birds, chances to test your audio and visual identification skills, and opportunities to learn about how you can become involved with AZFO. More details about the meeting can be found here:
Registration – We will open up registration for both the meeting and the expeditions in July. Registration will be through the website, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, rooms have been set aside at the Best Western and are available for reservation. Please see the website for details on how to secure the group rate.
Presentations – There is still room for additional presenters. If you are interested in presenting a paper or poster, please check out our Call for Papers and Posters for instructions on how to submit an abstract:
Youth Scholarships – AZFO is proud to encourage and support young people with an interest in Arizona’s birds. As part of our goal to involve a younger generation in AZFO activities, we offer scholarships to students (middle school through college undergraduate) to attend the annual meeting. The goals of our scholarship program include helping to ease any financial burden of traveling to the meeting, as well as reaching out to students who may benefit from attendance with opportunities for networking, learning, and getting involved with AZFO and other organizations.
The scholarship can be applied to transportation, a two-night hotel stay, a ticket to the meeting banquet, and a one-year membership in AZFO. Following the meeting, recipients will be expected to submit an essay describing their experiences at the meeting, to be posted on the AZFO website. Prior year essays can be read at Application materials can be found at; students should apply by 15 September 2016. The AZFO scholarship program is generously supported by the Maricopa Audubon Society.
By Pierre Deviche
We are pleased to announce that this year, AZFO will again offer grants of up to $1000 for field research aimed at enhancing our knowledge of the status, distribution, identification, and other aspects of Arizona birdlife. Information about past grant recipients and the application process is available at The application deadline is 15 September 2016. For more information, please contact Pierre Deviche ( or any AZFO board member.
May-June 2016
By Troy Corman
Late spring and early summer is often one of the more exciting seasons in Arizona, with discoveries of late migrants—including rarities—and new local breeding records. Not unexpectedly, the southeastern corner of the state had the greatest share of such noteworthy encounters. In Cochise County, the pair of TUFTED FLYCATCHERS returned to Ramsey Canyon and were tending a nest by June. A SLATE-THROATED REDSTART was discovered in Pinery Canyon in the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise Co. The bird was observed building a nest, and it apparently fledged three young that appeared to be fathered by a Painted Redstart! This was the first known nesting in the U.S. Most Arizona records of WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER occur during this season. However, the two records this spring were in counties where they have never been reported. Three were in the Santa Cruz Flats, Pinal Co. and one was near Thatcher, Graham Co. A SHORT-TAILED HAWK was observed in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Pima Co., with another reported in the Pinaleno Mountains, Graham Co.

Off of Gardner Canyon Road, Santa Cruz Co., a flashy RED-HEADED WOODPECKER was discovered that lingered into June, providing the first summer record for the state. The obvious standout discovery of the season was the first documented record of PINE FLYCATCHER at nearby Aliso Spring, Pima Co., which built a nest and lingered through June. Very casual in spring, two AZTEC THRUSHES were documented in Santa Cruz Co., with one in upper Madera Canyon and the another at Aliso Spring. A surprising GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER was also discovered in upper Madera Canyon.
Pine Flycatcher
31 May 2016 – Santa Rita Mtns., Pima Co.
Photo/Monte Taylor
Pine Flycatcher on Nest
15 June 2016 – Santa Rita Mtns., Pima Co.
Photo/Christie Van Cleve
Noteworthy observations elsewhere in the state included an unexpected SANDHILL CRANE at Mormon Lake, Coconino Co. in June; one or more continuing NUTTING’S FLYCATCHERS along the lower Bill Williams River, La Paz/Mohave Cos.; a THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD at the Hassayampa River Preserve, Maricopa Co.; a BOBOLINK near Page, Coconino Co.; multiple GRAY CATBIRDS in the Flagstaff area, Coconino Co.; and a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER near Yuma, Yuma Co. Other rare warblers included the first Navajo Co. record of an OVENBIRD in Taylor, and a HOODED WARBLER near Granite Basin Lake, Yavapai Co. 
For more details about these and other noteworthy photo-documented observations, please visit:
By Doug Jenness
Well over 400 birders were in the field throughout the state on 14 May 2016, the second annual Global Big Day. A large number were in teams coordinated on a countywide basis by the Arizona Field Ornithologists. This year AZFO merged its 12 years of experience coordinating volunteers for the North American Migration Count into eBird's Global Big Day. The 301 species reported was only two short of the 13-year high of 303 in 2013 and 2014. Of this year's total, six are new to the 13-year spring migration count: White-rumped Sandpiper (Pinal), Laughing Gull (Pima), Red-headed Woodpecker (Santa Cruz), Slate-throated Redstart (Cochise), Bobolink (Pima), and Purple Finch (Cochise). Six species were seen in all 15 counties: Turkey Vulture, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Mourning Dove, Common Raven, Western Tanager, and House Finch. Of the species reported, 46 were observed in only one county. Eleven counties reported at least one of these 46, with Cochise having the most (11). A remarkable record high of 11 Brown Pelicans was reported, including nine at San Carlos Lake that moved around in three counties. This species is more expected in late summer and early fall as monsoon storms drive first-year birds into the state.
White-rumped Sandpiper
14 May 2016 – Santa Cruz Flats, Pinal Co.
Photo/Gary Rosenberg
The species totals for counties were: Cochise (198), Maricopa (190), Yavapai (177), Pinal (175), Pima (171), Santa Cruz (163), Coconino (161), Gila (161), Graham (156), Mohave (143), Navajo (88), Yuma (87), La Paz (66), Apache (54), and Greenlee (42). Three counties—Graham, Pinal, and Yavapai—reported their highest 13-year totals. Pinal added six new species to its cumulative list, Gila and Cochise each added two, and Maricopa added one. Cochise County, where a high number of tour groups were in the field, reported the greatest number of species for the day (198) and had the most birders in the field. La Paz County reported its highest number of Swainson's Thrush (9), which was nearly half the state total of 19. A photographed Painted Bunting in Maricopa County was only the third for the migration count and the first for Maricopa. The most notable miss was Grasshopper Sparrow, which had been reported in all of the preceding 11 years. With most of the day's reports being submitted directly to eBird, we do not have totals for the number of birds reported; these totals were compiled from tally sheets in the previous 12 years (See
Red-headed Woodpecker
12 May 2016 – Santa Rita Mtns., Santa Cruz Co.
Photo/Andrew Core
The spring migration count helps provide a "snapshot" of the progress and character of spring migration, and the birders have fun finding as many migrants as they can. Making this survey part of the Global Big Day offered an opportunity to build on what we had accomplished and make our statewide count part of a broader national, even international, effort. We'll be looking forward to your participation in the next Global Big Day in Arizona on 13 May 2017.
6-8 May 2016
By Troy Corman
Felipe Guerrero and I led an AZFO backpacking expedition into the Superstition Wilderness, located in the south half of the Tonto National Forest. Our goal was to explore some of the higher elevations and canyons where stands of ponderosa pine and oaks occur within the Superstition Mountains in Maricopa and Pinal counties. This habitat is very limited in both of these counties, and we documented the breeding birds and spring migrants in the area. Apparently birders have not explored this area much since the 1970s, and we generated the first eBird reports in this mountain range for many species. 
Our access point was Rogers Trough Trailhead which is situated in a mix of chaparral, juniper, and small stands of evergreen oaks at 4,800 ft. elevation. This is where the team of seven met late on 6 May 2016. The next morning, we hiked into the wilderness area through beautiful chaparral, along drainages, and with breathtaking vistas on a section of the Arizona Trail (Trail 109) for about five miles until we reached Reavis Pass at 5,200 ft. elevation. The team cataloged the abundant birdlife as we went, all in Pinal County. From there the habitat soon changed as we hiked north along the Reavis Creek drainage, apparently the only perennial flowing creek at the top of the Superstitions. We encountered towering ponderosa pines and huge junipers and oaks, interspersed with bunchgrass-filled meadows. Tall, dense stands of coyote willow filled the crystal clear creek in many areas.
Pristine Grassland
7 May 2016 – Superstition Wilderness, Maricopa Co.
Photo/Troy Corman
We were all blown away by how similar this habitat looked to the sky islands in southeast Arizona. Plus, without any grazing activity for likely 50+ years, it was a rare opportunity to see what such habitat should look like in pristine condition ... it was simply amazing.  We set up a base camp in Maricopa County north of the Long Trough Canyon mouth, and periodically broke into teams in the afternoon and again Sunday morning to explore this pine/oak wonderland. By the time we hiked out Sunday afternoon, we had documented nearly 100 species, with all of us seeing one or more species we had never observed before in Maricopa and Pinal counties. Highlights were many, including 13 species of warblers, with numerous pairs of nesting PAINTED REDSTARTS and GRACE'S WARBLERS; a migrant male CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD giving us a rare opportunity to see (and hear) its courtship flight in Arizona; many pairs of DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHERS; and hearing FLAMMULATED and a pair of SPOTTED OWLS. Other breeding species seldom or only locally documented in these two counties included ACORN and HAIRY WOODPECKERS, STELLER'S JAYS, OLIVE WARBLERS, HEPATIC TANAGERS—and as we hiked out Sunday, three RED CROSSBILLS and three WILD TURKEYS (likely of the Merriam's race).
Ponderosa Pine Forest
7 May 2016 – Superstition Wilderness, Maricopa Co.
Photo/Troy Corman
A full report with photos is being prepared and will be placed on the AZFO Expedition/Events page at Felipe and I want to thank the very enthusiastic and energetic team that ranged in age from 16 to the mid-50s, some of whom had never backpacked before or had not done so in over 25 years (me!). The fun crew included Tommy DeBardeleben, Tom Lewis, Dee O'Connell, Ryan O'Donnell, and Caleb Strand.
May & June 2016
By Jennie MacFarland
There is considerable evidence that the ecological influence of tropical Mexico has grown in Southeast Arizona over the past century. Range expansion for the Elegant Trogon is part of this story. To further our understanding of the distribution and abundance of Elegant Trogons, organized surveys were expanded to six mountain ranges in 2016. Some 137 individuals were detected during these surveys.
The Huachuca Mountains had the highest number of trogons in Southeast Arizona this year, with 41 total birds comprised of 27 males, 12 females and 3 of unknown gender. This was the highest number of trogons ever documented in the Huachucas using this type of census survey. The Chiricahua Mountains had 11 individual Elegant Trogons (8 males, 3 females), similar to the results of the past few years. In the 1990s there were usually about 20 trogons in the Chiricahuas, with the downturn almost certainly due to habitat changes caused by the Horseshoe Two fire in 2011.
The Santa Rita Mountains are a well-known destination for Elegant Trogon viewing and 26 (6 pairs, 9 males, 1 unknown) were documented in this year’s survey. The Atascosa Mountain range is a birding gem that is vastly under-birded, and 25 Elegant Trogons (20 males, 5 females) were found there. The Patagonia Mountains again had a surprisingly high number of 30 trogons (9 pairs, 11 males, 1 unknown), many of which were found in oak-lined drainages without sycamores.
For the first time ever, this survey effort included the Galiuro Mountains due to a report last year of trogons being present in Rattlesnake Canyon. Aravaipa Creek and Oak Grove Canyon were searched with no trogons found, but 4 trogons (1 pair, 2 males) were detected in Rattlesnake Canyon. This exciting development illustrates that we have much more to learn about these amazing and charismatic birds.
Huge thanks to the many volunteers who helped with this survey effort.
2-24 Aug 2016
Yellow-billed Cuckoo surveys,
Coronado National Forest
Contact: Jennie MacFarland
21-23 Oct 2016
AZFO Annual Meeting, Yuma
(see website for details)
     Kurt Radamaker
     Cave Creek AZ
Vice President
     Jennifer MacFarland
     Tucson AZ
Membership Secretary
     Kurt Licence
     Phoenix AZ
Recording Secretary
     Carol Beardmore
     Phoenix AZ
     Doug Jenness
     Catalina AZ
Board Members
     Andy Bridges
     Petrified Forest Natl Park AZ
     Anne Pellegrini
     Flagstaff AZ
     Walter Thurber
     Scottsdale AZ
Appointed Board Member
     Pierre Deviche
     Phoenix AZ
The Journal of Arizona Ornithology
     Pierre Deviche, Editor
     Phoenix AZ
     Sabine Deviche, Design
     Liège BE
     Walter Thurber, Editor
     Scottsdale AZ
     Andy Bridges, Design
     Petrified Forest Natl Park AZ
Field Expeditions
     Felipe Guerrero, Chair
     Prescott AZ
Photo Documentation
     Lauren Harter, Co-Editor
     Lake Havasu City AZ
     David Vander Pluym, Co-Editor
     Lake Havasu City AZ
     Kurt Radamaker, Developer
     Cave Creek AZ
     Edwin Juarez, Support
     Phoenix AZ
Copyright © 2016 Arizona Field Ornithologists. All rights reserved.

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