Birds of many feathers descend upon Pima County’s riparian project | Environment
For those urban dwellers interested in ‘birding’ here is the thing for you, a chance to see several unique birds in a city setting. Not many residents know about Pima County’s very own bird watching urban headquarters, in one of the county’s environmental restoration projects in the Kino Sports Complex.
Fall migration has yet to taper off completely, and it is not unusual for watchers to see a great blue heron or great egrets at the Kino Sports Complex.
This 141 acre project is located north of Ajo Way, and allows for many city dwellers to view wildlife in a more natural setting. There are 28 acres of riparian vegetation and open water, 21 acres of native grassland, flood control features and a recreational path that surrounds the basin. All this land provides a resting place for migrating birds, whose fall journeys take them to some pretty far off places. The land is not just for the ‘out of town’ feathered friends, but several locals call it home as well.
Some of the standard animal residents include ducks, and grebes, who visit in the winter. Songbirds stay for the spring weather, while many nesting birds stick around for the warm summer weather.
Past winters at the wetlands have seen species like the Hooded Mergansers (a flashy diving duck), the Common Mergansers and Buffelheads using it as a home base, according to Pima County Environmental planning manager Carla Danforth.
The best time to see all the wildlife is usually from after sunrise to mid-morning, Danforth suggested, and then visit again in the afternoon just before the sun sets.
Birdwatchers are welcomed around the perimeter trail, a paved multi-purpose path, as long as they do not mind sharing the lane with walkers, bikers, joggers and fellow wildlife watchers. There are however no recorded bird calls permitted.