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My Destinations Chat


Birding is the Word and Worthy of the Spotlight!

October 11, 2011

Quietly dreaming of crossing off more items each year, we’ve all got a bucket list. Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson have big buckets to fill as stars of The Big Year, a film premiering October 14, 2011. Witness the trials and tribulations of the trio as they compete in a prestigious bird watching tournament, attempting to spot the rarest birds in North America. Portraying avid birders bound and determined to sight and tally the best of the bird species, the comedians are sure to bring barrels of laughs to the big screen and competitive bird watching to the red carpet!

Always camera ready, the bird is the word, and bird watching is worthy of the spotlight. Like true avid birders, the cast and crew of The Big Year found themselves in various exotic locations, peacefully, patiently, pursuing their next magic moment, waiting for it to take flight. The most exciting of a bird watchers’ moments, occurs during a Rare Bird Alert. The North American Rare Bird Alert (NARBA) is a subscription reporting service on rare birds occurring in the continental United States, Alaska, and Canada. They define rare birds as birds who are infrequent visitors, or birds that are difficult to find due to their habits or duration of stay. This served as inspiration for a song and the title of Steve Martin’s latest bluegrass album, Rare Bird Alert.

Amazing, abundant, and awesome, are the birds in the Grand Canyon State of Arizona. Bring your binoculars, an identification book, and have the NARBA hotline on speed dial, while in hot pursuit of your own Rare Arizona Bird Alert. Arizona is an exceptional destination, ranking as a top revenue generator in the Mountain States for wildlife watching. Diverse wildlife and spectacular scenery make Arizona a premier destination for birders and nature enthusiasts.

Just over an hour south of Tucson nestled right between Kartchner Caverns, Tombstone, Bisbee, and Arizona’s wine country discover Sierra Vista, the hummingbird capital of the United States. Located in the Huachuca Mountains of southeastern Arizona, the live oak foliage canopy, in Ramsey Canyon, is internationally renowned among birders. Here fifteen species of hummingbirds are known as well as dozens of species whose geographical ranges lie also in Mexico. This 380 acre property provides excellent birding opportunity year round and is home to the Nature Conservancy’s Preserve and the Arizona Folklore Preserve. The steep rise of the mountains from the surrounding arid grasslands, create “sky islands,” which harbor tremendous habitat diversity. Be sure to see Madera Canyon, and the San Pedro Riparian Conservation Area and the birds that call them home.

Joining the snowbirds, nearly 400 species of birds make Yuma, Arizona a seasonal stop or year round home. West Wetlands and Gateway parks and the East Wetlands restoration area provide wonderful wildlife watching. Kofa and Cibola national wildlife refuges and Mittry lake offer thousands of acres of diverse desert, mountain and riparian habitat to discover.

Oak Creek Canyon among red rocks of Sedona, offers a bird watchers paradise and desert oasis in a beautiful riparian area. See four species of hummingbirds, the Anna’s, the rufous broad-tailed and black-chinned. Orioles, tanagers, woodpeckers and the delightful sounds of the Gambel’s Quail make for a memorable Sedona retreat.

Awaken your inner birder. Inspire yourself as you see the excitement of a Rare Bird Alert. Imagine experiencing an adventure all your own while watching The Big Year. The surprising variety of elevation, scenery, and natural life across Arizona make it an outstanding destination for birding and watchable wildlife. Enjoy the natural beauty of the desert, the mountain landscapes, lush pine forests and the fascinating flora and fauna which make the Grand Canyon State so vibrant. Time to revamp the bucket list; Add an Arizona visit to enjoy your biggest year yet!



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