Introduction

Since Arizona is one of the premier birding locations in the US, there is an abundance of books focused on Arizona birds and birding locations.

Here's a look at the books in my collection. There's no guarantee that they are the most recent edition. If you go shopping for any of them you'll want the latest, so don't be concerned if what you find has a different cover or later date than what I show here.

I've tried to include sources for most of these, but I'm not in the business of selling books. Many of these are carried in the gift shops of places birders visit in Arizona such as Boyce Thompson Arboretum, the San Pedro House in Sierra Vista, and The Nature Conservancy at Ramsey Canyon or Hassayampa. I always check the shelves when I find a new place like this. Tucson Audubon has a very nice store that's worth a visit if you're around Tucson. There's a well stocked store in Patagonia as well. The Maricopa Audubon Society has a large selection of books available at their monthly meetings. Although I don't mention these places in each of the entries on these pages they are all possible sources deserving of birder patronage.

A book I'd like to have is Birding on the Navajo Reservation, but it was self published and is long out of print. I even contacted the author (who now lives outside AZ) trying to find a copy but couldn't. So, if you find this book available anywhere please let me know!

If you know of other books on AZ birds and birding locations that I haven't included I'd appreciate an email message providing details.

Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas

Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas, Edited by Troy E. Corman and Cathryn Wise-Gervais, University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

A massive book - 636 pages and weighing several pounds - this has been long-awaited by Arizona birders.

Species accounts make up the majority of this book, but there's also information about the breeding bird project, AZ geography, climate, and habitats, plus an extensive bibliography of cited works.

Species accounts each get two facing pages to give adequate coverage to habitat, breeding, and distribtion and status information. A large map shows atlas blocks with breeding status. Two charts plus a color photo complete each species account.

A must have for any serious Arizona birder. Available from the University of New Mexico Press.


The Birds of Arizona

The Birds of Arizona, Allan Phillips, Joe Marshall, and Gale Monson, University of Arizona Press, 1964.

Although dated, this remains an essential book for information about the status and seasonal distribution of birds in Arizona. The text covers all races of each species known to have occurred in AZ as of the date of publication. Any specimens are discussed. Date and place of observation are given for all rarities. Maps included.

Long out-of-print, copies can still be found in used book shops, by internet searches, and occasionally are offered for sale on the AZ listserv. A must have for any serious Arizona birder.

A Birder's Guide to Southeastern Arizona

A Birder's Guide to Southeastern Arizona, Richard Cachor Taylor, American Birding Association, 1995. There's a 2005 edition now (and maybe even a newer one by now), so don't be surprised by a different cover.

The ABA/Lane guide series is well known to birders everywhere, and Jim Lane's very first guide covered southeastern AZ. Anybody planning a trip to the part of AZ generally south and east of Tucson is well advised to have the latest copy of this book that contains descriptions of and directions to the most productive areas. Detailed maps are provided. Extensive bar charts at the back show the abundance and chances of seeing each species by month. There's even a handy point-to-point mileage guide.

Additional features include detailed information on regional specialties, and a listing of other wildlife that might be encountered.

Weaknesses of the book (and the series) for me are that the narrative often gets too "chatty," which I sometimes find annoying, and the book assumes that users will be following a specific route. This loop approach is fine for people making their first visit to Arizona, but makes it more difficult for resident birders to find information about any individual site.

Available from the American Birding Association and from Tucson Audubon Society.

Davis and Russell's Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona

Davis and Russell's Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, Tucson Audubon Society, 1999.

Quite similar in content and coverage to the ABA/Lane guide. Less chatty, and not based on presumed tour routes. Includes maps, bar charts, details of other fauna that may be encountered. Nice features include easily found elevation information for each location, and directions for getting there (I wish the later editions had retained the pale yellow highlighting feature that made finding these directions even easier).

As an Arizona resident, I probably use this guide more often than I do the ABA guide because I'm usually interested in a specific site rather than a loop tour.

Available from the ABA and from Tucson Audubon Society.

Birds of Phoenix and Maricopa County, Arizona

Birds of Phoenix and Maricopa County, Arizona, Janet Witzeman, Salome Demaree, and Eleanor Radke, Maricopa Audubon Society, 1997.

In the style of the Tucson Audubon Society guide, but covering the Phoenix metro area 100 miles north of Tucson. In addition to the expected location details are a Birding Calendar that offers suggestions for each month, Species Accounts and Bar Charts, and photos of regional rarities.

Available from the ABA, from Tucson Audubon Society, and in select area bookstores and nature shops around the Phoenix metro area.

"Birds-Eye" Guide to 101 Birding Sites (Phoenix)

"Birds-Eye" Guide to 101 Birding Sites (Phoenix), Michael J. Rupp, 2002.

A compact and very handy guide to major, minor, and obscure locations in the Phoenix area. Aerial photos of each location are annotated with street names, parking lots, etc. to make finding and covering a spot easy and convenient. The slim design makes this slip into a pocket for use along the trails. An information panel is provided for each site with details on elevation, ownership, entry fees, etc.

The compact nature precludes lots of detail about specific birds at each location, or seasonal bar charts. A list of county birds is provided without seasonal data.

I loaned my copy to an acquaintance and haven't seen it since. One person I know who does use it commented that many of the places covered in this book have already been lost to the expanding developments around Phoenix.

Available from the author's web site, the Boyce Thompson Arboretum store, and some bookstores around Phoenix.

A Birder's Guide to Metropolitan Areas of North America

A Birder's Guide to Metropolitan Areas of North America, Paul Lehman (editor), American Birding Association, 2001.

Designed primarily for the birder who visits a number of metro areas on business, this guide provides information on 33 major locations in the US and Canada. Each chapter has one or more maps and relevant information about birding in the area covered.

Of interest to the birder visiting Arizona is a chapter on Phoenix that I wrote with the help of expert local birders.

Available from the ABA.

Arizona and its Bird Life

Arizona and its Bird Life, Herbert Brandt. The Bird Research Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio, 1951.

I only became aware of this massive, privately published, book in June of 2010 when someone who had visited this page on my web site asked me why I hadn't included it. My copy arrived only yesterday from AbeBooks.com and I look forward to poking around in it.

It appears to be a collection of field accounts of visits to locations around southeast Arizona, covering much the same territory as the two very popular site guides to SE AZ. It would be nice if the book covered the entire state as the title promises, but I don't expect it to do so after a preliminary look.

Most of the locations are familiar to anyone who has birded SE AZ, so don't expect any revelations about new places to bird here. The real pleasure of this book is reading about AZ 60 years ago, and comparing the accounts to those same places today.

The Raptors of Arizona

The Raptors of Arizona, Richard L. Glinski (editor), University of Arizona Press, 1998. This expensive book contains detailed essays from 27 experts on 42 species of hawks, owls, and vultures that occur or have occurred in AZ. Distribution maps are provided for each entry. Splendid full page color paintings by Richard Sloan showing each bird in appropriate habitat are included.

AZ resident birders will find this interesting and informative.

Available in select local bookstores.

Birds of the Lower Colorado River Valley

Birds of the Lower Colorado River Valley, Kenneth V. Rosenberg, Robert D. Ohmart, William C. Hunter, and Bertin W. Anderson, University of Arizona Press, 1991.

A thorough treatment of birds seen along the 200 mile stretch of the Colorado River that separates AZ from California. A detailed strip map fills eleven pages, with numbered sites along the river referenced to details in the text. Includes seasonal bar charts, species accounts, and photos of area rarities.

Expensive but informative, and worth study for anyone venturing to Arizona's "west coast."

The Western Bird Watcher

The Western Bird Watcher, Kevin J. Zimmer, Prentice-Hall, 1985.

Not a site guide, nor specifically about Arizona. But, a valuable collection of field identification fine points focusing on problematic birds of the American West. This book should be in every western birder's library, and anyone visiting Arizona for the first time would do well to study it in advance to minimize common misidentification problems. Unfortunately, this book has been long out-of-print. I occasionally stumble on a copy in bookstores, but it would be easier to employ a book-finding agent.

Birding in the American West, also by Kevin J. Zimmer, from Comstock Publishing Associates, 2000, is the book that replaces the one I have. I haven't had a chance to study it, but based on the 1985 version I'd recommend the new one without hesitation.

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southwestern States

National Audubon Society Field Guide to the Southwestern States, Peter Alden and Peter Freiderici, Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

A guide to the natural world of Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Nevada. I ignore the 70+ pages of birds (since any dedicated field guide for birds has significanty better coverage) and use it instead for other things: snakes and lizards, wild flowers, and mammals. It's not complete in any area, but a compact and handy overview to lots of stuff I find of interest while I'm out birding.

Desert Critters - Plants and Animals of the Southwest

Desert Critters - Plants and Animals of the Southwest, Millie Miller and Cyndi Nelson, Johnson Books, 1996. This unassuming little booklet, only 64 small pages long, packs a surprising amount of information about desert flora and fauna. And, it's full of nice artwork! We have many other booklets in this series (Pocket Nature Guides) and enjoy them all.

Hummers - Hummingbirds of North America

Hummers - Hummingbirds of North America, Millie Miller and Cyndi Nelson, Johnson Books, 1987.

Another unassuming little booklet, about the same length as the Desert Critters but with unnumbered pages, it also contains a lot of information. The artwork is also excellent. It won't replace Sheri Williamson's field guide, or Steve Howell's, but it is worth adding to your library or would make a nice gift.

If you can't find these books locally, try writing to Johnson Books at 1880 So. 57th Ct., Boulder, CO, 80301. Telephone: 303.443.9766

Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Arizona

Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Arizona, Gale Monson and Allan R. Phillips, University of Arizona Press, 1981.

I don't know if this is still in print, but if you stumble on one in any bookstore I suggest you pick it up. It's a companion to The Birds of Arizona, and a lot more portable.

You'll need to get used to scientific names - each entry gives that first (in bold), before showing the common English name. At least there are Family headings with common names easy to see that help navigating through the book.

Grand Canyon Birds

Grand Canyon Birds, Bryan T. Brown, Steven W. Carothers, and R. Roy Johnson, University of Arizona Press, 1987.

A combination of history, geology, and ornithology covering the Grand Canyon top to bottom. Some nice pen and ink artwork scattered throughout as well.

I don't know if this is still in print, but you might find it in local bookstores.

Birds of the Grand Canyon Region

Birds of the Grand Canyon Region, An Annotated Checklist, Bryan T. Brown, Steven W. Carothers, Lois T. Haight, R. Roy Johnson, and Meribeth M. Riffey, Grand Canyon Natural History Association, 1984.

I assume this monograph is the basis for the previous entry in this list - it has essentially the same authors and provides species accounts for the same area. What I find of most value is the set of bar charts showing seasonal occurrences. There's also an extensive bibliography (so much to read; so little time).

I bought mine for $1 at a local Audubon chapter meeting; try contacting the publisher if you really want your own copy.

A Guide to Southern Arizona Bird Nests and Eggs

A Guide to Southern Arizona Bird Nests and Eggs, Volume 1 Desert Areas, Pinau Merlin, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press, Tucson, AZ, 2001.

A little strange, but interesting. Covers 54 nests, grouped by Ground Nests, Cup Nests, Adherent Nests, Pendant Nests, Crevice/Ledge Nests, Platform Nests, Cavity Nests, and Borrowers. Each entry describes a nest, by Shape and Material, Habitat and Location, and Eggs and Nesting, then provides the name of the probable species. It also gives natural history, diet and feeding information, and similar nests. There's a two page bar chart showing nesting periods for all covered species (something I've looked for elsewhere but not found so conveniently displayed), three pages of color paintings of eggs, some color photos, nice pen and ink drawings, and a sprinkling of random facts.

Check the museum web site for availability and for other potentially useful books in the series.


Arizona Wetlands and Waterfowl

Arizona Wetlands and Waterfowl, David E. Brown, University of Arizona Press, 1985.

Written primarily for hunters, there is still good information for birders. Only 50 pages are devoted to species accounts; 20+ pages cover locations throughout the state; the rest of the book is divided up into History, Waterfowl Biology, Waterfowl Management, and References. There's also a section of full page color paintings, some good black-and-white line drawings, and some black-and-white photos of marginal quality.

Included primarily for completeness.

Birding Sedona and the Verde Valley

Birding Sedona and the Verde Valley, Virginia Gilmore, Northern Arizona Audubon Society, 1999.

There's lots more to birding in AZ than Mexican species along the southern border, and this slim guide helps fill an information void. Seven pages in the front of this booklet list all species seen in the area covered, and give location and date information for each. There are almost 50 pages of small but readable type devoted to site descriptions. Good maps are also provided. Any birder working on a state list, or summering away from the heat of the Phoenix metro area, should have this useful book.

Available directly from the Northern Arizona Audubon Society.

Arizona Game Birds

Arizona Game Birds, David E. Brown, University of Arizona Press, 1989.

Another book targeted primarily at hunters, but with some information of value to birders.

Species covered (from the Table of Contents): Chukar, Pheasant, Blue Grouse, Merriam's Wild Turkey, Mearn's (Montezuma) Quail, Masked Bobwhite, Scaled Quail, Gambel's Quail, California Quail, Sandhill Crane, Band-tailed Pigeon, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove.

Of value to birders for extensive life histories and range information.

Birding the Flagstaff Area

Birding the Flagstaff Area, Frank and Linda Brandt, Northern Arizona Audubon Society, 2001.

This book covers the Flagstaff area plus the Grand Canyon South Rim, Navajo and Hopi Lands. As such it can help fill the gap of the long out-of-print book Birding the Navajo Reservation by Brad Jacobs. Includes maps and a checklist of birds with abundance and status codes. An excellent resource for any birder visiting the High Country.

Purchase directly from Northern Arizona Audubon Society.

Birding in and around Prescott and the Verde Valley

Birding in and around Prescott and the Verde Valley, Kathy Wingert, The Left Hand Press, 996.

I've included this in the interests of completeness. It includes descriptions of and directions to a number of locations in and around Prescott and the Verde Valley, as promised, but has no maps. Species lists are provided for each location, but are divided into groups of Year Round, Summer, Winter, and Migration. Even worse, within each grouping the species are listed alphabetically by last name, making it very difficult to see what birds might be at any location. I'm not sure this adds much useful information for anyone who has the Sedona and Flagstaff guides.


Trogons of the Arizona Borderlands

Trogons of the Arizona Borderlands, Richard Cachor Taylor, Treasure Chest Publications, 1994.

A thorough study of both Elegant Trogon and Eared Quetzal (formerly Eared Trogon) in Arizona up until the date of publication. Worthwhile reading for anyone interested in these southern Arizona specialties.

I see this at times in local bookstores around Phoenix, and it might be available from the ABA web site and local Audubon chapters throughout AZ.

Location Checklist to the Birds of the Chiricahua Mountains

Location Checklist to the Birds of the Chiricahua Mountains, Richard Cachor Taylor, Borderland Productions, 1993.

Lots of information crammed into a thin booklet. An overview on birding in the area, 2 maps (hard to read), 21 packed pages of data on Species, Status, Habitat, and Locations, 8 pages covering the Locations, and 2 bonus pages listing other fauna of the area. 36 pages.

Try the Tucson Audubon Bookshop, or write to Borderland Productions at 3550 W. Calle Padilla, Tucson, AZ 85745.

Location Checklist to the Birds of the Huachuca Mountains and the Upper San Pedro River

Location Checklist to the Birds of the Huachuca Mountains and the Upper San Pedro River, Richard Cachor Taylor, Borderland Productions, 1995.

Lots of information following the plan of the Chiricahua Mountains booklet. 48 pages.

Try the Tucson Audubon Bookshop, or write to Borderland Productions at 3550 W. Calle Padilla, Tucson, AZ 85745.

Checklist to the Birds of Southeastern Arizona

Checklist to the Birds of Southeastern Arizona, Richard Cachor Taylor, Borderland Productions, 1994.

A basic checklist using only common names (I'd like scientific names included as well), with very brief mention of seasonal status.

Try the Tucson Audubon Bookshop, or write to Borderland Productions at 3550 W. Calle Padilla, Tucson, AZ 85745.

An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

An Annotated Checklist of the Birds of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona, Kathleen D. Groschupf, Bryan T. Brown, and R. Roy Johnson, Southwest Parks and Monuments Association, 1988.

An introduction on the park, a couple of maps, and a one page description of habitat are followed by 12 pages of species accounts and 14 pages of seasonal abundance bar charts.

Probably still available in the visitor center shop at Organ Pipe.

Birds of Northern Black Mesa, Navajo County, Arizona

Birds of Northern Black Mesa, Navajo County, Arizona, Charles T. LaRue, reprinted from the Great Basin Naturalist, 1994.

A thorough monograph and scholarly study of the birds of this area on the Navajo Reservation. I'm not sure where this could be found; my copy came from a local Aududon meeting.

Arizona Wildlife Viewing Guide

Arizona Wildlife Viewing Guide, John N. Carr, Falcon Press, 1992.

Ninty locations scattered throughout Arizona are covered, with a brief description, viewing information, directions, ownership, size, and closest town listed. Navajo, Hopi, and Apache lands are not included. Although very general in nature, it can be useful to birders by providing some ideas of places worth visiting.

Available in most bookstores. There's likely a newer edition available by now.

Birdfinding in Forty National Forests and Grasslands

Birdfinding in Forty National Forests and Grasslands, American Birding Association, 1994.

Of interest to AZ birders for two sections: Coconino and Corondo. But no longer of much value as the Coronado National Forest area is better covered in both guides to Southeastern Arizona, and the Coconino area is better covered in the Flagstaff area guide.

Birds of Prey on the Colorado Plateau

Birds of Prey on the Colorado Plateau, Steven W. Carothers and Dorothy A. House, Museum of Northern Arizona, 1992.

Included mostly for completeness, this is a general treatment of raptors more than a region specific site guide.

Birding Arizona (Not Recommended)

Birding Arizona, Bill McMillion, Falcon Press, 1995.

Warning: This is the worst book I've ever seen on the subject. Full of incorrect information - look at the range maps for example. "Covers" 45 locations throughout AZ. Mediocre photos.

Fortunately, Falcon Press has apparently withdrawn the book from the marketplace, but I still see it on library shelves. If you really want to own a copy you'll have to search hard in out-of-the-way places.