One of Sedona’s best kept secrets is that it’s a fantastic place to bird-watch throughout the year. Sedona and the surrounding areas of Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Cornville, Cottonwood, Page Springs and Jerome offer an ideal climate and habitat for nearly 300 species of birds. The Northern Arizona Audubon Society reports that on a typical birding day in May, over 130 species of birds are typically seen in the area. April through September is the time to spot the area’s neotropical migrants (birds that breed in North America during the spring and early summer and migrate to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America for the winter). From the Mexican Jay and Zone-tailed Hawk, to the Elf Owl and Costa’s Hummingbird, the Sedona area offers expert and non-expert ornithologists a unique and diverse bird-watching experience.
Luxury boutique hotel, El Portal in Sedona offers the perfect place to stay when planning a bird-watching trip in Arizona. The Sedona hotel is conveniently located within walking distance to Oak Creek and Mia’s Place Wildlife Habitat, a short drive to Red Rock State Park, and just over an hour’s scenic drive from a variety of excellent bird-watching locations.
The park-like setting of Mia’s Place Wildlife Habitat is a wonderful opportunity for children or beginners to learn more about area birds. The habitat features bird baths and feeders, along with benches to just sit and watch the activity. A picturesque stream attracts waterfowl as well. The riparian area along Oak Creek is an area rich with year-round resident bird species, and the park also recommends stopping between Kisva Trail and Eagle’s Nest Trail by the irrigation ditch and ponds for great bird-watching. The Northern Arizona Audubon Society also recommends bird-watching at Lower Oak Creek in Page Springs and at one of the few fresh-water marshes in Arizona, Tavasci Marsh, which adjoins Tuzigoot National Monument and Dead Horse Ranch State Park.
Sedona’s Red Rock State Park is another nearby spot to learn about and observe a wide variety of birds. The park is a 286-acre preserve and environmental education center with breathtaking scenery of red rock and flowing water. Every Wednesday and Saturday guided bird walks “take off” at 8:00 am. These walks are led by area naturalists and are great for beginners and advanced bird enthusiasts alike. These walks are an exciting way to kick off your bird-watching trip. The park features a bird feeding area behind the Visitor Center, which is an excellent spot for taking photos, and birds can also be viewed from the roof of the Visitor Center.
The staff at El Portal is happy to help bird-loving guests take advantage of the best opportunities and observe birding ethics. Owner, Steve Segner, is an avid outdoorsman and animal-lover with an extensive knowledge of the area and its many trails and preserves. Talk with Steve while taking in El Portal’s incredible breakfast before you set out for the day.
The goal at El Portal is for guests to make themselves completely at home in the well-appointed hotel. Guests will appreciate the attention to detail in the turn of the century Southwestern design, as well as the fact that each beautifully designed suite is spacious, with all modern amenities. The pet friendly Sedona hotel has pet patios, so when you’re bird-watching, your pet is well cared for. When you’re not birding, El Portal is close to Tlaquepaque Arts and Crafts Village, wonderful for shopping and restaurants, or you can just relax in the private courtyard. For more information on bird-watching in the Sedona area and El Portal visit www. ElPortalSedona.com.