Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Jack Burden Road

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Gray Hawk and riparian/desert species

Elevation: 2000'

Habitat:  Riparian, mesquite bosque, desert

Overall Birding Rating: 3

Difficulty: 1 (Easy)

Birding Type: Simple Walking, Roadside Birding

Facilities:  None

Fees/Ownership:  None/Wickenburg

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Wickenburg/ 53 miles northwest of Phoenix

Getting there:  Accessed in Wickenburg just east of local McDonald's

Overview:  Jack Burden Road is a perfect place to visit before the Hassayampa River Preserve opens if birding in the Wickenburg area, or it may just be a productive place to bird in general.  If one is wanting to start their day earlier than when the Hassayampa River Preserve opens up to the public, this road is a good location to bird along.  Jack Burden is accessed just east of the Wickenburg McDonald's, and the birdable section of this road is along the first 1.5 miles.  The road does pass through private property throughout it's duration, including a ranch.  Where the ranch is, there are trees along the road that are good to check in season for migrants.  The real draw of this area comes after traveling 1.2 miles on the road.  At this point, turn west onto a dirt road, which is called Blue Tank Trail (according to overview maps).  Pull into this road, park, or continue north.  Do be very careful when driving on this road, because there is a lot of loose sand in places.  Blue Tank Trail goes out into areas that have very productive birding.  The habitat consists of cottonwood and willow riparian stands, and extensive mesquite bosques.  There are even two water basins here, which have been full of water at times.  When full, these basins have attracted waterfowl in high numbers.  Sadly, they aren't full often.  The mesquite bosques and willow/cottonwood riparian stands are worth checking at anytime of the year.  Desert habitat surrounds this area too, where a couple hours worth of birding will result in a good variety of riparian and desert species.

Off of the Blue Tank pull off section, look for nesting Gray and Cooper's Hawks and any riparian species that may nest at the neighboring Hassayampa River Preserve.  The surrounding mesquite bosque is excellent for viewing Vermilion Flycatcher, Phainopepla, Bell's Vireo, and Lucy's Warbler. 

Birding Tip:  As mentioned above, this is a great place to bird around a visit to the Hassayampa River Preserve.  The best birding is done at the Blue Tank pull off, where the riparian stands and mesquite bosques are worth birding at anytime of the year.  Birding along the main Jack Burden Road is highly suggestive during migration, especially the taller trees that border the ranches that are roadside.

Directions:  The town of Wickenburg is reached by taking the US 60 northwest of Phoenix for about 50 miles.  To find Jack Burden Road, continue through town until the McDonald's is reached on the north side of the 60.  This point is just east of the US 60 and 93 intersection.  Jack Burden Road is barely east of the McDonald's.  Turn north on Jack Burden Road and continue to proceed north, birding along the road.  The pull off to Blue Tank is found after traveling north for 1.2 miles on Jack Burden Road.  Once getting to that intersection, head west on the dirt road and park.  Explore the area north for the best birding results.  Be very careful of loose sand if traveling more of the dirt roads.


Jack Burden Road Maps


Scenes and Sights from Jack Burden Road:

Blue Tank pull-off

Birdlife of Jack Burden Road:

Gray Hawk

Bell's Vireo

Lucy's Warbler

Vermilion Flycatcher

Special thanks to Chrissy Smith for telling me about this location and showing it to me for the first time.

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