Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Phoenix Mountains Preserve (North Side)

Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Desert species

Elevation: 1400'

Habitat:  Lower Sonoran Desert

Overall Birding Rating: 4

Difficulty: 1-4 (Easy to More Difficult)

Birding Type: Easy to Difficult Hiking

Facilities:  Parking

Fees/Ownership:  None/City of Phoenix

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Paradise Valley/ 9 miles northeast of Phoenix

Getting there:  Two parking areas of the park are easy to get to from Brown Rd.

Overview: The many trails throughout the Phoenix Mountains Preserve give birders great birding opportunities, especially with birdlife of the desert.  Walk through the sonoran desert here, as well as desert washes, cliffs and small canyons.  This is the north end of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, which is more quiet and much less populated then the south end at Squaw Peak.

While birding in the desert here at the Phoenix Mountains Preserve, expect to see our regular desert species such as Gambel's Quail, Turkey Vulture, Cooper's, Harris's, and Red-tailed Hawks; Prairie Falcon, White-winged, Mourning, and Inca Doves; Greater Roadrunner, Great Horned Owl, White-throated Swift, Costa's and Anna's Hummingbirds, Gila and Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Gilded Flickers, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Verdin, Cactus and Rock Wrens, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Northern Mockingbird, Curve-billed Thrasher, Phainopepla, Abert's Towhee, and Black-throated Sparrow.

Migration and winter can have very interesting birding here, particularly in the washes with big paloverde trees.  By hitting the spots just right in the washes in spring and fall migrations, numerous warblers may be observed that have included Wilson's, Orange-crowned, Nashville, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Black-throated Gray, and Townsend's Warblers as well as Plumbeous and Warbling Vireos, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Western Tanager.  Keep an eye out for any migrants in these washes for that matter.  Sage Thrashers can often be found as well.  The washes also bring American Robins and Hermit Thrushes on occasion.  Wintering and migrating sparrow/sparrow like birds will include Green-tailed Towhee, Chipping, Brewer's, Lincoln's and White-crowned Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos. 

Birding tip:  A visit in the spring or fall migration in the early morning will likely give the birder a good chance of seeing migrants as well as a good mix of our desert species.  Walk through the washes as well as the desert during the hike.

Directions:  If on the freeway, SR 51, take the 32nd Street exit south 0.5 miles on 32nd St. until a dead end is reached.  Here there is access to the many trails of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve.  Any trail here is worth exploring.  See the Phoenix Mountains Preserve Maps page on the "pages" section on this page for more parking spots and access points, which are all good for access to the preserve.


Phoenix Mountains Preserve Maps


Scenes and Sights from the Phoenix Mountains Preserve:


Birdlife of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve:

Sage Thrasher

Long-eared Owl


Back to Area 6-Peoria, Glendale, and North Phoenix

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