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Tommy J. DeBardeleben

Robbins Butte Wildlife Area


Fast Flight Facts

Target Species:  Wintering birds who favor agricultural habitats

Elevation: 830'

Habitat:  Lower Sonoran Desert dominated by saltbush and mesquite, as well as agricultural fields

Overall Birding Rating: 3

Difficulty: 1-3 (Easy to Moderate)

Birding Type: Easy to Moderate Hiking

Facilities:  Parking

Fees/Ownership:  None/Arizona Game and Fish Department

Closest Town or City/How far from Phoenix:  Buckeye /33.5 miles southwest of Phoenix

Getting there:  By short dirt road accessed just off of Highway 85


Overview:  The Robbins Butte Wildlife Area is a very productive birding area that is owned by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.  This area gives birders a lot of ground to explore.  Most of the habitat making up the Robbins Butte Wildlife Area is mesquite and saltbush desert.  In midst of the desert habitats, there are farmfields planted which are lined by mesquite trees.  Birding along the farmfield habitat will give birders better chances at seeing different species, especially in the winter months.  The Gila River is also close by and may offer good birding opportunities if hiking north.  Most of the area has to be hiked to access the different locations on dirt roads.

The better birding opportunities will present themselves obviously in the area where there are farmfields.  More birds will be seen, as the mix of the fields that are lined with mesquites are bordered by desert.  Raptors will highly favor the fields, which is a good place to observe Northern Harriers in high numbers.  Sparrows are also very abundant.  Keep an eye out for Lark Buntings, as well as Lark, Savannah, Sage, White-crowned and Vesper Sparrows in these areas, as well as any uncommon sparrows in midst of the flocks.  Abert's Towhees are abundant, and also look for a Green-tailed Towhee or two in the winter along the mesquites.  In winter also expect Western Bluebird, Loggerhead Shrike, Bewick's Wren, and maybe a Gray Flycatcher in the mesquites.  In the desert areas, listen and look for Ladder-backed and Gila Woodpeckers, Gilded Flicker, White-winged Dove, Phainopepla, Crissal Thrasher, and other common desert species.

Birding Tip:  As mentioned above, most of the area is closed to vehicle use and the access has to be by foot.  Birding near and around the farmfields will give the birder the best chance to see a lot of different species.

Directions:  Take the I-10 West (Pagago Freeway) to the Highway 85 exit.  Take Highway 85 south for 7.5 miles to the turnoff for the Robbins Butte Wildlife Area, which is on the west side of the highway (right turn).  On another note, the turnoff to Robbins Butte is just south of the bridge that crosses the Gila River while on Highway 85.

Pages:

Robbins Butte Wildlife Area Maps

Robbins Butte Wildlife Area eBird Data

 

Scenes and Sights from the Robbin's Butte Wildlife Area:

Trails at the Robbin's Butte Wildlife Area lead north to views of the Gila River..

 

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