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Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area

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Birding at Rio Salado
Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area
© Judy Hedding

More than 200 species of birds have been recognized here. I say recognized, and not just seen, because an experienced birder can also distinguish the sounds that birds make. You can view and print this Rio Salado bird checklist.

Experienced birders can always visit the riparian corridor on their own. I need someone to point me in the right direction and then tell me what I'm seeing, so, if you are like me, the monthly guided Bird Walk is the answer. The Bird Walk covers between one and two miles of the riparian area at a leisurely pace. On the day that I participated in the walk, the birds that the group saw (or heard) included the osprey, sharp-shinned hawk, ash-throated flycatcher, neotropic cormorant, double-crested cormorant and the pied-billed grebe. Our guide noted more than 30 species that morning.

The guide for our Bird Walk, Tom Gaskill, made the morning very enjoyable. He'll be able to quickly judge the experience level of his group. Don't worry if you are a beginner at birding -- no pressure here. He'll answer the most basic of questions and make it an entertaining and educational experience. Bring a hat, water, binoculars, and a field guide to birds, if you have one. There is a charge for this program.

From Tom Gaskill: "The birds on page three are lovely male house finches. Here's one of my favorite bits of trivia about house finches. The color of the males has some regional variation, but it's more controlled by the amount of carotenoids in their diet when they're molting. The one on the left is quite orange and doesn't have a lot of color. The one on the right is rich red. He listened to his mother and ate his carrots."

Rio Salado Habitat Restoration Area Factoid: Tom's favorite field guide for our region is "A Field Guide to Western Birds" (Compare Prices).

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