Southeastern Arizona is home to a unique geological phenomenon called the sky islands. Basically, there are several isolated mountain ranges throughout SE Arizona. The more notable ranges include the Chiricahua, Huachuca, and Santa Rita mountains. These ranges are also home to many unique birds of the United States that can only be found in SE Arizona. Some of these unique species can be found in SW New Mexico, and certain parts of Texas, as well, such as the varied bunting. Some are quite common here, while others are very rare and are not found every year. Through my travels and work here, I’ve been fortunate to see and even photograph some of the rare and endemic species. Most notable are two particularly rare birds that I saw at the Ramsey Canyon Preserve near Sierra Vista: the flame-colored tanager and tufted flycatcher. Birders from all over the country are traveling to see these two species, who both seem to be nesting in the canyon. Here are some ok pictures of them:
In addition to those species, I was able to find several others, including many lifers for me, such as the elegant trogon, thick-billed kingbird, varied bunting, Arizona woodpecker, magnificent hummingbird, northern beardless-tyrannulet, sulphur-bellied flycatcher, Mexican jay, red-faced warbler, Botteri’s sparrow, Montezuma’s quail, and scaled quail. Here are some pictures of these birds I’ve seen.