House Finch, Pyrrhuloxia, and Northern Cardinal (left to right). Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Photo: Nate Chappell/Audubon Photography Awards

Birds

At the convergence of a dizzying array of habitat types, the American southwest is a region like no other. Between Arizona and New Mexico, the region boasts the continent’s four major deserts (the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, Mojave, and Great Basin), the southern extent of the Colorado Plateau and the Rocky Mountains, the northern tip of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidentalis, the northern reaches of the Colorado River delta, other valuable western rivers like the Gila, Rio Grande, San Pedro, and others, the far eastern edge of the Great Plains, and a diversity in elevation that allows for everything from low, sandy desert to montane forests and subalpine tundra.

With this diversity in habitat comes a diversity of birds – nearly 600 species have been documented between the two states, roughly 200 of which are considered rarities or vagrants. However, it also comes with a diversity of threats. Climate change, aridification, wildfire, human development, introduced species, poor land and resource management, and more are all putting strain on southwestern habitats and the birds (and people) that call them home.

Check out the links below to learn more about the Southwest’s birds: specialty and priority species, tips and resources to help guide your birding adventures, and opportunities to get involved in region-wide conservation efforts.

A Curve-billed Thrasher, a brownish-gray bird with a long tail, long, curved bill, and orange eye perches against a tree trunk.

Curve-billed Thrasher. Photo: Greg Rogers/Audubon Photography Awards.

A packed dirt trail stretches evenly through a lush desert landscape on a clear, sunny day.

Photo: Corey Lycopolus/Audubon

A Lesser Goldfinch, a small, black and yellow bird, perches on a bare branch against a snowy backdrop.

Lesser Goldfinch Photo: Layne Naylor/Audubon Photography Awards.

An adult Sandhill Crane, a large, long-legged and long-necked bird with rusty gray plumage and a red cap, soars over shallow water.

Sandhill Crane. Photo: Ann Kramer/Audubon Photography Awards.

A Spotted Towhee, a Black, white, and rufous-orange bird with a sparrow-like shape, perches with tail fanned.

Spotted Towhee Photo: Evan Barrientos.

How to Help Birds

Community Science
Get Involved

Community Science

Engage in community science by joining a bird count, survey, or other opportunity.

Read more

Plants for Birds
Bird-Friendly Communities

Plants for Birds

Transform your landscape into valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.

Read more

Audubon Chapters
Get Involved

Audubon Chapters

The Grassroots Strength of the Audubon Network

Read more

Audubon Southwest's Bird Conservation Efforts

Birds in the News

Bird of the Month: Azure Bluebird (Sialia sialis fulva)
Birds

Bird of the Month: Azure Bluebird (Sialia sialis fulva)

The charismatic bird of the Sonoran sky islands.

The Gila River West of Phoenix
Conservation

The Gila River West of Phoenix

How a collaboration including Audubon and partners is revitalizing this important river corridor

Education Intern Contributes to Audubon Southwest Conservation Work
News

Education Intern Contributes to Audubon Southwest Conservation Work

Plans to continue protecting native wildlife and nature habitats

Bird of the Month: Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
News

Bird of the Month: Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)

Viewing nature through my sketchbooks

Connecting with birds, nature, and community
News

Connecting with birds, nature, and community

Each year, we engage thousands of people and connect them with the outdoors and natural world, helping them to appreciate their role and responsibility within it

Vote for Southwest Bird of the Year 2024
News

Vote for Southwest Bird of the Year 2024

Help us choose the 2024 Bird of the Year from three candidates, each representing one of our centers and a different habitat type.

Bird of the Month: Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)
News

Bird of the Month: Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni)

Swainson’s Hawk is one of those birds that can catch your attention when hundreds fill the sky overhead, mixed with migrating Redtail Hawks and an occasional Golden Eagle

El nuevo jardín de polinizadores del Río Salado proporciona un hogar para que prosperan las abejas, las mariposas y los pájaros
Native Plants For Native Birds

El nuevo jardín de polinizadores del Río Salado proporciona un hogar para que prosperan las abejas, las mariposas y los pájaros

Las asociaciones y la subvención para la restauración ecológica unen a la comunidad para embellecer el lugar

New Rio Salado Pollinator Garden provides a home for bees, butterflies, and birds to flourish
Native Plants For Native Birds

New Rio Salado Pollinator Garden provides a home for bees, butterflies, and birds to flourish

Partnerships and ecological restoration grant brings community together to beautify grounds

Hands on STEAM learning at Rio Salado
News

Hands on STEAM learning at Rio Salado

Plus three free activities!

How you can help, right now