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

Audubon Southwest Year in Review
News

Audubon Southwest Year in Review

Your support helped us achieve great things in 2023

Which Winter Bird Are YOU?
News

Which Winter Bird Are YOU?

Learn more about the Christmas Bird Count!

No Snake Left in the Cold
News

No Snake Left in the Cold

Conservation Workdays Make Their Way to the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch

Audubon Southwest Welcomes Juliana Gomez to our Team
About Us

Audubon Southwest Welcomes Juliana Gomez to our Team

Meet our new Senior Education Coordinator

Audubon Southwest's Bird of the Month
Birds

Audubon Southwest's Bird of the Month

The Goth Cardinal, Phainopepla (Phainopepla nitens)

2023 Audubon Southwest Staff Retreat
Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch

2023 Audubon Southwest Staff Retreat

Team building at the Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch

How you can help, right now