Each winter season, October through February, more than 20,000 Sandhill Cranes flock to this playa--an ancient, closed bin lake bed. The area was formed from ancient sedimentary deposits of gravel, sand and silt, as well as dune sand and landslide landslide masses. A birding festival held every January, "Wings Over Willcox", features food, field trips throughout Cochise County, educational seminars, and more. Allow 2 hours for your visit.
Once referenced as the “best sewage treatment pond for birding” by Roger Tory Peterson in the 1970’s, Cochise Lake remains a fantastic place to go birding during your visit to Willcox. A well established water feature along the migratory path of shorebirds and waterfowl, Cochise Lake has hosted over 300 species of birds. Recognized by the National Audubon Society as an Important Bird Area, Cochise Lake is one birding spot you definitely want to visit.
Cochise County is one of the top places in the country to go birding. The sky islands and desert valleys combined with its proximity to the subtropics offers incredible species diversity, in fact this is one of the most diverse areas for all biota for inland habitat. Any time of year is great to visit: Spring and Fall hosts many migrants through the county, summer has breeding species only found here in the U.S., and many species overwinter in the county.
Established in 1993, Wings Over Willcox is one of the oldest festivals in Arizona. This winter celebration of birds and nature brings together people from around the state, country, and world to share in the experience. Thousands of Sandhill Cranes, dozens of raptors on treetops and power poles, and numerous skulking sparrows are highlights of the event, but many other species are found in the valley and mountains during the festival, with well over 100 species seen by the end of the weekend. The festival goes beyond the birds with opportunities to learn the local geology and botany, or visit a working ranch. This community event is a wonderful chance to see old friends and make new ones as you enjoy all the festival offers. Learn about all the festivities by visiting.
One of the top five birding destinations in the U.S. the Chiricahuas are known for their avian diversity. The Chiricahuas are part of the Sky Islands and cover a wide range of habitats from coniferous forest down to semi-desert grassland. It is home to over 200 bird species, including several southwest specialties such as the Elegant Trogon, Eared Quetzal, Mexican Chickadee, and Red-faced Warbler.