Bill Clark’s Arizona Raptor Tour
When you have been standing on the Navajo Bridge watching for condors for a long time and then they just suddenly appear in the distance and get closer, it is just magical and so special. The accommodations were great as were the selections of Mexican restaurants! I recommend this trip to anyone who has a passion for raptors.”Andrea Warner, USA. 2017 Edition.
Common Black Hawk Migration in Southeastern Arizona
Many Neotropical species reach the northern extent of their breeding range in southeastern Arizona, plus there are many widespread western raptors breeding, wintering, or migrating there. This tour has been designed to see most of these raptors, with much time devoted to watching raptor migration at the newly discovered Tubac count site south of Tucson, perhaps the best place to see Common Black Hawk (up to 68 in a day!), and where some 20 species of raptors have been recorded. Also seen there regularly are Zone-tailed and Gray Hawks.
We will go to the hawk count every morning until noon, as most of the visible flight is in the morning. But we will stay there on overcast or cloudy days, and return in late afternoon on some days to watch raptors settle in for their night roosts.
Afternoon Trips to See Other Raptors
We will make afternoon trips to several other areas where raptors are common, including the Sulphur Spring valley, the San Rafael grasslands, the Santa Cruz flats, and urban Tucson, the latter to see urban-breeding raptors. Further, we will go looking for a partial albino Red-tailed Hawk, and visit a few hummingbird feeding stations.
- SULPHUR SPRINGS VALLEY. (Could be an all-day trip.) Wintering raptors, including Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Harriers, Merlin, Peregrine and Prairie Falcons, both Bald, and Golden Eagles, and others.
- SAN RAFAEL GRASSLANDS and HARSHAW CANYON. Raptors include White‑tailed Kite, Northern Harrier, Gray and Zone‑tailed Hawks, and Prairie Falcon.
- SANTA CRUZ FLATS. Wintering raptors, including Harlan’s Hawk, dark- & rufous‑morph Red‑tailed Hawks, Crested Caracaras, Golden Eagles, and four species of falcons.
- TUCSON for nesting raptors, especially Harris’s and Cooper’s Hawks, and a partial‑albino Red‑tailed Hawk. Also wintering ones, such as Merlin.
A Relaxing Escape
The tour will be conducted at a leisurely pace, with lots of time to observe each raptor (and other birds, too), yet leaving some time to relax at our hotel. We should see as many as 25 diurnal raptors and 150+ total bird species.
Make a difference!
Raptours®, L.L.C. will make financial contributions to Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and to the Tubac raptor count for every member that signs up for this tour. Join us and make a lasting contribution to raptor conservation.
Arrive in Tucson; transfer to local hotel.
Early morning, either a short lecture or a short visit to raptors breeding in Tucson. Then to the Tubac hawk‑watch for the rest of the morning. The most common hawk passing is Common Black Hawk. Other migrants include Turkey Vultures, Sharp‑shinned, Red‑tailed and Swainson’s Hawks, Golden Eagles, and Peregrine Falcons. Also around are local breeding raptors such as Zone‑tailed, Gray, and Cooper’s Hawks, Black Vultures, and American Kestrels. Last year an adult Short‑tailed Hawk visited the count site on several occasions.
We will make afternoon trips to other areas, except for overcast days, which will be spent at the hawk watch. Lunches will vary, from sit‑down to picnics. We will go out for dinner at local restaurants. We will have three evening talks on raptor subjects.
Catch flights home, or continue on the California Condor Extension.
Day-by-day Itinerary | California Condor Extension
Leave Tucson after breakfast and head north towards Marble Canyon. Lunch en route. Arrive by mid-afternoon and check-in at the hotel. Visit Navajo Bridge to wait for California Condors to settle in for the night. Dinner and overnight in Marble Canyon.
All day in Marble Canyon area looking for California Condors. We will visit Navajo Bridge and drive the Honey Moon Trail along the Colorado River valley—an area of stunning beauty.
Breakfast and checkout. Stop at the Navajo Bridge for the last time to look at Condors, then start heading back to Tucson. Lunch en route. Optional drop off in Phoenix. Tour ends in Tucson.
- Turkey Vulture
- Black Vulture
- California Condor*
- White-tailed Kite
- Golden Eagle
- Sharp-shinned Hawk
- Cooper’s Hawk
- Northern Harrier
- Bald Eagle
- Common Black Hawk
- Harris’s Hawk
- Gray Hawk
- Swainson’s Hawk
- Zone-tailed Hawk
- Red-tailed Hawk
- Ferruginous Hawk
- Crested Caracara
- American Kestrel
- Prairie Falcon
- Peregrine Falcon
*Tour Extension only
- Cathartes aura
- Coragyps atratus
- Gymnogyps californianus*
- Pandion haliaetus
- Elanus leucurus
- Aquila chrysaetos
- Accipiter striatus
- Accipiter cooperii
- Circus hudsonius
- Haliaeetus leucocephalus
- Buteogallus anthracinus
- Parabuteo unicinctus
- Buteo plagiatus
- Buteo swainsoni
- Buteo albonotatus
- Buteo jamaicensis
- Buteo regalis
- Caracara plancus
- Falco sparverius
- Falco columbarius
- Falco mexicanus
- Falco peregrinus
*Tour Extension only
Suggested Field Guides
Clark, W.S. and B.K. Wheeler. 2001. Field guide to Hawks of North America (2nd Edition). Peterson series no. 35. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
Wheeler, B.K. and W.S. Clark. 1995. A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors. Academic Press, London.
Main Tour Map
Raptours, L.L.C. reserves the right to alter this itinerary as necessary, or to cancel the tour prior to departure, with full refund to participants.
Raptours, L.L.C. or its agents may decline to accept or retain any person as a member of this tour at any time.
No smoking will be permitted while with the group, either when indoors or in the field.
Travel medical insurance is strongly recommended.
All passengers will be required to sign a hard copy of the Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk form upon meeting with the tour leader in Tucson.
No participants will be allowed in the group without a signed copy of the Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk form.