Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary reopens with social distancing

Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary will reopen Saturday, May 16, with limited occupancy and social distancing measures.

Encouraged by research indicating extremely low risk of transmission of the novel coronavirus in outdoor settings, SABO’s board of directors voted unanimously to reopen the sanctuary with appropriate cautions to protect our visitors, volunteers, and staff. The number of visitor parking spaces has been reduced to four, and seating has been reduced and arranged to encourage a safe interpersonal distance. The restroom will be closed temporarily. Normal visiting hours of dawn-dusk Friday-Wednesday and noon-dusk Thursday (closed Thursday mornings) will continue in effect.

This spring’s superbloom has lured most hummingbirds away from the feeders, but many other resident and migrating birds are putting on a good show. Recent visitors include Lucifer Hummingbird, Bronzed Cowbird, Scott’s Oriole, many Western Tanagers and Black-headed Grosbeaks, and even the elusive Montezuma Quail. Check the eBird hotspot page for more recent sightings:

Thanks to many hours of hard work by volunteers and staff, good fall and winter rains, and a $25,000 gift from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, the gardens lovingly created by the late Mary Jo Ballator have been extensively rehabilitated and are in their spring glory, attracting native butterflies and bees as well as the occasional hummingbird. This provides excellent opportunities for visitors to contribute to a new citizen science project on iNaturalist, Biodiversity of Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary.

The pandemic closure during the normally busy spring birding season makes the generosity of the birding community especially critical now. We hope you will consider making a donation to support SABO and our continuing efforts to restore and enhance Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary in memory of our beloved friend and birding icon, Mary Jo Ballator.

Stay safe and healthy, and we’ll look forward to seeing you at the sanctuary!