Frequently asked questions about the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory and birding in southeastern Arizona.

Click the + by each question to see the answer.

Q: Where are you located and what are your hours?

A: As of November 2019, SABO’s headquarters is Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary, which is open dawn-dusk Friday-Wednesday, noon-dusk Thursday. Our walks, workshops, tours, and other activities are conducted on a variety of private and public lands around southeastern Arizona. Links to local birding sites can be found here.

Q: Where does SABO’s funding come from?

A: SABO is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and depends on memberships, donations, and program fees for funding. At present, SABO receives no general funding from grants, endowments, or contracts, though a few small grants have been acquired for specific projects at Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary.

Q: Is the border region safe for birders?

A: Despite media hype to the contrary, visitors are safer along the Mexican border than in any big city. Even on the other side of the border, those not involved in drug trafficking and/or enforcement are safer than almost anywhere in the U.S. There are dangerous parts of Mexico, just as there are dangerous parts of the U.S., but SABO’s Mexico trips visit destinations where the issues that have received media attention are not a problem.

Q: Are SABO’s activities appropriate for children?

A: It depends on the activity and the child. Hummingbird banding and crane watching are popular with all ages. Our walks and workshops are geared for adults but might appeal to interested and enthusiastic teens.

Q: Are there opportunities for photography on SABO activities?

A: Absolutely! The small group size and relaxed pace of SABO tours and workshops are more compatible with photography than the average birding tour. While photography is not the primary focus (pun intended) of SABO’s walks, workshops, and tours, we do our best to accommodate all participants. For those interested in focusing on photography (pun intended), the photo blind at Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary offers access to a private feeding station with an assortment of native plants and natural props.

Q: I’m already a member. How do I renew or upgrade my membership?

Use the login box at the top of the sidebar, then click here or select “Manage Member Profile” from the dropdown menu under “Support SABO.”

Q: I signed up for a bird walk. How how do I find out where it meets?

Basic information on the location for each activity is included in your registration confirmation e-mail message, but detailed directions from the starting point of your choice are available using our interactive Activities Map, powered by Google Maps.

Q: I had something come up at the last minute and can’t attend the activity I signed up for. Can I get a refund?

Only if the activity is canceled by SABO. For more, please see our Policies and Disclaimers page.

Q: I found a baby/sick/injured bird. Can I bring it to you?

A: No. In most cases, it’s best to put a baby bird out of harm’s way for the parent(s) to care for. More involved care of sick or injured birds requires state and federal permits and specialized equipment, facilities, and expertise that SABO does not possess. The Tucson Wildlife Center is the nearest licensed wildlife rehabilitation facility to our location in Cochise County.

Q: I’m visiting Arizona in March/June/October and see no local activities on your calendar of events for that time. Are there any activities scheduled?

A: All currently scheduled activities will be listed on the Calendar of Events. March and October are “shoulder months,” a transition from winter to summer birds and vice versa. Although the resident birds are still present and can be exciting for a first-time visitor, the birding tends to be quieter and less predictable in March and October than during peak months. June is our hottest, driest month, and birds and birders tend to reduce their activity until the summer rains come in July. We often schedule foreign trips during these three months as well as catch up on administrative duties. Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary remains open year round and is a great place to while away a few hours virtually any day of the year.

Q: What’s the best time to visit southeastern Arizona?

A: Depending on your interests, almost any time can be good (see previous question). Spring, especially late April through mid-May, is best for songbird migration, owls, and trogons. Winter brings raptors, sparrows, and thousands of Sandhill Cranes. The best time for hummingbirds is mid-July through mid-September. The summer rains bring cooler temperatures, wildflowers, and insects to welcome the migrants passing through on their way to Mexico. Peak numbers and diversity occur during this time frame, but the migrants are not necessarily in their finest plumage. This page can help you plan your visit.

Q: Should I be worried about snakes in Arizona?

A: No, our snakes are just fine. But seriously, while you need to be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards (as is true anywhere), once you step out of your car the most dangerous part of your trip is over.