Robbins Butte Wildlife Area
The Robbins Butte Wildlife Area (RBWA) is located approximately seven miles southwest of Buckeye, Arizona, comprising approximately 1681 acres. RBWA is in Maricopa County and Region VI of the Arizona Game and Fish Department (Department) and the property was purchased with Federal Aid money for wildlife purposes. In the 1950s, RBWA was selected as one of two areas along the Gila River with the greatest potential for waterfowl habitat enhancement. Most of RBWA including the Black Butte parcels was purchased from private entities in a series of transactions from 1951 to 1973. Six parcels totaling 1,511 acres are deeded to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission (Commission). RBWA also includes 170 acres of lands under the jurisdiction of Public Land Order Number 1015 (PLO 1015). The PLO 1015 land has been managed by the Commission since 1954 through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS).
Narrative Description and Vegetation Types
Vegetative cover is a diverse mixture including dense salt cedar thickets, willows and cattail in the river bottom; mature mesquite on the river terrace; saltbush and shrub-sized mesquite upland areas; upland desert areas dominated by creosote bush and white bursage; retired agricultural lands that are being restored to a native vegetative community; and agricultural land used to produce food and cover crops for wildlife. In addition to the Gila River, ponds and drinkers provide a well distributed system of water for wildlife. The combination of desert upland, agricultural, and relict riparian habitats attract a variety of wildlife species.
Management Objective Goals
To optimize the habitat potential of the property for wildlife and for present and future generations of the public to enjoy wildlife-oriented recreation.
Public Use Opportunities and Resource Management Emphasis: The primary management emphasis at RBWA is to provide food crops and nesting habitat for upland game birds. Secondary management emphasis includes enhancing riparian habitat and the riparian-desert upland ecotone.
A combination of wildlife food crops, natural foods and nesting habitat attracts many breeding white-winged and mourning doves, Zenaida asiatica and Z. macroura. An average combined number of 5,000 doves usually are present at RBWA before the September hunt. Amphibians and reptiles also are common; a minimum of 19 reptile species reside at RBWA. A common mammal species found on the RBWA is the Ringtail, Bassariscus astutus, also known as the Ringtail cat or Miner's cat.
RBWA is the center of the annual Gila River Christmas Bird Count, and over 115 species of winter-resident birds have been observed in the vicinity. In addition, many raptors winter in and near RBWA, including the White-tailed Kite, Elanus caeruleus. The summer avian community has not been counted, but species numbers probably exceed those of winter.
Special Status Species occurring on or near the Robbins Butte Wildlife Area have been identified through the Department's Heritage Data Management System, and are listed below. This includes the federally endangered Yuma clapper rail, Rallus longirostris yumanensis, and the Western yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus occidentalis, a federally listed candidate species. Those special status species that potentially occur on the RBWA include Great egret, Ardea alba, Snowy egret, Egretta thula, and Western yellow bat, Lasiurus xanthinus.