Wildlife Viewing in Western Arizona
The Bill Williams River tributary stretch near Lake Havasu remains a place to find native small mammals. Look for Sonoran mud turtles and nonnative spiny softshell turtles feeding on plant, amphibians, and small invertebrates, too.
Yuma offers Mittry Lake (northeast of Yuma) between Laguna and Imperial Dams. A mix of desert-scrub and riparian habitats means diverse waterfowl. Common mammals include mule deer, javelina and bobcat.
February is a particularly good month to explore Cibola National Wildlife Refuge while the temperatures are cooler and migrant waterfowl are most abundant. Drive the three-mile self-guided auto tour and check out farm fields along the way
Not far from Hoover Dam is the Colorado River Nature Center—pay a visit to learn about places to find wildlife along Arizona’s West Coast. Behind the dam is Lake Mead. Located at the southwest end of Bullhead City, the Nature Center includes 140 acres west of State Route 95, and bordered on the east side by BLM lands and on the west side by the Colorado River.
Spring and summer migrant birds have arrived at the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. One reliable spot to look for desert bighorn sheep is Signal Mountain. Use binoculars to look along high ridgetops and watch the horizon for majestic silhouettes.
Visitors to the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge should plan hikes through the Horse Tanks region. The more heat-tolerant reptiles become active, so look for them scurrying around on the ground.
Summer heat is most intense this month. At the Arizona Game and Fish Department's Alamo Lake Wildlife Area in southeast Mohave County (north of Wenden) summer nights in June prompt the Arizona toad and lowland leopard frog into song.
July can be a lizard month in the desert. Take I-40 from Kingman toward Needles, accessing the Hualapai Range and the Black Mountains. Desert bighorn sheep can be seen along the banks of the Colorado River around Willow Beach.
Near Bullhead City find white-winged dove and roadrunners. This month is also a great time to come across a desert tortoise. The desert bighorn sheep are still quite watchable along the Colorado River near Willow Beach in August.
Near the small community of Tacna check out the 600-acre Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Quigley Wildlife Management Area with wetlands and agricultural fields. Quigley Pond is a marshy lake is a great spot for various waterfowl (and the occasional hunting peregrine falcon) and marsh birds. Other spots nearby along the Gila River can be reliable for a variety of quality birds.
Kingman is near the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, and has interesting migrants which can be spotted within city limits. Various warblers might be seen at Metcalf Park. The refuge itself boasts an impressive sight of American avocet flocks overhead.
There are plenty of agricultural areas in the fields north of Highway 95 and west of Topock Road that are a good place to find flocks of various birds. At Lake Havasu you can find gulls associated seabirds.
Katherine’s Landing (just north of Davis Dam on the Colorado River) is a prime place for reliable winter birding and occasional exotics. Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge holds one of the rarest North American ungulates: the endangered Sonoran pronghorn.