RoadTrip America

Routes, Planning, & Inspiration for Your North American Road Trip

RVing with Alice and Jaimie

Bird-Watching on the Road, by Alice Zyetz
Next Page> Page 1 | 2

White-crowned sparrow
White-crowned sparrow

Anna's hummingbird
Anna's hummingbird

Common raven
Common raven

Great blue heron
Great blue heron

Double-crested cormorant
Double-crested cormorant


Another pleasurable byproduct of RV travel is the ability to go anywhere to view birds you don't ordinarily see at home. And you don't have to be an expert to enjoy the experience. All you need is a good book, a pair of binoculars, and the ability to get up early. My husband and I did fine on the first two, but struggled with the third. We are the type of RVers who get going at "the crack of noon."

Years ago, we were introduced to bird watching by our friend Betty Prange and her late husband Lin Strout. They were traveling west and we were heading east, but we agreed to meet at their favorite spot south of Albuquerque, New Mexico: Bosque del Apache Wildlife Refuge. It's the autumn home of tens of thousands of migrating sandhill cranes and arctic geese. We set our alarm to wake up before sunrise so we could watch the birds as they flocked from their sleeping spots in the marshes to their feeding places in the fields. Surrounded by hordes of chattering cranes overhead, we fell in love with bird watching. We are still novices, but have been befriended by serious birders and introduced to some of the great locales throughout the United States.

WHERE TO GO

Ann & Carl Erickson
Ann & Carl Erickson

RVers Carl and Ann Erickson have many favorite spots, and I have them to thank for much of the information in this column. They especially love the Cave Creek region in the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona. In the valley are huge pieces of sandstone, some as big as skyscrapers. RVs 25 feet long or less can be accommodated in the campgrounds. Many birds come to nest there and then return south to Central America. Among others, they saw a flame-colored hepatic tanager, a peregrine falcon, and an elegant trogon (also known as coppery-tailed trogan) colored red and green.

Also in Southeastern Arizona is Ramsey Canyon with fourteen different species of hummingbirds. The whole area east and south of Tucson is a birder's paradise.

Another great location is the Everglades. While in Florida, check out the Florida Keys, Sanibel Island, and various reserves along the west coast. Many excellent reserves are in Texas and the Gulf States. Check before you go to make sure they haven't been damaged by hurricane Katrina. Among the many interesting species are the anhingas and frigate birds, which look almost prehistoric.

Point Pelee in Ontario, Canada, has a huge marsh on the east side where Canadian birds fuel up in the fall before they head south. Other locations include the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, Salton Sea and Balboa Park in California, and Hawk Hill in Marin County, California, which is a good place to see raptors.

Next> Bird-watching Resources

Alice Zyetz
1/29/06

Page 1|2

More RVing Articles>

Browse travel deals
    Name Your Own Price
    Fuel Cost Calculator