#conservationlands15 Social Media Takeover, November, Top 15 Places to View Wildlife on National Conservation Lands
San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, Arizona
The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (NCA) contains nearly 57,000 acres of public land between the international border and St. David, Arizona. The riparian area, where some 40 miles of the upper San Pedro River meanders, was designated by Congress as a Riparian NCA in 1988. The primary purpose for the special designation is to protect and enhance the desert riparian ecosystem, a rare remnant of what was once an extensive network of similar riparian systems throughout the American Southwest. One of the most important riparian areas in the United States, the San Pedro River runs through the Chihuahuan Desert and the Sonoran Desert in southeastern Arizona. The river’s stretch is home to more than 80 species of mammals, two native species and several introduced species of fish, more than 40 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 100 species of breeding birds. It also provides invaluable habitat for 250 species of migrant and wintering birds.
One of the major attractions here is the Globally Important Bird Area which attracts thousands of birdwatchers from all over the world each year. Over 100 species of breeding birds and another 250 species of migrant and wintering birds occur in this area, representing roughly half the number of known breeding species in North America. Notably, 36 species of raptors, including the gray hawk and Mississippi kite can be found within the NCA. Other enticing species include the green kingfisher, Bell's vireo, northern beardless-tyrannulet, Abert's towhee, Lucy's warbler, and yellow-billed cuckoo. The San Pedro Riparian NCA's bird checklist includes nearly 400 species.
Photo by Bob Wick, BLM