Visiting Sedona

Sedona and the Verde Valley are hot spots for bird-watchers and nature enthusiasts.

Oak Creek and the Verde River’s riparian areas are a rich and diverse habitat home to hundreds of bird species, some migrating through Arizona in the autumn and winter, others endemic to the Southwest.

American bald eagles, golden eagle, kingfishers, blue herons, common black hawks, yellow-billed cuckoos, cardinals, tanagers, warblers and egrets can be found at various times of the year.

The annual Christmas Bird Count is a holiday tradition in Northern Arizona and takes place locally in three locations this year.

  • Friday, Dec. 18: Sedona
  • Sunday, Dec. 20: Jerome
  • Saturday, Jan. 2: Camp Verde

The Sedona area offers birding resources like Red Rock State Park, which hosts guided bird hikes, Slide Rock State Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Sedona Wetlands Preserve and the Verde River Greenway.

Oak Creek Canyon provides for an amazing diversity of bird species, from higher elevation species like band-tailed pigeons and Grace’s warblers, to lower elevation species such as common black-hawk and black-chinned sparrow, magnificent hummingbird, red-faced warbler, painted redstart, winter wren and American dipper can all be found here.

Wilson Mountain and the cliffs at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon and farther to the west is home to chaparral and piñon-juniper species. Peregrine falcons nest in the red rock cliffs and can be seen hunting white-throated swifts and other birds.

The Chapel Area between Uptown Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek is home to cardinals, canyon towhees and Gila woodpeckers.

The flat chaparral terrain between Sedona and Cottonwood is notable for crissal thrasher, phainopepla and black-throated sparrow.

Finches, buntings, sparrows and are easy to spot in the sparse vegetation around the Page Springs Fish Hatchery, along Page Springs Road.

  • The Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival has attracted thousands of birders to Sedona and the Verde Valley for over a decade. The April festival celebrates nature with workshops and field trips.

Expert guides take visitors to the area’s birding hot spots to catch views of more than 100 species of birds. Vendors and exhibitors offer activities for families and solitary birders to enjoy. For the schedule of events, visit the Verde Valley Birding and Nature Festival website.

  • The annual Sedona Hummingbird Festival takes place the final weekend in July every year. The three-day festival features dozens of speakers, hummingbird watchers, researchers biologists and naturalists discussing various topics related to the tiny avians.

The festival is timed to coordinate with the influx of migrating hummingbirds passing through the Sedona area at that time of year.

  • Meet up with other birders at the Red Rock State Park visitors center every Wednesday and Saturday morning for the Bird Walk and enjoy a stroll through one of it’s most popular parks in the Sedona area. Beginning as well as advanced birders are welcome.

Visitors should bring their own binoculars but a limited number are available to borrow from the park. To contact the park about schedules, or reservations for some of most popular hikes, call (928) 282-6907 or visit the Red Rock State Park website.

  • The Northern Arizona Audubon Society offers valuable information on birding in Northern Arizona. NAAS is based in Sedona and Flagstaff with birding times ranges from the Verde Valley to the Grand Canyon and to the Utah border.
  • The Verde Valley Birding Trail offers a list of all the places to go bird watching in the Verde Valley and Sedona.
    The trail’s website also has a Verde Valley birding journal where visitors can view bird photos, read about birding experiences and share your own.