Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve is owned and managed by the Nature Conservancy. It is the first preserve the Nature Conservancy had in Arizona. The 770-acre lush riparian habitat is ideal for the many birds that call this sanctuary home. The preserve lies between the Santa Rita and Patagonia mountains, where the Sonoita Creek passes through. The plant life is abundant in the area. Cottonwoods, willows, velvet ash and Arizona mulberry are just a few of the trees growing naturally.
The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve has over 250 species of birds. The preserve is a popular spot for birders from all over the world. Many individuals have spotted spectacular birds. The Gray Hawks have been seen making their nests in the cottonwoods. The Common Black Hawk, Thick-billed Kingbird, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Violet-crowned hummingbird, Rose-throated Becards and others find the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve a safe haven. Birders will discover that the months of April, May and June are the best months for viewing. Yet, due to the preserve’s numerous migratory birds, any month is a good month for a visit.
Visitors will not only find birds in the preserve. There are a variety of wildlife roaming the area. White-tailed deer, coatimundi, javelina, Arizona gray squirrel and badgers also live in the woods. The Sonoita Creek, which flows through the sanctuary, is another habitat for animals. The Gila topminnow, along with other native Arizonan fish enjoy the waters of the creek.
The Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve wants to make sure the creatures living here continue to make this their home. In order to make sure this takes place, the preserve requests visitors follow the rules. There is no picnicking, camping or pets allowed in the preserve.
The visitor center provides restrooms, water and informative displays. On Saturday mornings at 9:00, there is a guided walk through the preserve.
The preserve has an unusual schedule of operation hours, due to the need to provide privacy for the wildlife. It is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. The preserve is open Wednesday through Sunday from 7:30 to 3:30 pm. The cost of admission is $5.00. If you would like more information on the preserve, you may call 520-394-2400.
You may reach the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve from Patagonia along State Highway 82 by turning west onto Fourth Avenue. Then turn left and head south onto Pennsylvania Avenue. You will need to cross the creek, but do not attempt this if you cannot see the bottom. The preserve is on the south side of Patagonia. You will follow the signs directing you to the visitor center.