A national conservation area east of Sierra Vista will be rededicated Saturday as a "globally important bird area."

The designation is based on the recent collection of data updating the rich diversity of bird species at the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

A rededication ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday will mark the Audubon Society's reconfirmation of the site's original listing as a globally important bird area by the American Bird Conservancy in 1996.

It will be part of a daylong celebration of International Migratory Bird Day at the conservation area's San Pedro House east of Sierra Vista.

The conservation area, which is managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, "is a place of hemispheric importance for birds," said Sarah Porter, executive director of Audubon Arizona. "It has nearly 400 migrant and nesting species."


Porter said experienced bird-survey volunteers recently fanned out across the 57,000-acre conservation area to make observations and collect data.

"The program applies very rigorous science," she said. "We use scientific criteria to determine which habitats are important for birds."

Birds that qualified the site as globally important included the Arizona Bell's vireo, western yellow-billed cuckoo, gray hawk, Lucy's warbler and Abert's towhee. The diversity and numbers of neotropical migrants, primarily warblers, also supported the qualification.

Seven other sites in Arizona are designated as globally important bird areas.


Events at and around the San Pedro House include:

• Bird walks.

• Nature walk.

• Presentations on snakes, landscaping with native plants, and building your own rainwater-harvesting system.

• Ceremony to rededicate the site as a globally important bird area.

• Displays and educational booths.

• Book signings.

• Kids ramada.

Go online to www.sanpedroriver.org and open the "Spring Festival" flier for event times.


Madera Canyon, about 40 miles south of Tucson, also will hold International Migratory Bird Day events on Saturday.

Go to www.friendsofmaderacanyon.org for a schedule of events and times.

On StarNet: Read more environment-related articles at azstarnet.com/environment

if you go

• What: International Migratory Bird Day events at the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

• When: 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. A ceremony to rededicate the area as a globally important bird area begins at 1 p.m.

• Where: San Pedro House in the conservation area east of Sierra Vista.

• Get there: From Tucson, drive east on Interstate 10 to Benson and take Arizona 90 south to Sierra Vista and a junction with Arizona 92. From the junction, continue east on Arizona 90 about seven miles to a right-hand turnoff for the San Pedro House.

• Cost: Free

• Information: www.sanpedroriver.org

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at dkreutz@azstarnet.com or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz