The Gilbert Water Ranch in Gilbert, AZ opened in 1999 and has become the premier birding location in central Arizona. Many rarities have been discovered here and the frequent joggers, bikers and dog walkers quickly habituate the birds to the presence of people. It presents great opportunities for birding and for bird photography.
The Water Ranch was put on the national birding radar by the discovery of a Streak-backed Oriole there in November 2005 (see image to the right - click on it for a larger version). The bird returned for 2 additional winters. This was the only reliable location for this species in the US at that time. The bird fed on orange halves placed out for it by birders. It became very tame and probably is the most photographed individual bird anywhere in the world. I estimate that tens of thousands of images were taken of this individual bird.
The oriole was discovered by birders looking for another rarity, a Groove-billed Ani discovered a a few days earlier. Birders looking for the oriole then discovered a third rarity, a Prairie Warbler. Thus began the reputation of the Water Ranch as a location for rare birds. I have compiled a list of 273 species that have been reliably reported at the Water Ranch which contains 39 species considered rare by the Arizona Bird Committee. Other rarities found here include Baikal Teal (1st state record), "Eurasian" Green-winged Teal (2nd state record), Elegant Tern (3rd state record) and Cave Swallow (7th state record), among many others.
For more information, click on the links below:
Exotic Bird Species
Complete list of rare birds seen at the Gilbert Water Ranch
Unconfirmed species and future possibilities
Hybrids and Subspecies
eBird Data - Seasonal Abundance Graphs
Photo documentation of rare birds at the Gilbert Water Ranch
Slideshow of Gilbert Water Ranch birds
Maps and Directions
Links to other sites about the Gilbert Water Ranch
Ways you can contribute to this site
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