|Kofa National Wildlife Refuge|
The pristine beauty of the rugged Sonoran Desert is showcased at the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. The area is characterized by broad, gently sloping foothills as well as sharp, needlepoint peaks. The rugged and scenic Kofa and Castle Dome Mountains, along with portions of the Tank, New Water, a...
Cibola National Wildlife Refuge
|Description: In the floodplain of the lower Colorado River and surrounded by a fringe of desert ridges and washes, this refuge encompasses both the historic Colorado River channel as well as a channelized portion constructed in the late 1960s. Several important backwaters are home to many wildlife species that reside in this portion of the Sonoran Desert. Because of the river’s life-sustaining water, wildlife here survive in an environment that reaches 120 degrees in the summer and receives an average of only 2 inches of rain per year. Outstanding desert views with mountain backdrops.|
Wildlife to Watch: Over 288 species of birds have been found at Cibola, including many species of migratory songbirds, Gambel’s quail, greater roadrunner, mourning and white-winged doves, phainopepla, sandhill crane, American white pelican, osprey, vermilion flycatcher, and blue grosbeak. The bald eagle, willow flycatcher and Yuma clapper rail are also among the birds that use Cibola NWR. Thousands of Canada geese migrate to Cibola in the winter; about 85% of Arizona’s wintering goose population resides here. These are often joined by smaller numbers of snow, Ross’s, and greater white-fronted geese, as well as occasional tundra swan.
It is not uncommon to see burrowing owl, mule deer, bobcat, and coyote, particularly while driving the auto tour loop in the early morning or evening. Many waterbirds nest in the backwaters of the river; it is common to see western and Clark’s grebe young riding on their parents’ backs in Cibola Lake during the spring, a great blue heron and egret rookery, or nesting mourning and white-winged doves, barn owl, burrowing owl, and American kestrel. White-faced ibis have also nested here on occasion.
Other Activities: The 3-mile auto tour loop (also known as Canada Goose Drive) allows access through the refuge. Along this drive is the Nature Trail, a 1-mile loop through three different habitats; cottonwood, mesquite, and willow. Halfway around the trail, winter visitors may view thousands of Canada geese, snow geese, various duck species, and sandhill cranes in a 20-acre pond from an elevated observation deck. The Nature Trail is dirt and gravel and can be accessed with some difficulty.
Ownership: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Size: 18,000 acres
Closest Town: Blythe, California
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: