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A Dream Destination For Birdwatchers

Birdwatchers' Paradise - A Brown Pelican at the Bill Williams River Wildlife Refuge
A Brown Pelican at the Bill Williams River Wildlife Refuge - Photo credit John West Images
The area in and around Lake Havasu City is rich in opportunities for birdwatchers, with more than 355 species identified in the local area and where 80 percent of the state's plant and wildlife species can be found. Consult the Mohave County Field Checklist to learn of the possibilities.

One of the best ways for birdwatchers to observe waterfowl is from a kayak or canoe in the early morning. Free non-motorized boat launches are located at Castle Rock Bay and Mesquite Bay Central, maintained by U.S. Fish & Wildlife. You'll find cattails and sandbars for loons, grebes, ducks, larids, raptors and coots. Horned Grebes favor this area in winter, along with the more usual grebes and flotillas of coots.

For land-based excursions, try the free fishing piers at both Mesquite Bay North and South on London Bridge Road, just north of Industrial Boulevard, which are open 24 hours. While these areas are open to fishing 24 hours, the areas are closed to all other activities during evening hours. The walking trail and Arroyo-Camino Interpretative Garden at Lake Havasu State Park offer additional opportunities for both land and water bird viewing.

Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge

Approximately 22 miles south of Lake Havasu City (from the London Bridge) on Highway 95 is the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge office is located between mileposts 160 and 162 (GPS 34.291554, -114.104776). There is plenty of parking. The Visitor Center is open from 8am-4pm, Monday-Friday and from 10am-2pm on weekends (Arizona time) - call ahead to confirm hours. The refuge's trails and non-motorized launch ramp are open year round during daylight hours (sunrise to sunset) and fishing piers are open 24 hours a day.
More information | Birding Checklist

Havasu National Wildlife Refuge

Up Highway 95 north to I-40 West (direction of Needles/Las Vegas) is the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, a birding hotspot with 318 species of birds living in the habitat. Exit I-40 at exit marker 1 (J Street) and follow the signs to the refuge office at 317 Mesquite Avenue in Needles, CA (GPS 34.837010, -114.620274). There is plenty of parking. The Visitor Center is open from 7am-3:30pm, Monday-Friday, PST. On holidays, after hours and on weekends a self-serve kiosk with refuge brochures and leaflets is available to visitors. There is no camping on the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge.
More information | Birding Checklist | Havasu NWR Map

Bird species

Currently there are more than 355 bird species identified in the local area and waiting for birdwatchers to go out and identify them!
More information

The Audubon Christmas Bird Counts

A roadrunner at Steamboat Cove
A roadrunner at Steamboat Cove
A very special opportunity for birdwatchers, the Audubon Society Christmas Bird Counts have occurred annually for over 113 years. It is the oldest event of its kind in North America. Birdwatchers of all levels and volunteers throughout America take part in this very important project, which contributes significantly to bird conservation. To help guide bird conservation efforts, Audubon and other organizations use the data collected by birdwatchers to assess bird health and population trends. Plan to spend the entire day - dawn to dusk, or just part of it. Novice birdwatchers will be paired with experienced or master-level birdwatchers.

Annual Christmas Bird Count at the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 60911 Highway 95, Parker, AZ 85344 (map)
Location: Between mileposts 160 and 162
GPS: 34.291554, -114.104776
Phone: 928-667-4144

Annual Christmas Bird Count at the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Address: 317 Mesquite Avenue, Needles, CA 92363 (map)
Location: I-40, Exit 1; follow the signs to the refuge
GPS: 34.837010, -114.620274
Phone: 760-326-3853

Other nearby birding areas:

Cattail Cove State Park, Highway 95 South, 15 miles from Lake Havasu City
Buckskin Mountain State Park, Highway 95 South, 28 miles from Lake Havasu City
Hualapai Mountain Park of Mohave County, Kingman, about 60 miles from Lake Havasu City