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Bird Watching at Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge

Great Egret in flight along the Colorado River, 2011 - Photo credit John West Images
Website: Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge
: 60911 Highway 95, Parker, AZ 85344 (map)
GPS: 34.291554, -114.104776
Phone: 928-667-4144
Visitor Center Hours: 8am-4pm Monday-Friday, 10am-2pm weekends (call ahead; hours may change depending on staff and volunteer availability)
Birding Checklist: Click here

Over 350 species of birds

The Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge encompasses nearly 6,000 acres along the Bill Williams and Lower Colorado Rivers. Due to the location of the refuge and its rich habitat diversity, it is an important breeding, wintering, and migratory stopover point for birds and other wildlife species. Over 350 species of birds have been documented on the refuge including two endangered species. In 2014, the Nutting's Flycatcher, a very small migratory bird, has been seen on the refuge and is considered a "life bird" for birding enthusiasts.

The refuge provides excellent habitat for many other resident and migratory wildlife as well, including 34 documented reptiles, 40 species of butterflies, 57 species of mammals, 192 documented aquatic species, 23 species of dragonflies and 7 amphibians.

Developed trails are available at the refuge headquarters. The refuge road winds through desert uplands and past a valley lined with cottonwoods and willows. Visitors are welcome to explore the refuge on foot. There is plenty of parking and restroom facilities are available. 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.

Wildlife watching tips

  • Dawn and dusk are the best viewing times.
  • Observe from the sidelines. Leave "abandoned" young animals alone; a parent is probably close by waiting for you to leave.
  • Don't offer snacks; people food could disrupt wild digestive systems.
  • For a closer look, bring binoculars.
  • Do not disturb nests, even if empty. Many times birds will come back to the same next annually.
  • The refuge is home to rattlesnakes which are most active at dawn and dusk. Always watch your step and never place your hands or feet in an area you cannot see into.

Getting there from Lake Havasu City

Take Highway 95 South for approximately 22 miles (from the London Bridge). The visitor center is between mileposts 160 and 162 on the right.