A Birdwatcher’s Haven Saved


TUCSON (Arizona Cat’s Eye) – Paton’s Birder Haven in Patagonia, Arizona is a prime destination for bird watchers from all over the world. About 30,000 people come here each year to see the birds.

A Broadbill hummingbird feeding at Paton's in Patagonia, Ariz.
A broad-billed hummingbird feeding at Paton’s in Patagonia, Ariz. Photo by Cathy Rosenberg/Arizona Cat’s Eye

Wally and Marion Paton first invited bird watchers into their backyard in the 1990s after they saw people in the street with binoculars looking in. When the Paton’s died there was no plan for the future. “It became internationally known because of particularly one species,” said Paul Green, president of Tucson Audubon Society. “It’s really the only place in the United States that you can reliably see the Violet-crowned hummingbird.” Tucson Audubon Society has now become the new owner of the haven. Paton’s will continue as a backyard bird watchers mecca where hummingbirds are the main attraction. “It’s important to preserve the Paton property because the birds are use to getting food here especially during the migration,” Larry Morgan, the caretaker at Paton’s, said. “It’s all about birds and people. Birds need people to be their ambassadors. To have anybody who can speak up for birds and other species of wildlife is very important,” Green said.  

Birdwatchers see a variety of birds at Paton's Birder's Haven in Patagonia, Ariz.
Bird watchers see a variety of birds at Paton’s Birder Haven in Patagonia, Ariz. Photo by Cathy Rosenberg/Arizona Cat’s Eye

Bird watchers from New Zealand, Europe, Canada, Mexico and just about all the 50 states come to Paton’s to see the 15 species of hummingbirds, along with other birds too. “This is a special place,” said David Roberts, a bird watcher from Texas. There’s a lot of birds here you wouldn’t see if you didn’t have places like this to go to.” For as long as the birds show up and the people want to watch them, Paton’s will remain a cozy place to sit comfortably and watch the birds.    

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