Landmark Arizona Birding Property Saved By Purchase

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Paton’s Birder Haven, southeast Arizona’s mecca for thousands of birders worldwide, is now assured of long-term protection following a successful and spirited international fundraising campaign. American Bird Conservancy (ABC), Tucson Audubon Society, and Victor Emanuel Nature Tours worked together to raise the funds to acquire the historic property.

More than 1,000 bird-lovers—many former visitors to the Paton property—answered the call for contributions, with several of them recounting their memories of the site and donating as a way of paying tribute. The fundraising campaign raised more than $300,000 to purchase Paton’s Birder Haven and to provide for improvements and long-term maintenance. ABC purchased the property and is turning it over to Tucson Audubon Society for long-term management as a public hummingbird sanctuary. Tucson Audubon has successfully raised funds from its members to allow for needed maintenance and management.

“This is one of the prime birding destinations in the United States and clearly warranted the all-out effort to save and preserve it,” said ABC President Dr. George Fenwick. “Birders worldwide come here to see Arizona’s outstanding hummingbird diversity and a chance to get a ‘life’ Plain-capped Starthroat, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, or Magnificent Hummingbird for their North American list. We should also recognize the efforts of Victor Emanuel because without his vision and determination, this birding oasis could easily have slipped away.”

“Visiting Paton’s Birder Haven is like stepping out of the mainstream of life. It is a quiet, hospitable place to sit and watch a wide variety of Arizona specialty birds at feeders, in native vegetation, and at the water features,” said Dr. Paul Green, Executive Director of Tucson Audubon. “Its geographic location, proximity to Mexico, Sonoita Creek, and a nearby TNC preserve all contribute to bring a unique variety of bird visitors.”

Paton's Birder Haven is located in southeast Arizona in the small town of Patagonia, population 1,000. It had its start in 1974, when Wally and Marion Paton—life-long bird-lovers—began to plant flowers and install water features on their property. They put up more than a dozen hummingbird feeders and had great success attracting birds to their yard. More than 15 species of hummingbird frequent the property, with peaks during spring and fall migration seasons. When the couple realized birders were crowding outside their fence to get a better view, the Patons opened the gate and welcomed them inside. 

For more than 35 years, they received visitors from all over the world to their yard. Over time, the Patons provided a tent for visiting birders, installed seating, and helped to identify birds. They placed a chalkboard in the yard where daily sightings could be noted. On the gate, they installed a tin can called the “sugar fund” for donations to defray the cost of bird feedings.

The property had passed on to the Paton’s children, who wanted to ensure it would be preserved as a memorable, welcoming stop for birders. Now, through this successful collaboration and the generosity of thousands, their parents’ labor of love has been immortalized.


TWRA To Conduct Roadblocks On Agency Controlled Lands

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is planning to conduct roadblocks on several TWRA controlled or managed lands during the upcoming hunting seasons. TWRA controlled and managed lands include Wildlife Management Areas, public hunting areas, wildlife refuges and other properties under agency ownership or control including TVA property, Corps of Engineer lands, and the Cherokee ... (click for more)

New Task Force Focuses On Community Involved Bear Management

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency along with multiple partners have developed a new task force to focus on bear management in Sevier County and surrounding communities.  This new educational initiative is being referred to as the BearWise Task Force and is sponsored by the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The program focuses on informing the ... (click for more)

Boyd Questions Effectiveness Of Read 20 Program; Coppinger Defends It

County Commissioner Tim Boyd said he questions the effectiveness of the Read 20 pre-K literacy program and wants the director to come before the County Commission to answer questions.   County Mayor Jim Coppinger defended the program, noting that it was the creation of former County Mayor Claude Ramsey.   Commissioner Boyd said the low literacy level hearing ... (click for more)

Corker Says Without Budget Reform, Washington Is “Laying A Huge Burden On Future Generations”

In remarks on the Senate floor  on Wednesday , Senator Bob Corker joined a number of colleagues to discuss the broken federal budget process.   “The processes that we have in place make it impossible for us to really deal with our country’s fiscal issues,” said Senator Corker. “Today is the perfect example of that: we pass a continuing resolution ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vin Scully’s Last Time

It is said that the opening paragraph of my favorite ode to baseball should be the centerpiece for the canon of sports literature. It was written by former commissioner Bart Giamatti in "The Green Fields of the Mind,” a most marvelous essay to the last day of the regular season in the major leagues. “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in ... (click for more)