I was on a quest to see the Arizona State Bird, the Cactus Wren. So I visited Lost Dutchman State Park, who hosted “Getting to Know the Birds Around You!” this February.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information. Thank you to Arizona State Parks & Trails for the passes to experience the Lost Dutchman State Park. All opinions, photographs, and videos of the area are ours.
Scattered clouds and lots of sunlight greeted us as we drove into Lost Dutchman State Park in Arizona. Since our truck was reading the outdoor temperature in the mid-50s degree Fahrenheit, I made sure I had my trail shoes, long pants, thick coat, hat and gloves in my pocket. As I slid out of the truck I grabbed my day hiking pack with lots of drinking water. Then I put the camera bag strap over my head. Last but not least, I hung a pair of binoculars around my neck.
We met “Birder Babs”, at the Saguaro Day use area. Birder Babs is a volunteer, who has many, many years of experience and likes to share her knowledge with others. We would soon learn that she is also able to recreate/mimic bird sounds with her mouth. This is impressive because many people will use a phone application to make bird calls.
After our group introductions, of approximately 20 people, our journey took us on a walk towards Jacob’s Crosscut Trail. As we listen to Birder Babs point out locations in the park that are great for birding, I started to get to know the participants in our group. There were novices like myself, camping in the park that just so happens to learn about the “Getting to Know the Birds Around You!” event and came along. Then there were the experienced birders, who had their phone applications with their “list of birds.” These birders traveled to different areas around the state to build their list of birds that they have seen/heard. As I chatted with everyone, I shared my goal to spot the Arizona State Bird, the Cactus Wren.
Identifying the Cactus Wren
Birder Babs would stop walking when she located a bird walking on the ground or sitting in a tree. She shared a way to distinguish between birds and what they eat is by their beaks. If the beak is thick, it was for cracking seeds.
As with any education, the more classes you take the more you learn. Last year, I attended the Lost Dutchman State Park Bird Walk and I was glad to be building on the tips of bird identification from that class.
At the start of the hike, I would take a photo of any bird on a saguaro cactus, and then ask if it was a Cactus Wren. It would end up being a House Finch. About an hour into the walk, a fellow birder in the group turned to me and said, “I hear the Cactus Wren but I can’t see it.” This got me excited as my chances of spotting the Cactus Wren had increased. Then it happened. About two hours into our adventure, Birder Babs says, “There is a Cactus Wren.” I picked up my binoculars and looked in the direction she pointed and viewed the Cactus Wren. Next, I grabbed my camera and brought it up to focus in and guess what…. The Cactus Wren flew off before I could take the photo. The good news is that I was able to see the Cactus Wren and I have 19 others to back up my story.
Arizona State Parks Future Birding Events
For more information Click here for Birding Events in the Arizona Parks
Click here for info on the next Lost Dutchman State Park “Bird Walk” – March 12, 2020, from 7:30 am-10:30 am
The next “Getting to Know the Birds Around You!” event at Lost Dutchman State Park – March 18, 2020 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
More on Arizona State Parks – https://azstateparks.com
Cactus Wren – Searching for the Arizona State Bird at Lost Dutchman State Park
Whether you are an experienced birder or a novice I suggest you attend a future birding event near you. Do you know what your state bird is? Have you taken a quest to see your state bird?