A trip to Patagonia would not be complete without a visit to the Paton Center for Hummingbirds.
Dedicated to the celebration and conservation of hummingbirds—and all of southeast Arizona’s astounding biodiversity—through recreation, education, and sustainable living.
Wally and Marion Paton first began inviting birders into their yard shortly after moving to Patagonia in 1973. They eventually put up a canopy and set out benches, bird books, and a chalkboard for people to record their sightings. The Patons had a special vision for supporting their backyard birds with an array of feeding stations—and supporting the wider birding community by sharing the riches of their yard. After Wally passed away in 2001 and Marion in 2009, the birding community was left with an inspiring legacy upon which to build.
Natural Heritage Treasures
212 bird species have been reported for this cozy home lot on the outskirts of the town of Patagonia, including Violet-crowned Hummingbirds, Thick-billed Kingbirds, Gray Hawks, Varied Buntings, and many more local specialties. This amazing diversity results from our location in an ecologically rich and healthy corner of the state.
Surrounding the Paton Center you will find: The Nature Conservancy’s Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve, the Patagonia Mountains (one of Arizona’s newly declared Important Bird Areas), the San Rafael Grasslands, and the Sonoita Plain. We must preserve these natural heritage treasures if we are to preserve the birds of the Paton Center.
The Richard Grand Memorial Meadow
The Richard Grand Memorial Meadow is a new addition to the Paton Center for Hummingbirds—a lovely, open field with dense vegetation bordering its south side and trees ringing the rest of its periphery. The meadow itself is being carefully planted with a variety of native plants to attract birds and butterflies by naturally providing food sources including nectar, berries, and seeds. A small water feature has been provided in the interim as a larger pond is being constructed. The pond will offer enormous benefit to local wildlife—and visitors eager for an intimate glimpse of southeast Arizona’s striking biodiversity.
A Paton Center Future
Tucson Audubon will build upon the Patons’ legacy by maintaining the intimate backyard birding experience of the Paton Center while making improvements to the grounds in support of birds and birders alike. A few of our projects include:
• Rainwater harvesting to support healthy watersheds
• Small scale ecological restoration to provide birds with native food sources
• A watchable wildlife viewing deck for the comfort and safety of visitors
• Gardening for hummingbirds and other pollinators
• Food-rich landscaping for birds and people