Paton Center is Getting a Makeover.

I had the chance to go back down to Tucson Audubon's Paton Center for Hummingbirds two weeks ago with Keith Ashley. I had a blast doing completely different work than last time. On my last visit, I was equipped with a rain jacket, muddy boots, and shovels to get down and dirty with Paton Center maintenance. This time I came with all of my cameras and office gear prepared to meet with multiple people to discuss some different issues. The day started meeting with Wendy Russel and Luke Reese, who have close ties with the Patagonia Area Resource Alliance and the Nature Conservancy. We discussed the Sonoita Creek watershed, where the Paton Center is nestled, and various issues surrounding it. I loved gaining all of the local insights from residents with intense passion and love for their homes and communities. They are worried about more than just human communities, they are working to conserve areas of land that help support the amazing biodiversity in the watershed. Southeastern Arizona is a birding location across the entire world because of the array of species that can be seen here. I always manage to see a Violet Crowned Hummingbird when I go to Paton Center, and last visit made no exception!
Violet Crowned Hummingbird
After the meeting ended, Keith and I had a few free hours before we had any other engagements, so I grabbed my camera and set out for the backyard. There were finches abound!
Lesser Goldfinch
Lesser Goldfinches feasting
I like seeing so many different types of birds in one place, it can be funny to see how they interact with other species and within their own.
This White Wing Dove thinks it is a House Finch
Are these Broad Billed Hummingbirds kissing or fighting?!
It took a lot of patience, but I managed to snap some amazing photos of Broad Billed Hummingbirds feeding at some of the many feeders on the property.

This male is about to perch and have a snack
I caught this one mid-flap!
It can be all too easy to bypass the Richard Grand Memorial meadow that has been planted with beautiful vegetation to attract more bird diversity. I always make sure to spend some time there!
The meadow doubles as an Important Bird Area

I have not been able to figure out what types of flowers these are, but they create the attraction that brings so many pollinator species to the meadow.

After a couple hours of free times, students from the University of Arizona began trickling into Paton Center. What exactly is a group of 8 students from the U of A and Professor Annie Kurtin doing at Paton Center? 
These are students in the College of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape Architecture in the Sustainable Build Environments major. They are in a class called a Summer Studio taught by Annie Kurtin (front). In this course, students are tasked with a design challenge where they must design a layout for an architectural design. These students have a real client for their course: Tucson Audubon Society and Paton Center! If you have been to Paton, you know that the wildlife viewing tent is functional, but can be less than impressive. These students are giving the wildlife viewing area a makeover and creating potential designs for a brand new pavilion. They came to Patagonia to meet with Keith Ashley and Tucson Audubon Board members, their clients.
Keith Ashley discussing the project

The students and some of the board members involved in the process.
Tucson Audubon Society is so excited to have the opportunity to work with Sustainable Built Environment students to create an enhanced wildlife viewing experience for Paton Center visitors. While the students will be submitting just their designs, experienced professors the University will work to turns those designs into reality!


  1. Terrific post. It is nice to see young people involved at the Tucson Audubon's Paton Center. Years ago my parents would often host young people on class trips to Paton to learn the joys of birding.

  2. The flowers are gaillardia and cosmos.

  3. The flowers are gaillardia (top) and cosmos.


Post a Comment

Thanks, we value your opinions! Your comment will be reviewed before being published.