|Male Annas Hummingbird
|Immature Female Rufous Hummingbird
There is no better
place in the U.S. to see rare Hummingbirds than at Beatty's Guest Ranch.
I read about Beatty's in the book "Fifty Places To Go Birding Before You Die" and also in one of my favorite magazines "Birds & Blooms" (June-July 2008). I knew when I planned my trip to southern Arizona that I would have to search
out Beatty's. When I first started to drive up the gravel road to the top of Miller Canyon I wondered if I was heading
in the right direction. There were just a few primitive direction signs along the side of the road. I was expecting, due to
the amount of visitors to Beatty's, to see "business like" signage. As I pulled up in front of Beatty's
I recognized the wooden archway covered with vines that I had seen in "Bird's & Blooms". Nothing fancy
here. Beatty's website states that, "eco-tourism is a way of life, not a business".
There is a small white ranch house, iron fence, wild over-grown flowers, a pond with water lilies, apple trees, and a gazebo
out front with incredible hummers flying in and out to several feeders. On the archway I noticed a little metal box, labeled, "Sugar Donations" where folks can help with the cost of feeding hummers. As I walked through the archway I was
enticed to buy fruit and honey that was grown on site and displayed in a cardboard box on a small wooden table. After paying
a few dollars I was on my way to a hummingbird paradise! I walked through a couple of gates, an apple orchard and walked across
a wooden bridge over a stream. I then continued up a steep stone and dirt pathway up a hill lined with a rope-handrail located
not far behind the ranch house. I reached the top and I knew it was worth the short steep hike. There were 15-20 feeders hung
under an oak tree canopy swarming with hummingbirds that I have never seen before. There were White-eared, Magnificent, Rufous,
Blacked-chinned, Costa's, and Anna's to name a few. It rained off and on
for a couple hours as I sat on a wood bench taking photos and enjoying some of
the most beautiful birds in the world. What a privilege it was for me to visit Beatty's Guest Ranch for a few hours.
Make sure to check out Bird's & Blooms Magazine and Website.