Sunday, March 6, 2022

Paton Center for Hummingbirds

Corona de Tucson

March 6, 2022

It has been a quiet and restful week around the oasis.  Joe had both his MOHs surgeries and another biopsy on Monday with instructions to take it easy for a few days.  

We don't have any trouble around our house taking it easy especially when it is doctor's orders.  

Outside activities are  limited as the antibiotic Joe was given has directions to avoid excessive sunlight.  

Stitches come out on the 16th.

We had some days with highs in the 80s.  Dover prefers her naps in the sunshine and I spent a considerable amount of time in my rocker on the patio.

After hibernating all winter, the bees have awakened.  They are enjoying the oranges and I often see them on the water's edge in the birdbath drinking.     

It is also time for Hummingbird moths to emerge from their cocoon.  I was lucky enough to see one hovering over the lantana this week.

Hummingbird moths have a long proboscis for feeding on nectar.


As members of the sphinx family, they have heavy bodies and long front wings that are mostly transparent.

Spring is definitely just around the corner !

On Friday, we rode with Randy to The Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia, AZ.  

Can you believe we have visited Tucson for all these years and have owned a home here for a year and we had never been to Patagonia ?  I can't believe it either !  

The Paton Center for Hummingbirds is a place to enjoy, explore and experience the special birds of Southwest Arizona.   Gates are open from sunrise to sunset. It is free, but donations to the "Sugar Fund" help maintain the grounds, feed the birds, improve the habitat, and provide education and recreation programs.  

It all began with Wally and Marion Paton, homeowners with a big heart for birds and gardening, in 1973.  

They invited birders to their yard and thru the years added a canopy, benches, bird books, more and more feeding stations, water features (fountains) and a chalk board so visitors could record their sightings.  After their death (2001 and 2009), the home was acquired (in 2014) by the Tucson Audubon Society with the help from many generous donations and foundations.  To date, 224 bird species have been reported visiting this cozy yard.

We stood for awhile under the pavilion enjoying the bird songs and soft chatter from folks who seemed to be regular visitors.  I heard someone say the name of each bird as they appeared in the trees or feeders.  The White-breasted Nuthatches, Goldfinches, Cardinals, Broad-billed Hummingbirds, and Anna's Hummingbirds were very active.  

As I was snapping away and excited to see my first White-breasted Nuthatch, a bystander approached softly to say there was a RARE...definitely music to my ears when birding...Violet-crowned Hummingbird in the tree.

As you can see, my attempts to capture this rare sighting in the tree lacks clarity. I tried not to get in panic mode and was very happy when he came to the feeder.   So what makes this bird rare, you might ask.  The Violet-crowned Hummingbird is a Mexican species that barely reaches the border of the southwestern United States.  It is the only hummingbird in the U.S. that lacks a colorful gorget (throat patch). They prefer canyons at an elevation from about 3940 to 5600 feet where they have a particular affinity for sycamore trees.  They feed on nectar and small insects.     

While there, we checked out the Paul Baird Trail.     

Once we cleared the mesquite grove there was no shade and we turned around.  

Patagonia, AZ is also home to the Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve.  It began in 1969 with 312 acres of property near the creek.  Since that time it has grown several times over and has been designated a National Natural Landmark.  The Paul Baird Trail connects to the preserve. 

We ended this wonderful outing at Gathering Grounds for grilled sandwiches and slaw.  

And I just had to make a quick stop at the Patagonia Trading Post...wet my whistle just enough to know I want to return to this quirky little town of less that 1,000 residents.  

I am way happy to report taxes are done, but only because we had motivation and support from the pups.   Jack insists on sitting behind me in my chair and the girls nap under the table.  They are never very far away !  

I can't believe we turned the page on the calendar and already another week just flew by.  Until next time, 

The Paton Center for Hummingbirds is a global birding destination with thousands of birders visiting from all over the world every year.  I have to pinch myself sometimes when I think this is practically in our backyard !  

Book room/reading room at the Trading Post 


Thanks again was a wonderful morning !


  1. How cool that you got to see the rare hummingbird! We will have to visit Patagonia again. Have you been to the Indian flute factory there? I own one of their flutes--haven't learned to play it--but I enjoy looking at it! :) Glad Joe is on the mend!

    1. Thanks Janna…a couple of days of antibiotics and Joe is done for now! I spent awhile reading all about High Spirits Flutes. Interesting history and story about them. I actually played the flute in high school one year. We will definitely be checking them out. So appreciate the mention!

  2. What a great find in your own backyard! The violet-crowned hummer makes it all the more special!
    Glad to hear Joe is on the mend. Strange to live in AZ and have to stay out of the sun :)

    1. Thanks Jeff. He has 1 1/2 days of antibiotics so hopefully we will be out and about soon! Patagonia is well worth a visit…small, but packed full of fun things to do and see!

  3. I Love little Patagonia! The birding center is such a peaceful place, punctuated with burst of excitement when something rare arrives! The town is a fun place to stroll around in and have a little goodie to eat. Glad you found it.

    Isn't it nice to have company while taking care of the everyday things of life. So comforting to have them close by.

    1. Me too Sue and I am hoping to return to Patagonia to explore more. The pups are loyal companions as you very well know. It seems the older they get, the closer they want to be. I can’t imagine life without a pup.