Arizona Field Ornithologist ID Challenges

AZFO Annual Meetings:



20-22 October 2017 

By Chrissy Kondrat-Smith and Lauren Harter 

The AZFO state meeting for 2017 is heading over to Cottonwood! Our 11th annual meeting will be held on 20-22 October and based at the Quality Inn, minutes from historic downtown Cottonwood and Clarkdale. The Cottonwood area features a good number of birding hotspots such as Dead Horse Ranch State Park, Tavasci Marsh and Mingus Mountain, not to mention the underexplored areas! The meeting will feature mini-field expeditions to various places on Friday and Sunday. Species plentiful in this area include Bald Eagle, Common Black Hawk, Belted Kingfisher, Bell's Vireo and Yellow-breasted Chat.  

A special feature of this annual meeting will be a kayak birding expedition led by Doug Von Gausig.

This four-hour trip down the Verde River will follow a stretch from the Lower Tapco River Access Point (TapcoRAP) above Clarkdale to the Tuzigoot River Access Point (TuziRAP), a distance of about 3.5 miles through one of the most diverse, pristine stretches of the river. This stretch is home to several pairs of breeding Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Willow Flycatchers. Doug will cover a range of topics including birds, archeology, riparian ecology, water law, and biodiversity. 

The Saturday program will include presentations about ongoing research on the status, behavior, and distribution of Arizona birds; a chance to put your skills to the test with audio and visual identification contests; and opportunities to learn about how you can become more involved with AZFO. Thanks to the generous support of the Maricopa Audubon Society, we are also able to offer an advanced eBird workshop given by Ian Davies, eBird Project Coordinator for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Our keynote speaker at the Saturday evening banquet will be Doug Von Gausig, Clarkdale’s advocate for the bird population in Arizona and Mayor of Clarkdale. Join us as he shares his insights on the avifauna of the Verde Valley, especially threatened and endangered species, and how the huge conservation efforts centered on the Verde River have affected avifauna. 

The annual meeting will be here before you know it! Don’t hesitate to register for the weekend meeting, the eBird workshop and/or the kayak expedition. A group rate is available at the Quality Inn through the end of August. Further information about the Saturday program, workshop and trips can be found here: More details to come soon! 

Presentations – If you are interested in presenting a paper or displaying a poster on the identification, status or distribution of Arizona birds, please check out our Call for Papers and Posters at  Papers and posters may range from technical reports of original research to general surveys and studies.

Please submit an abstract by 1 September 2017 to Jennie MacFarland at Abstracts of papers and posters from past AZFO meetings are available at 

Elections – Board elections will be held at the annual meeting. Two positions are open: Membership Secretary and Board Member. If you or someone you know is interested in serving as an AZFO Officer, Board Member or Committee member in the upcoming year, please contact Chrissy Kondrat-Smith at Our current officers, other board members and committee heads are listed in the left column. To all the past and present board and committee members, THANK YOU for your dedication and service to the Arizona Field Ornithologists! 

Youth Scholarships – AZFO is proud to encourage and support young people with an interest in Arizona birds. As part of our goal to involve a younger generation in AZFO’s activities, starting in 2014 we began offering scholarships to students (middle school through college undergraduate) to attend the annual meeting. Since then, the scholarship program has helped and encouraged nine students to attend the meetings, where they have enjoyed opportunities to meet new friends and mentors, see new birds, learn from the science sessions, and get involved with AZFO and other organizations. 

Each scholarship includes $150 for transportation, a two-night hotel stay, admission to the banquet, and a one-year membership in AZFO. Following the meeting, recipients will be expected to submit an essay describing their experiences at the meeting, to be posted on the AZFO website. Prior years’ essays can be read at Application materials can be found at; students should apply by 20 September 2017. The AZFO scholarship program is generously supported by the Maricopa Audubon Society. 

Where to stay - For additional hotels go to: 

*Quality Inn Cottonwood – Register before September 1st, 2017 to get $89.00 rate. No code needed, mention you are attending the AZFO Annual Meeting.
Nonsmoking, no pets, free Wi-Fi, and Q Cafe Breakfast included. Central to all Verde Valley sights.

301 W. Highway 89A, Cottonwood

Best Western Cottonwood Inn
After a fun-filled day experiencing the Verde Valley, relax at Cottonwood’s only 3-Diamond hotel, Best Western Cottonwood Inn.

993 S. Main St., Cottonwood

Best Western Inn of Sedona
Resort-style property with unbeatable red rock views, terraced decks, heated outdoor pool, walking trails and wireless high-speed Internet.

1200 W. Highway 89A, Sedona

Cottonwood Hotel
The Cottonwood Hotel is a RARE 1-of-a-Kind lodging experience and place to stay, blending the comforts of today with a 'Trip to the Past'.

930 N. Main St., Old Town Cottonwood

Tavern Hotel
Welcome to The Tavern Hotel, nestled in the heart of Old Town Cottonwood's dining, shopping and entertainment district. This luxury boutique hotel features deluxe accommodations, combining historic details with chic elegance.

914 N. Main Street, Old Town Cottonwood

View Motel
Noted for our quiet and comfortable atmosphere. Located up and away from traffic, we offer the best view in Cottonwood.

818 S. Main St., Cottonwood

Jerome Grand Hotel
200 Hill St., Jerome

Lights of Jerome Inn

A unique private "Green" Bed and Breakfast Inn centrally located in a quiet rural neighborhood in Clarkdale, the foothills of Jerome.  We're close to everything in the Verde Valley and only 5 miles from Dead Horse State Park.  Our full one bedroom suite accommodation offers a private deck with views of Mingus Mtn and Jerome, living area, kitchenette, luxury king bedroom and roomy bath... with our bountiful gourmet continental breakfast delivered right to you each morning…we're the perfect home-base for your stay in the Verde Valley.

1126 Valley View Rd
Clarkdale, AZ 86324

Little Daisy Motel
34 S. Main St., Cottonwood

The Lodge at Cliff Castle Casino
Steps away from Cliff Castle Casino. The Lodge offers 80 rooms with southwestern decor, convenient dining, meeting rooms, banquet facilities, and a free 24-hour shuttle to the casino.

333 Middle Verde Road, Camp Verde

Pines Motel
920 S. Camino Real, Cottonwood


Arizona State Parks Reservations Desk (520) 586-2283. We're available to help 7 days a week from 8am to 5pm Arizona time.

Campers or Tent:  is available at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. Sites include a table and grill. Water and showers are available. Campsites can be reserved online or by calling the reservation call center. There is a $5.00 non-refundable fee for each camp site reservation. Hook-up sites with electricity are $25 and $30.00 per night. Non-hookup or tent sites are $15 per night Camping fees are paid directly to the park. Please check for any changes in the fees. The park also has cabins to rent within a short walk to the River Day Use area

Camping Cabin Loop: 8 one-room log camping cabins are available at Dead Horse Ranch State Park. The cabin circle is tucked away from the other campgrounds for an ideal getaway for a weekend — or a week.

The cabins are variably furnished with a full-size bed, a bunk bed, table and chairs, dresser-drawer, ceiling fan with overhead light, and electricity. Cabins now have heating and cooling! 

Campers must supply their own linens. Each cabin also has a barbecue and picnic table outside, plus a small individual fire ring. Family-style shower facilities are only a short walk from all of the cabins. There is an electrified ramada with barbecues that can be shared by cabin guests. 

Cabin Fee: $60 per night. $5 reservation fee. Two nights’ minimum stay on weekends. Tents: There is a tent fee of $15.00 per night. The tent must be declared upon reservation. The tent must be placed within 10 feet of the cabin. There is a $5 reservation fee per reserved cabin. These must be reserved in advance.

If you have any questions, contact Chrissy Kondrat-Smith at Thank you. We look forward to seeing you there!

Annual Meetings Feature:  

Expert presentations on identification, status and distribution of Arizona birds

Presentations on where to go birding in Arizona by local experts

Reports on AZFO Activities such as Field Expeditions, Seasonal Reports

Sightings Database, the Online Journal, Web Page, Censuses

Find out how you can get involved with AZFO

Report from the Arizona Bird Committee

Bird identification quizzes

Sunday half-day field expeditions led by local experts

A chance to meet new friends and visit with old ones

Past Meetings Summaries:

2016: Yuma

2015: Show Low

2014: Globe-Miami

2013: Sierra Vista

2012: Lake Havasu City

2011: Phoenix

2010: Prescott

2009: Tucson

2008: Flagstaff (no summary)

2007: Gilbert (no summary)




Index of Presentations:

Oral and Posters click here

Youth Scholarship:

For more info click here

Recipients Essays click here


Tufted Flycatcher
Boyce Thompson Arboretum
Photo by Jack Holloway


Lapland Longspur
Evergreen Turf Farm
Photo by Virginia Fairchild


Orchard Oriole

Queen Creek
Photo by Don Sejkora




All photos are copyrighted© by photographer

© Copyright 2014

Updated Saturday, March 8, 2014