Fifteen Years of Counting Winter Raptors at Santa Cruz Flats, Pinal County, AZ

Articles | By Doug Jenness | Accepted July 05, 2020

Between 2006 and 2020 volunteers conducted an annual 1-day January raptor count at the Santa Cruz Flats in Pinal County, Arizona. Surveying designated sections of this agricultural area, teams counted wintering raptors. The data show that numbers fluctuate from year to year, but discernible trends are not evident. Exceptions are White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), observed in early years of the count but not reported since 2009, and Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway), whose numbers have substantially increased. Placed in the context of broader knowledge about raptors at this location, these data set a potentially useful baseline for evaluating plans that could significantly alter the habitat and wildlife at the Flats.