Yet another project-in-the-works is a summation of our 18 years of researching the birds of the Diamond A Ranch, a.k.a. the Gray Ranch. Alan Craig and I were very fortunate to have lived for a year on the ranch, which lies at a major juncture of several important habitats. Here in the uplands the flora and fauna of the Rocky Mountains meet that of Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental. In the lowlands, elements of the Chihuahuan Desert blend with those of the Sonoran Desert. The ranch even preserves a relict Great Plains grassland, the only locale in the US where the rare White-sided Jackrabbit lives. (The related jackrabbit with white sides further west in Arizona is the Antelope Jackrabbit.)
Northern Goshawk, pen & ink by NarcaBecause the ranch has such diverse habitats, the total number of bird species documented for the Diamond A is just over 300, a remarkable total for any inland area in the United States. Breeding species of special note include Northern Goshawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Gould’s Wild Turkey, Elf Owl, Lucifer Hummingbird, Greater Pewee, Buff-breasted Flycatcher, Mexican Chickadee, Red-faced Warbler, Botteri’s Sparrow and Yellow-eyed Junco.
Please note that the Diamond A is privately owned and now controls visitation very strictly, due to current problems with drug smuggling along the Mexican border and other issues.
Visits are generally no longer possible. The good news for birders is that all of the species on the ranch can be seen elsewhere (mostly in Arizona) with far less difficulty than is the case on the Diamond A, where the terrain is very rugged, and access roads or trails are few.