Northern Arizona Bird Sanctuary Program



Pinyon Jay


Northern Arizona Audubon Bird Sanctuaries (NAABS) are either places certified by the Northern Arizona Audubon Society (NAAS) to provide regionally important bird habitat and exceptional bird watching opportunities or Important Bird Areas (IBA). These places are reasonably accessible to the public and possess one or more of the following attributes:

  • A regionally high number of birds
  • A regionally high diversity of bird species
  • One or more regionally noteworthy species regularly present at least seasonally



Purpose of certification

The mission of the NAAS is “To promote the understanding and appreciation of birds and other wildlife and the conservation and restoration of their natural habitats.” In support of this mission, NAAS recognizes that “adopting” a sanctuary location will provide higher levels of public recognition, increased volunteer commitment from NAAS members and an overall improvement in community support for habitat preservation.



In selecting a location for Sanctuary designation, NAAS recognizes that such a designation comes with responsibilities. Such responsibilities will typically include the following:

  • Appointment of a Site Steward
  • Implementation of a public outreach or education program
  • Implementation of regular field trips where the focus is on public participation.
  • Implementation of maintenance work days (at least annually)
  • Development of an on-going relationship with the site Owner.
  • Where appropriate, support for enhanced facilities at the Site.


Certification process

Any NAAS member may nominate a site to the Board for certification. Nominators should be prepared to assist in gathering necessary supporting information as needed.

  • Throughout the nomination and certification process, the relevant private land owner(s) or public land manager(s) should be kept informed and ideally recruited as supporters.
  • Site must have defined geographical boundaries and be where NAAS designation will likely have a material impact on community support. Large undefined areas such as Upper Oak Creek are not appropriate sites for consideration.
  • The Board should have a reasonable expectation that the responsibilities noted above can be met within the context of the Chapters limited resources
  • In light of the level of commitment that such designation implies, the Board of Directors shall have the sole responsibility for awarding such designation.



After certification, NAAS will publicize the site on its website with information to include at minimum:

  • Directions to the site, preferably including a map
  • A verbal description, including the unusual attributes that make the site special
  • It is desirable, but not required, that a checklist of birds be developed. Obviously this requires available recent data/knowledge on species and numbers. To support checklist maintenance, birders should be encouraged to report sightings on eBird or other appropriate listing service.
  • Photographs


Additionally, other publicity opportunities such as newspaper articles, radio/TV stories, speaking engagements, etc., will be pursued.

If funding is available, printed material such as brochures and checklists will be produced for public distribution. Appropriate informative signage at the site is desirable.

Regular publicized guided bird walks will be conducted.


Site Steward

Each certified site will have a person appointed as site steward, whose duties include:

  • Act as the key NAAS representative with the land Owner
  • Executing and/or coordinating the publicity activities above
  • Coordinate with the Field Trips Chair on implementing a program of trips
  • Monitoring the site on a regular basis to identify any new concerns and any needed maintenance or restoration and communicate this to the Owner, as appropriate
  • Coordinate periodic work days to provide volunteer maintenance
  • Work with the Education Chair to implement public education programs
  • Prepare an annual plan of NAAS tasks for Board approval

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