Maricopa Audubon Society Birds in Maricopa County

Welcome to Maricopa Audubon Society (MAS), a chapter of the National Audubon Society in the Phoenix metropolitan area with 2,500 members.

Though southeast Arizona is the most well-known Arizona region for birds, many of the same species are found in the Phoenix area. In recent years, we have sighted the Roseate Spoonbill, Brown Thrasher and other unusual species.

Our Mission Statement:

Maricopa Audubon Society is an organization of volunteers dedicated to the enjoyment of birds and other wildlife with a primary focus on the protection and restoration of the habitat of the Southwest through fellowship, education, and community involvement.

Please see information on Christmas Bird Counts here.

Please see information on the December 2, 2017 Gila River Indian Community Winter Bird Count here.

Maricopa Audubon Society holds an honored place just behind the color guard because of the monumental efforts by many Maricopa Audubon Society members who valiently fought and defeated the egregious plan to dam the Salt and Verde rivers which would have wiped out the desert nesting Bald Eagles in the area. For more information on the Orme Dam Victory Parade, visit the Yavapai Nation website.

Resolution Copper Tailings

Artist rendering of mine tailings from Resolution Copper Mine in proposed site south of Superstition Wilderness, north of Boyce Thompson Arboretum.



Frank Welsh

Frank Welsh Obituary

1934 - 2017

Welsh, Frank, 82, a great life died on 1/22/2017, in Phoenix, AZ. Frank was born on August 22,1934, to Margaret and Perry Welsh, in Philadelphia, PA. He received his civil engineering degree from Villanova University and his juris doctorate from ASU. Frank served in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, in Korea, 1954-56.Frank was cured of his bachelor life on 11/22/2003, when he married Barbara. Other survivors include brother Joseph (Dee) Welsh and sisters Kathleen Kelley, Mary Ann (John) Meyer, Margaret Welsh (David Johnsen) and Theresa Noraka. He is also survived by 10 nieces and nephews and 15 great-nieces and nephews with whom he shared his fondness for reptiles and amphibians. They fondly remember Frank as witty Irish-American to the core, sing-along leader, avid herpetologist, Sierra Club hike leader, economic and environmental activist, an inspiration to a wide circle of friends. 

Frank was an internationally recognized authority on water resource analysis. His career spanned time with the Corps of Engineers, U.S. Forest Service, City of Tempe, Maricopa Audubon Society, legal consultant, Phoenix President-Society of Professional Engineers, Young Republicans, and executive director of CCAP - a taxpayer group opposed to boondoggle water projects.

Frank was the author of the 1985 book, "How To Create a Water Crisis." He was a leader in the defeat of the Orme Dam, Cliff Dam and Rio Salado Project, each a major victory. His passion was working on behalf of the public and Nature.

Donations in memory of Frank Welsh can be made to: Sierra Club-Grand Canyon Chapter, 514 W. Roosevelt St., Phoenix 85003. Or, Muhammad Ali Parkinson's Center, Attn: N. Bivens, 240 W. Thomas Rd, #302, Phoenix 85013.

The memorial service is at 10:30am, Tuesday, 2/7/2017, St. Patrick's Chapel, 10815 N. 84th St., Scottsdale. A reception follows. Internment will be private. Please visit for online condolences.



Shop Fry's, Support MAS

Would you like an easy way to support Maricopa Audubon Society’s conservation and
education outreach programs? 
Link your Fry's Food Card to #89166 Maricopa Audubon!
It will only take 5 minutes and cost you nothing! Each time you use your Fry's V.I.P. card,
you earn rewards for MAS!
Go to:
Make sure you have a Fry's VIP card. 
Create an online account using your email address and a password.
Select the 'Register' link. 
Enter your Fry's card # (your 10 digit phone # will also work if you use it as an Alternate ID).
Select a Fry's store where you typically shop based on your zip code. 
Scroll down to the 'Community Rewards' link. 
Under 'Find your Organization' enter 89166
Click on the button to select Maricopa Audubon. Click “Enroll”.

You must re-enroll each year to continue earning rewards for MAS.

Solari Bells

Maricopa Audubon Society also receives a designated percent of each sale of Solari Cause Bells.



December 4, 2016

CANNON BALL, North Dakota — The secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers told the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe on Sunday that the current route for the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline will be denied.



Oak Flat listed in

National Register of Historic Places

In March of 2016, the National Park Service officially acknowledged the historic significance of Oak Flat Campground, listing it as the Chi’chil Bildagoteel Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.




Inside the Apache fight against development that inspired Standing Rock



Here is a link to the short film on Oak Flat by ASU School of Sustainability student,  Brynn Szukala.

save oak flat

November 9, 2015



Released June 14, 2015

Oak Flat and Rio Tinto: The Law, the Lies, and the Queen Valley Confrontation

A sneak peek into "An American Battle Cry" featuring interviews with Robert A. Williams Jr., Forest Archeologist Scott Wood, Curt Shannon, Roy Chavez, Dr. John Weber, and drone-captured footage of block cave destruction. Queen Valley residents join the fight to protect their homes, ending in a direct confrontation with Rio Tinto.


Ezekiel Kelly

Oak Flat




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Bob Witzeman

May 7, 1927- August 30, 2014

The pillar of conservation of our chapter passed away peacefully, leaving behind his family and an Audubon chapter forever beholden to him for his monumental efforts to preserve species and habitats of this beautiful state. Bob served in the Navy in 1945, graduated from Oberlin College in 1950, and Case Western Reserve Medical School in 1954. He moved to Phoenix in 1958 and practiced medicine as an anesthesiologist for 30 years. During his career and retirement he devoted his life to conservation. While serving as president and conservation chairman for the Maricopa Audubon Society, he was involved in saving the desert nesting bald eagle and the Fort McDowell Yavapai and Apache Indian land by helping to defeat the proposed Orme and Cliff Dams; and later in saving the endangered Red Squirrel and sacred Apache Indian sites on Mount Graham; and in saving important habitat and a sacred Apache Indian site at Oak Flat from a destructive copper mine. He was an active birdwatcher who travelled widely throughout the world in search of birds and wildlife. Bob enjoyed photographing birds, butterflies, and dragonflies, and photographed several first state records of birds for Arizona. He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Janet, another pillar of our chapter; daughter, Karen and husband, Jack Rigney; son, Jeff and his wife, Kerry; his five grandchildren, Claire Rigney, Elaine Rigney, Michael Rigney, Connor Witzeman and Haley Witzeman, as well as three sisters, Mary Reinthal, Cile Rice and Alice Edwards and husband, Rich Edwards.

Memorial donations may be made to the Maricopa Audubon Society, c/o Vicki Hire, Treasurer, PO Box 603 Chandler, AZ 85244 or to the Center for Biological Diversity, P.O. Box 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710, or to the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, 202 E. McDowell Rd., Suite 277, Phoenix, AZ 85004.



Graphic Impact of Cattle Grazing on Riparian Ecosystems
High Resolution Version


Other Arizona Websites


Our chapter history is online. See interesting archives and chapter progress.

Maricopa Audubon Society History



Environmental Justice publishes essay on Bob Witzeman

Bob Witzeman

March 17, 2016. Sea World announces plans to phase out captive breeding and debasing entertainment using Orca whales. This happened three years after the release of Gabriela Cowperthwaite's 2013 documentary "Blackfish". Also on March 17, 2016, I learned that Joel Helfrich's essay on Bob Witzeman was published by Environmental Justice. Both stories are testament to the power of individuals who, with dogged determination and truth on their side, can be catalyst to sea change.

Please enjoy this outstanding essay about conservationist and hero, Dr. Bob Witzeman by Joel Helfrich, Professor of Anthropology, Sociology, History and Political Science at SUNY-Monroe Community College.


Coming Soon

Press Releases- Marciopa Audubon Society Volume I


Published by Bob Witzeman

We are active in habitat conservation for birds and other wildlife, with emphasis on riparian habitat, old-growth forest, and habitat used by endangered species. Our education committee sets up programs for local schools, and sponsors scholarships. We also sponsor numerous field trips throughout the year, mostly near the Phoenix metropolitan area, but also to other parts of Arizona and (occasionally) out of state.


Devils Canyon
This riparian treasure (pictured right) is threatened by Resolution Copper Mine. Devils Canyon runs south of US 60 just east of Oak Flat Campground.

Devils Canyon

Verde Salt Confluence.  The Salt River above Granite Reef

A Maricopa Audubon Society Success Story

The Salt River above Granite Reef Dam

This area is the site of the proposed Orme Dam, which would have flooded miles of critical riparian habitat on the Salt and Verde Rivers. Today, it is home to desert-nesting Bald Eagles and hundreds of other species of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians, arthropods, and plants that depend on this endangered riverine ecosystem. Maricopa Audubon was instrumental in stopping the dam project. In the background is Red (Sawik) Mountain, on lands of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

Take action to save our birds

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