During the various parts of their life cycle (breeding, nesting, wintering, feeding, and migrating), birds need different areas and habitats with a variety of resources for food and shelter. Habitation degradation and loss due to changes in land-use and development have affected bird populations, with some species dropping to dangerously low levels, courting extinction. Like many national park areas, Petrified Forest National Park provides a unique place of protection and preservation. Here, birds can find food and shelter that may not be available in other regions on their journeys from habitat to habitat. Patches of healthy, undeveloped habitats are found in the modern fragmented landscape, connected by corridors such as Petrified Forest National Park. Petrified Forest has a variety of habitats.
Raptors, songbirds, and ground birds can be found in the grassland. The riparian corridor of Puerco River provides food and shelter for year-round residents as well as migrants such as warblers, vireos, avocets, killdeer, and others. The exotic and native trees and shrubs around the Visitor Center and Rainbow Forest Museum provide home for migrants and residents such as western tanagers, hermit warblers, and house finches. The park also offers sightings of vagrant shore birds and rare Eastern birds not seen often in Arizona. Rarities, such as black-throated blue warbler, have been found by Maricopa Audubon Society members. September and early October seem to be the best time to visit the area to see these fascinating vagrants. Like the canary in the mine, birds gauge the health and safety of our environment. By watching birds, noting species, and the migration of species, we can understand the changes in our environment. Preservation and protection of healthy corridors such as Petrified Forest National Park provide food and shelter for a diversity of birds and other species.