The Paton Center for Hummingbirds

The Paton Center for Hummingbirds (the Paton Center) is located in Patagonia, southeastern Arizona, on 1.4 acres of riparian woodland along Sonoita Creek.   

The facility is the former house of Wally and Marion Paton, who began hosting birdwatchers in 1973. Wally and Marion's was the US's Violet-crowned Hummingbird spot.  

The Paton Center's signature bird is the Violet-crowned Hummingbird. This species is native to western Mexico and hardly enters the US, but the Paton Center feeders are the best and often only spot to see this gorgeous bird.   

Even though the Violet-crowned is the highlight, the Paton feeders have recorded 15 hummingbird species, 12 of which occur most years.  

Wildlife: Bobcat, Gray Fox, and Javelina (Collared Peccary) value Sonoita Creek's thick forests. “Coue's” White-tailed Deer, a dwarf subspecies, live in southern Arizona and are roughly half the size of those in the east.  

In between watching the hummingbird feeders, examine the center grounds' tiny pond for the Gila Topminnow, an endangered species found only in Arizona and New Mexico Gila River tributaries.  

Birding at the Paton Center is great year-round. With winter temperatures in the 60s, several sparrows and towhees join the native birds. Spring and October bring migrating warblers, tanagers, and buntings.  

Spring and October bring migrating warblers, tanagers, and buntings. Summer brings breeding Gray Hawks, Thick-billed Kingbirds, and Varied Buntings despite 90-degree temps. Hummingbirds are most abundant in late summer, with hundreds at feeders in mid- to late August.