Birding Blog Archives

March 28th, 2011
Tags: ,

PLEASE HELP! Ash Canyon B&B Under Threat!


Broad-billed Hummingbird at Ash Canyon B&B

From: Mary Jo Ballator

Potential Closure of Ash Canyon B&B Feeding Station

Dear Birders,

Due to a  neighborhood dispute regarding public access over a private road easement, there is a very real possibility that I may have to close my property to birders after nine years of continuous operation with no complaints or opposition.

I have already asked for support from a few of you, and I am very grateful for having received that support.  The opposition has continued to escalate, however, and I am now asking for help from the extended birding community, both with e-mailing letters of support and attendance at the upcoming hearing on April 12 at 10:00 a.m. in Bisbee.  I have been advised to get as many people as possible to show up at the hearing and to speak on behalf of keeping this bird feeding station open.  If you wish to see this place continue, *now* is the critical time to act.

I am hopeful that an overwhelming show of support from the birding community will go a long way toward convincing the Board of Supervisors that my feeding station is a community resource that serves many people even beyond the birding community and helps to generate a sustainable economic base for Cochise County, as well as serving the birds of these Sky Islands and beyond.

Please email if you require additional information, or if you can help.

Letters (via e-mail) should contain a reference to Ash Canyon B&B and my parcel number 104-21-022, and should be written by Friday April 1, as they need time to be compiled and submitted to the decision makers well in advance of the meeting.  Please send me a copy, because some previous letters of support evidently got lost in the ether. Send e-mail to  Mr. Keith Dennis, with a CC to me,

Attend the Board of Supervisors meeting and sign up to speak at the meeting.  Get there a few minutes early so you can fill out a form to speak, briefly, at the meeting.

Board of Supervisors Meeting time/location:

Tuesday, April 12, 10:00 a.m.
1415 Melody Lane
Board of Supervisor Room, Building G
Bisbee, AZ  85603

Thank you for your continued support and consideration.

Mary Jo

Mary Jo Ballator, Host
Ash Canyon Bed & Breakfast
5255 E. Spring Road
Hereford, AZ  85615


Just to add to Mary Jo’s rallying call, this is not only an opportunity to safeguard Ash Canyon B&B, but also a way of letting Cochise County know just how popular birding is in the region and how important it is economically. I get the impression this is not generally understood in Cochise County.

I will be attending and speaking at the hearing on April 12, as will Dr. Paul Green, Executive Director of Tucson Audubon Society. We have two more spaces in the car, traveling from Tucson. Please let me know if you’d like to come along. I’ll also be happy to arrange carpooling for more people from the Tucson direction.


PLEASE try to make it to the hearing on April 12 to register your support for Mary Jo, Ash Canyon B&B and birding in general. If you can’t make it, PLEASE write as soon as possible (details in Mary Jo’s post, below). We need to make our very substantial presence felt RIGHT NOW!

If we don’t get a positive result, not only will we lose Ash Canyon B&B, which will be a disaster for Mary Jo, and for the local, national and international birding community, but it could also be the thin end of the wedge with more closures of birding sites to come. We simply CAN NOT let this happen! Please get involved.

Many thanks,
Richard Fray

4 comments to PLEASE HELP! Ash Canyon B&B Under Threat!

  • It would be a shame to lose Ash Canyon B&B to the birding community. In August 2006 while traveling with a couple buddies though SE AZ, this was one of 5 stops we made to rack up a whopping 14 species of hummingbirds in one day! We had nine species of hummingbirds at Ash Canyon B&B, including our only Lucifer (2), Calliope (2), and Costa’s (1) for the trip, as well as a spectacular hybrid Magnificent X Berryline Hummingbird and a couple Crissal Thrashers to boot. An unforgettable experience at an amazing bird location, and Ash Canyon B&B is a MUST for birders visiting Cochise County and environs. Unfortunately I cannot show in person to the 12 April meeting in Bisbee, so I hope this letter gets passed on showing my support for the preservation of the Ash Canyon Bed and Breakfast.

  • I am sorry I will be unable to attend the meeting. I have shared it on my Facebook page and sent an email also. I am currently living in Andover, MA but hope to return to SE AZ in the fall where we have a house. Cochise county is am awesome place to bird. I cannot believe anyone is giving Mary Jo such a hard time. Please keep us updated on how things go!

  • Hi Mary Jo,

    this is a great shame! I am saddened to hear of the dispute and I hope it is resolved to everybody’s satisfaction. My wife and I visited Arizona in August 2006 and we visited your feeding station on 15th. You were very friendly and welcoming, making our trip to your state even more enjoyable. We thoroughly enjoyed watching the birds around your property, including a gorgeous male Lucifer Hummingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and Scott’s Oriole, which were all life birds for us both.
    We came to Arizona primarily to watch birds and spent a considerable amount of money traveling around the state, enjoying those birds and the beautiful scenery. I am positive that your establishment goes a long way to contributing a significant amount of tourist dollars to the local community, which in light of the current economic downturn is an extremely important source of revenue. While in your area we visited several restaurants, we re-fueled our rental car, we stayed at a guest ranch and we purchased gifts at Wild Birds Unlimited.
    I sincerely hope that common sense will prevail and the situation is resolved so that your property will remain at the top of many birders agendas when they visit Arizona.
    My wife and I are looking forward to our next visit to the state and hope we can stop by and visit you again.

    good luck and best wishes

    Andy Wraithmell
    Tallahassee, Florida

  • Rick Holbrook

    Thanks for posting this on BIRDCHAT I made the mistake of sending it to Laurie for approval hand have yet to get a response. I know that CALBIRDS had a post about it. I will send a letter to Mr. Dennis affirming my support. Ash Canyon is a totally amazing place.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>