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5-Minute Hotspot Watch

It’s fun and easy to count hummingbirds at a hotspot!
You can do a 5-Minute Hotspot Watch at any location where you expect hummingbirds to appear, be it at a hotspot you created, or at a public hotspot. If you can see a hummingbird feeder and/or a few nectar producing plants, you are in a great place for a Hotspot Watch.

Need help identifying those hummingbirds? See our identification chart here.

A Watch can be done any day at any time. The key is that you watch for exactly 5 minutes, record all the individual hummingbirds you see, and stay in one spot. Enter the hummingbirds you observe (you can optionally add any other birds you see and identify, but focus on the hummers!) into an eBird checklist or onto a paper datasheet. Try to avoid double counting any individuals – if the same bird comes back multiple times within 5 minutes, it only counts once. Each new bird gets added to the list. Use your best judgement if you’re not completely sure. You can do this as often as you want and in as many places as you want. The more 5-Minute Hotspot Watches you do, the more we will understand the densities of southeast Arizona’s hummingbirds.

eBird instructions: Please mark the checklist as “Stationary” (indicating you were in one location and not walking around) and duration as 5 minutes. Once you submit your list, you’ll need to login to the eBird website (unfortunately can’t do this through the app) to My eBird, then click on “Manage My Checklists,” and finally, find the Hotspot Watch checklist you created and click to  “share” it with the username TucsonYOH. That’ll bring your checklist directly to us.

Datasheet instructions: Please fill out the site information before you start your Watch – date, location, all the formalities so we know where and when the Watch took place. Start your timer and make tickmarks for each individual you see. Once the 5 minutes are up, count your tally marks and note the total in the Total column. You can and email your datasheet, bring it in, or go online to enter the data at:

New to eBird? No Problem!
For both new and experienced birders eBird is a great resource. It is completely free to use and gives you great information to explore while also making it easy for you to report your bird sightings. The website gives you great statistics such as how many species you have seen this month etc. and your observations are also used for science and conservation.

If you have never used eBird before the first thing you need to do is go to and make a free account. Then you will able to submit bird checklists through the website or you can download the free app – eBird Mobile which makes doing a 5 Minute Hotspot Watch even easier as your location, the date and time can be automatically entered by your phone.

Here are some great resources to help you get started with


Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120 Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447