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Welcome to El Rojo Grande Ranch – an on-line ranch website created by the builders and operators of El Rojo Grande Ranch during the 1990’s and early 2000’s – a part of Sedona’s history with the potential to become part of Sedona’s future.

The links to stories about ERG Ranch will be found here, check out how the ranch became a piece of the Sedona community, within the Northern Arizona communities and its’ El Rojo Grande Ranch Western Heritage. Always under construction, more stories to come!

Thank you to Arizona Highways and the Arizona Memory Project for storing the history of this great state!  


Here is a place to post news clippings and published stories about the Ranch when it was being built, the work with the U.S. Forest Service, the Land Exchange and the stories of intent and the will of our county ( Yavapai ), Click on the clippings to enlarge the picture.

August 10/1092

February 19, 1993

Vegetation Map of ERG Ranch



Overstory Species Combinations

See the map above

Color Key–Overstory
vegetation-map.jpg color_key–overstory
Shrub Species Combinations  Color Key–Shrubs
Shrub Species Combinations Color Key--Shrubs
Succulent Species Combinations Color Key–Succulents
Succulent Species Combinations Color Key--Succulents


This amazing report about the Butterfly life on El Rojo Grande Ranch is more unique than you can imagine. What once catches your eye as a white and blue butterfly you can now identify during a hike across this amazing land. Hover your mouse over the space below to find the link:

    Butterflies Survey ERG  – an amazing report

A Guide To Common Butterflies At El Rojo Grande Ranch

By Amber Fields, Claire Fuller and Dave Huffman

Hover your mouse over Read Complete Guide to find the link (PDF’s File)

Here’s the background on the Queen Butterfly found on the Ranch

Why butterflies and moths are important

There are many reasons why butterflies and moths are important, both in their own right but also as quality of life indicators. The following are the main reasons for conserving butterflies and moths around the world.

Intrinsic value

  • Butterflies and moths are intrinsically valuable and are worthy of conservation in their own right.
  • Butterflies and moths are part of Life on Earth and an important component of its rich biodiversity.
  • They have been around for at least 50 million years and probably first evolved some 150 million years ago.
  • Butterflies and moths are a highly diverse group comprising over 250,000 species and make up around one quarter of all named species.
  • Butterflies are flagship species for conservation in general, and in particular for invertebrates.

Aesthetic value

  • Butterflies and moths are part of our natural heritage and have been studied for over 300 years.
  • Butterflies and moths are beautiful. Many are iconic and popular.
  • People like butterflies.
  • There are many references to butterflies and moths in literature, from the Bible through Shakespeare to modern day literature, and from poetry to musical lyrics.
  • Butterflies are used by advertisers and illustrators the world over as way of indicating that something is environmentally friendly.
  • Butterflies are often portrayed as the essence of nature or as representing freedom, beauty or peace.

Educational value

  • Butterflies and moths have fascinating life-cycles that are used in many countries to teach children about the natural world. The transformation from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis is one of the wonders of nature.
  • Other educational aspects include the intricate wing patterns and iridescence, and as examples of insect migration.

Scientific value

  • Butterflies (and moths to a lesser extent) are an extremely important group of ‘model’ organisms used, for centuries, to investigate many areas of biological research, including such diverse fields as navigation, pest control, embryology, mimicry, evolution, genetics, population dynamics and biodiversity conservation.
  • The long history and popularity of butterfly study have provided a unique data resource on an insect group unmatched in geographical scale and timescale anywhere in the world. This has proved extremely important for scientific research on climate change.

Ecosystem value

  • Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy environment and healthy ecosystems.
  • They indicate a wide range of other invertebrates, which comprise over two-thirds of all species.
  • Areas rich in butterflies and moths are rich in other invertebrates. These collectively provide a wide range of environmental benefits, including pollination and natural pest control.
  • Moths and butterflies are an important element of the food chain and are prey for birds, bats and other insectivorous animals (for example, in Britain and Ireland, Blue Tits eat an estimated 50 billion moth caterpillars each year).
  • Butterflies and moths support a range of other predators and parasites, many of which are specific to individual species, or groups of species.
  • Butterflies have been widely used by ecologists as model organisms to study the impact of habitat loss and fragmentation, and climate change.

Health value

  • People enjoy seeing butterflies both around their homes and in the countryside.
  • Over 10,000 people record butterflies and moths in the UK alone, involving getting outside and walking considerable distances. Over 850 sites are monitored each week in the UK and collectively volunteers have walked the equivalent of the distance to the moon counting butterflies.
  • Several hundreds of thousands of people garden for wildlife in the UK, many of them specifically for butterflies and moths.

Economic value

  • Thousands of people travel abroad each year looking for butterflies and moths. Eco-tours bring valuable income to many European countries and developing countries around the world (e.g. the valley of the butterflies in Rhodes and the Monarch roost in Mexico).
  • Every butterfly and moth has developed its own suite of chemicals to deter predators and parasites, find a mate, and overcome the chemical defences of its host plant. Each of these chemicals has a potential value and could be exploited economically.
  • The total number of moths recorded in Rothamsted trap samples has declined by a third since 1968.




This amazing report brings this news:

The broad diversity of bird species found on El Rojo Grande Ranch may be partly due to the proximity to Oak Creek Canyon, a designated Important Bird Area by the National Audobon Society, which serves as a significant migration corridor and is a premier riparian habitat corridor.  El Rojo Grande Ranch benefits by having many migrating species pass through that are on route to using this important Oak Creek canyon corridor.

Bird Survey By Kristen Pearson 

 Project Description:The purpose of this project was to survey all the bird species that use the diverse habitats of El Rojo Grande Ranch.  We sought to discover what habitat types each species were using, what time of year they occurred, and through observation, prior knowledge and literature research, what ecological role each species filled.  This data would then provide knowledge of the diversity and ecological health of the ranch, while providing viewers a bird species checklist to aid in finding the birds in their personal bird identification guide.   This data will also allow for insight into habitat limitations that could be improved on for greater abundance and diversity of certain bird species.


Surveys  We conducted 10 morning surveys and 1 evening survey, approximately one per month during March through November 2005.  The early morning surveys were conducted ½ hour after sunrise and ended by eleven a.m. when the bird activity decreased.  The ranch was broken up into 5 distinct habitat patches; riparian, pinyon-juniper, mesquite, picnic area and house/grounds.  Surveys were conducted by walking slowly through the habitat patches listening and looking for all bird species.  When a bird was either heard or seen, we recorded the species name, the number of individuals, the sex if known, which habitat type it was observed in and commented on any behaviors such as breeding, singing, feeding.

The one evening survey was conducted in May, 1 hour before sunset.  We surveyed for owls, which are active at night, by playing tapes of owl calls that encourage nearby owls to respond by calling back.  We played calls of three different owl species, the Great Horned Owl, Western Screech Owl and Flammulated Owl, which are all likely to be found in pinyon-juniper habitat around the Sedona area.   We surveyed along the red rock outcrop and followed the west road along the riparian corridor, stopping every 100m to play species calls, each three times with 1 minute between to allow for a response.  If owls were detected, we recorded the species, number heard, in which habitat they were detected and any observed behavioral comments.

Comprehensive list of species:  The following is a list of all birds seen and heard during our surveys.  We classified their abundance, seasonality, habitat and dietary requirements with the following designation:


Common– (c) present in proper habitat and season in moderate to large numbers

Uncommon-(u) present in proper habitat and season in small to moderate numbers

Rare-(r) present in proper habitat singly or in very small numbers


Winter-(w) present only in winter

Summer-(s) present only in summer

Migrant-(m) present in spring or fall

Permanent-(p) year round resident





Picnic Area=P


Dietary requirements:

Predator-preys on small birds, mammals, reptiles or fish

Granivore-eats seeds

Frugivore-eats fruit

Insectivore-eats insects/arthropods

Nectarivore-eats nectar

Omnivore-may eat seeds, fruit, insects and some small vertebrates


Species Abundance Season Habitat Diet





American Kestrel r p Predator
American Robin u w InsectivoreFrugivore
Anna’s hummingbird c p Nectarivore Insectivore
Ash-throated flycatcher c s Omnivore
Band-tailed Pigeon r m GranivoreFrugivore
Belted Kingfisher r* p PredatorInsectivore
Bewicks Wren c p Insectivore
Species Abundance Season Habitat Diet
Black-chinned Hummingbird c s NectarivoreInsectivore
Black-chinned Sparrow u s GranivoreInsectivore
Black-headed Grosbeak u s Omnivore
Black-throated gray Warbler r m, s Insectivore
Black Phoebe c p Insectivore
Brown-crested Flycatcher r s InsectivoreFrugivore
Brown-headed Cowbird u s GranivoreInsectivore
Blue Grosbeak u s InsectivoreGranivore
Bronzed Cowbird r s GranivoreInsectivore
Brewers Sparrow u m GranivoreInsectivore
Broad-tailed Hummingbird c s Nectarivore
Black-throated Sparrow c s InsectivoreGranivore
Bullock’s Oriole u s InsectivoreFrugivoreNectarivore
Bushtit c p Insectivore
Canyon Towhee c p GranivoreInsectivore
Canyon Wren u p Insectivore
Chipping Sparrow c p Granivore
Common Black Hawk r s Predator
Cliff Swallow r s Insectivore
*=depends on available water in Dry Beaver Creek
Species Abundance Season Habitat Diet
Coppers Hawk c p Predator
Common Poorwill u s Insectivore
Common Raven c p Omnivore
Crissal Thrasher u p Insectivore
Dark eyed Junco c w Granivore
Gambels Quail c p GranivoreFrugivore
Gila Woodpecker c p Omnivores
Gray Flycatcher u s Insectivore
Great Blue Heron r* p Predator
Great Horned Owl u p Predator
Greater Roadrunner u p Omnivore
Great-tailed Grackle u s Omnivore
Hermit Thrush r m InsectivoreFrugivore
House Finch c p Granivore
House Sparrow u p GranivoreInsectivore
Juniper Titmouse c p GranivoreInsectivore
Ladder-backed Woodpecker c p Insectivore
Lark Sparrow u m, s Granivore
Lazuli Bunting u m InsectivoreFrugivoreGranivore
Lesser Goldfinch c p Granivore
Lincoln Sparrow u m GranivoreInsectivore
Loggerhead Shrike m r InsectivorePredator
*=depends on available water in Dry Beaver Creek
Species Abundance Season Habitat Diet
Lucy’s Warbler c s Insectivore
MacGivillarysWarbler r m Insectivore
Mallard r* p InsectivoreGranivoreAquatic Vegetation
Mourning Dove c p Granivore
Northern Cardinal c p Granivore
Northern Flicker c w Insectivore
Northern Mockingbird c s InsectivoreFrugivore
Northern Rough-winged Swallow r s Insectivore
Phainopepla u m, s FrugivoreInsectivore
Pine Siskin c w granivore
Red-naped Sapsucker r w InsectivoreFrugivoreSap-eating
Red-tailed Hawk u p Predator
Red-winged Blackbird u w GranivoreInsectivore
Rock Wren c p Insectivore
Ruby-crowned Kinglet c m, w Insectivore
Rufous-crowned Sparrow r p GranivoreInsectivore
Say’s Phoebe c p Insectivore
Scotts Oriole c s InsectivoreFrugivoreNectarivore
Spotted Towhee u p GranivoreInsectivoreFrugivore
Stellar’s Jay r w Omnivore
Summer Tanager r s Insectivore
Townsend’s Solitaire u w Frugivore
*=depends on available water in Dry Beaver Creek
Species Abundance Season Habitat Diet
Turkey Vulture u s Scavenger
Verdin u w Insectivore
Violet green Swallow c m Insectivore
Warbling Vireo u m Insectivore
Western Bluebird c w InsectivoreFrugivore
Western Meadowlark u m InsectivoreGranivore
Western Kingbird c s Insectivore
Western Scrub Jay c p Omnivore
Western Tanager u s InsectivoreFrugivore
White-crowned Sparrow c w Granivore
White-throated Swift c m, s Insectivore
Yellow Warbler r m Insectivore
Yellow-rumped Warbler u m, w Insectivore

Assessments:   During our surveys 83 different species were recorded.  Thirty six percent of these species are permanent year round residents, 30% are strictly summer breeders, 20% are migratory, and the remaining 14% are winter residents.

The broad diversity of bird species found on El Rojo Grande Ranch may be partly due to the proximity to Oak Creek Canyon, a designated Important Bird Area by the National Audobon Society, which serves as a significant migration corridor and is a premier riparian habitat corridor.  El Rojo Grande Ranch benefits by having many migrating species pass through that are on route to using this important Oak Creek canyon corridor.

Additionally, the diversity of habitats at El Rojo Grande Ranch are important to the bird community, with the Dry Beaver Creek riparian corridor largely responsible for the bird diversity.   In Arizona, 90% of all bird species which occur regularly in the Colorado Plateau region routinely use riparian areas for food, water, cover or migration routes.   During our surveys, 70% of the species counted were observed using the riparian area, and 20% of these species are dependent upon using riparian habitats for breeding and migrating.   While the riparian habitat is important, the presence of water is also essential for some species that rely on pools for foraging.  The abundance of water flowing through Dry Beaver Creek in the spring of 2005 and water holes which remained until late summer allowed species such as the Mallard, Great Blue Heron and Belted Kingfisher to visit El Rojo.

The mesquite and pinyon-juniper habitats also supported many bird species that rely on desert scrub for breeding habitat such as the Black-throated Sparrow which was found nesting in shrubs and cacti throughout the mesquite scrub areas of the ranch.  Scrub Jays, Scotts Orioles and Northern Mockingbirds were also common breeders in both the mesquite and pinyon-juniper habitats.

The red rock outcrop behind the housing and picnic area not only provides a spectacular scenic backdrop to the property, it is also an interesting spot for birds.  Great Horned Owls were observed nesting and raising young in a nest high on a cliff shelf.  Cliff Swallows built mud nests along cliff overhangs and Canyon Wrens filled the cracks and crevices with their beautiful musical cascade of liquid song.

While much of the grounds around the housing and barn areas did not support a diverse or abundant bird community, the picnic area was a hotspot for many of the migrant birds recorded at the ranch.  The regularly watered lush grass, dense shrubs and trees provide a unique resource for migrants traveling through relatively dry lands.  One hollowed out rock near a water spigot held water where many different species were observed coming in for a drink.


Riparian corridor protection: RED THIS STORY ABOUT THE AREA

Because the Dry Beaver Creek riparian corridor is so important to both breeding and migrating bird species, it is imperative to protect this habitat from degradation.  Exclusion of cattle grazing would be a crucial step in protecting the habitat by lessening their impact of soil erosion and trampling and eating of the riparian vegetation.  Additionally exotic species monitoring and eradication, specifically of the exotic and invasive Tamarisk or Salt Cedar (Tamarix ramosissima), would be important for the maintenance of a healthy riparian system. 

 Increasing food sources for birds:

Planting native shrubs and flowers that provide important sources of fruiting berries, seeds and nectar is a good way to support and increase bird diversity and abundance.  You can find many sources of native plants online or at local native plant nurseries.  Another idea is to put up hummingbird feeders and seed feeders, which not only encourages hungry migrant birds to stop in for a rest, it also provides an easy way to view birds if placed close to benches or within view of a window.  However, don’t place bird feeders too close to windows or you may cause fatalities from birds flying into the glass. 

 To enjoy viewing birds at your feeders or out and about on the property, obtain a good bird identification guide to use with the supplemented bird checklist.  An excellent book is Sibleys guide to Birds by Allen Sibley. 

 Increasing nest sites for cavity nesters:

Ten different cavity nesting species breed in El Rojo habitat.  These species use naturally made crevices and holes in trees or make their own holes for nesting and raising their young.  Unless there is adequate diversity in tree sizes and dead snags or dead branches in which to build these cavities, nest sites may limit the number of birds that can utilize suitable habitat.  Putting up nest boxes not only increases breeding sites for birds, it can also be a fun and educational tool for watching breeding behavior. 

 The following is a list of birds that use cavity nests:

 American Kestrel

Ash-throated Flycatcher

Bewicks Wren-will use next boxes but doesn’t exclusively use cavities.

Brown-crested Flycatcher

Gila Woodpecker

House Sparrow-because it is an exotic invasive species you don’t want to encourage the nesting of this species, so place boxes far away from house and barn areas.

Juniper Titmouse

Lucy’s Warbler- included on Audobon’s Watchlist because of decreasing populations throughout its range.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

 There are many websites that offer detailed plans for the building and placement of nest boxes such as:

 There are also websites were you can buy prefabricated boxes specific to different species:  http://www.coveside.bix/woodpecker-houses.htm









This amazing study of all the plants found on El Rojo Grande Ranch is a joy to read. It’s a big file so it needs time to upload. 

Read Complete Guide (PDF’s file)


It shows a map of (in BLACK) all of the areas of the ranch that ELS will bulldoze, to clear the landscape of all native plants and animals, in order to make room for their 688 mobile home sites, and their paved roads.
It shows a map of (in BLACK) all of the areas of the ranch that ELS will bulldoze, to clear the landscape of all native plants and animals, in order to make room for their 688 mobile home sites, and their paved roads.