LAKE HAVASU CITY, AZ--(Marketwire - Feb 23, 2012) - In January 2012, news spread worldwide that a Nutting's Flycatcher was spotted in the Bill Williams River National Wildlife Refuge near Lake Havasu City, attracting scores of birders.

Though it may seem like one of the more unique vacation ideas, birding is big business for the Lake Havasu area. "We host hundreds of birders here a week," said Kathleen B., Blair, Ph.D., a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service ecologist.

Bill Williams River NWR birders receive cards that read, "Your business has been patronized by a birdwatcher" to leave at local businesses.

"By emphasizing that wildlife conservation is good for business, we hope more people will support it," said Blair.

The desert marshland of the Bill Williams River NWR was recently designated by the National Audubon Society as a Globally Significant Important Bird Area. It harbors species of global conservation concern, supports range- and biome-restricted species, and represents a bottleneck through which migratory birds pass seasonally.

"The refuge is a vital stopover for neotropical migrant birds using the Colorado River flyway. It provides a nesting habitat for endangered and threatened species, including the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher and Yuma Clapper Rail," said Tice Supplee, Director of Bird Conservation for Audubon Arizona. "By calling attention to the spread of invasive exotic species and excessive public recreation, we hope to preserve this Arizona gem."

The Important Bird Areas program is a global effort to identify and conserve vital bird areas. Working with Audubon chapters, landowners, public agencies, community groups, and other non-profits, Audubon endeavors to activate a support network for Important Bird Areas.

About Lake Havasu City

Lake Havasu City is a three-hour drive from Phoenix, 2-1/4 hours from Las Vegas and four to five from Los Angeles and attracts 750,000 annual visitors thanks to dry, sunny weather and restaurants, lodging, and special events. For more information on Arizona's only waterfront resort destination and one of the Southwest's most fun vacation spots, log onto, call 928 453 3444 or visit and

Editor's note: Photos of local recreational activities, restaurants, lodging and scenery are available upon request.