Just across Arizona’s western line, the Salton Sea is host to hundreds of thousands of avian visitors. Located in the midst of the busy Pacific flyway, hundreds of migratory bird species rely on the sea.

“There’s water in the area, both a marine lake, the Salton Sea, and the freshwater that comes in that irrigates the agriculture,” says Chris Schoneman, refuge manager of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.

“All that water with our warm year round temperatures just equates to a tremendous amount of productivity,” Schoneman says.

The water is a particularly important attraction to the birds. Located on the edge of the Sonoran Desert, the Salton Sea has mild winter temperatures, though summer temperatures can exceed 115 degrees. Annual precipitation is usually less than three inches.