The Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife species. While some may insist that the term "desert" conjures images of lifeless sand, reality has proven deserts to be alive with animals, and plants that are uniquely adapted to this environment. So too, this wilderness comes alive to the observant hiker who watches for the evidence of wildlife.
Look up, and search the skies for the birds of Paria. In winter bald eagles may be seen, while golden eagles are less choosy and have been spotted year round. Other birds of prey include the endangered peregrine falcon, red-tailed hawk (with its harsh kee-ah-rr screech), great horned owl, and Cooper's hawk.
Aerobatics may be performed by white-throated swifts and violet-green swallows. Birds such as rock wrens, canyon wrens, killdeer, cliff swallows, flycatchers, and black-throated sparrows nest on sheer walls or sand benches and seek the quiet inner-canyon.
Tiny birds such as ruby-crowned kinglets, blue-grey gnat catchers and black-chinned hummingbirds are more easily noticed during the quiet moments of the morning when relaxing and enjoying the beauty of the canyon. Taking the time to look and listen may reveal even other birds.
Along the river, great blue herons may be seen, their large tracks pressed into the sand. In the river, especially near Lees Ferry, ducks can be seen.
Occasionally, bobcats, foxes, mountain lions, porcupines and beavers are seen by lucky hikers. More commonly found are coyotes, jack rabbits, cottontails, ground squirrels, bats, kangaroo rats, and other rodents. At popular campsites, foraging rodents make it advisable to hang food while camping and "Leave No Trace" when departing.
Desert bighorn sheep, successfully reintroduced to Paria Canyon in the 1980s are usually found in the cliffs and crags of the lower canyon. Mule deer move quietly throughout the canyon, but their numbers are relatively low.