Select Page

Birding Field Trips

General Information

  • Tucson Audubon proudly offers a variety of free field trips requiring no pre-registration. For those field trips with online registration, a $6.00 service fee will be required. This fee helps to cover some of the expense associated with organizing and promoting these special programs. We hope you’ll consider this an investment in the future of these long-running Tucson Audubon programs!
  • It is customary for carpool passengers to help pay for fuel and other vehicle-related costs at the end of each trip. 10 cents/mile is a good place to start; use Google Maps for mileage.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact the Education Programs Manager, Eric Scheuering, 520-209-1808.
  • Trip leaders: Learn more about them! Leaders are in charge of all aspects of the day’s birding.
  • Trip birding ethics: Tucson Audubon adheres to the American Birding Association’s position on birding ethics: http://listing.aba.org/ethics. Also useful, Audubon’s Guide to Ethical Bird Photography
  • To register for a trip: Click on the registration link at the end of that trip’s description and you will receive a confirmation email. If the trip is full you will be put on the waiting list but will not receive an email.
  • Waiting list: If a place becomes available, you will be contacted by us.
  • Cancellations: To cancel your reservation, please email Eric Scheuering or call 520-209-1808. Please contact Eric and the trip leader as soon as possible to free your space.

NEW multi-day trips! See new birds and travel to interesting destinations on one of our Birding Excursions! Your travel dollars support our education programs, including youth programs that get kids outdoors, and allow us to offer programs to a broader and more diverse audience. Click here for more details.

September

September 26–Thursday, 6:00 a.m.
Sycamore Canyon / Pajarito Wilderness
Trip difficulty: Moderate with hiking on an established trail.
We’ll drive down to the trailhead just off Ruby Road and spend the morning walking in from here, perhaps a couple of miles, and birding the oak and juniper grasslands looking for the residents of this area, including hopefully the Rufous-capped Warblers found earlier this year. Wear good hiking gear, bring water, snacks, lunch – we’ll plan to be back mid-afternoon. Caveat, there are no established restrooms in this area, so be forewarned. Limit: 11 participants. Trip is FULL. Register for the wait list here.
Leader: Tim Helentjaris (tnhelentjaris@msn.com), meeting specifics to be e-mailed to participants.

September 29–Sunday, 7:00 a.m.
Fort Lowell Park – Birding for Beginners
Trip difficulty: Easy.
This is one of the best urban public parks for birding in Tucson. Join Maureen and Linda to search for woodpeckers, hummingbirds, sparrows, towhees, flycatchers, ducks and more. You never know what might drop in to the pond there. Though this walk is geared towards beginners, experienced birders are invited to come and share their knowledge. We may walk 1 to 1.5 miles, including down into the sandy Pantano Wash. No registration necessary. Meet at the parking lot at the main entrance off Craycroft, in front of the pool.
Leaders: Maureen Houlahan (maureenh0623@gmail.com) and Linda Matson (heyltd@cox.net)

October

October 1–Tuesday, 7:00 a.m.
Atturbury Wash
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
This lush desert wash set in Sonoran desertscrub with many mature mesquite and palo verde trees and a wide trail winding through it is home to many resident bird species. We’ll explore the main trail and other paths that lead into open desert habitats. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the parking lot at Lower Lincoln Park, 8280 E Escalante Rd.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

October 8–Tuesday, 7:00 a.m.
Kino Environmental Restoration Project at Sam Lena Park (KERP)
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
A large flood-containment basin surrounded by dense palo verde, mesquite, creosote, and desert broom, KERP is a habitat restoration project managed by Pima County. The large basins provide open water habitat for a number of waterbirds and shorebirds rarely encountered in the urban area. We’ll walk the paved path surrounding the basins and look for a variety of birds. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the ramadas adjacent to the ballfields, 3400 S Country Club Rd.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

October 10–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.
Mission Garden
Trip difficulty: Easy. Distance 0.25 to 0.50 mile. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: Smooth, ADA-accessible dirt trails.
Explore this reconstruction of the four-acre 18th-century garden at the base of “A” Mountain that was associated with the Mission San Agustin (the northern-most mission in Arizona). See a variety of birds among gardens, crops and orchards depicting all the eras and ethnic groups associate with Tucson’s past. This site has been farmed for over 4,000 years and is considered Tucson’s birthplace. This walk is good for beginning bird watchers, gardeners and those interested in attracting birds to their yards. Along the way you’ll see the wide variety of food-plants that can grow in Tucson and we’ll point out some of the many bird-friendly plants at the garden. Suggested $5 donation at the gate. No registration necessary. Meet at Mission Garden, 946 W Mission Lane (just east of Grande Road on Mission Lane).
Leader: Kendall Kroesen (kkroesen@cox.net) 520-971-2385

October 12–Saturday, 7:00 a.m.
University of Arizona campus
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
This urban campus, encompassing approximately 400 acres of landscaped spaces, contains the boundaries of the Campus Arboretum. This unique collection of plants from arid and semi-arid climates around the world provides habitat for over 100 species of birds throughout the year and we’ll explore different areas of campus looking for them. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the University of Arizona Main Gate at University & Park.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

October 15–Tuesday, 7:00 a.m.
Santa Cruz River Heritage Project
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
Tucson Water has started adding recycled water to the Santa Cruz River at a point south of downtown near the heart of the city. This added water will bring perennial flow to this portion of the river, and with it, vegetation and wildlife. We’ll explore this area along The Loop path to observe the changes to the landscape and the birds it attracts. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the Paseo de las Iglesias parking lot on the west side of the river on S Cottonwood, just south of W Silverlake.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

October 16–Wednesday, 7:00 a.m.
Sabino Canyon
Trip difficulty: Moderate. Walking distance: 4 miles. Ground conditions: Rocky trails and uneven pavement.
We’ll bird Sabino Canyon Recreation Area walking a loop that includes both Sonoran desert upland and Sabino Creek riparian areas. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return around 10am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes recommended. Leader is a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist. Limited to 10 participants. Trip is FULL. Register for the wait list here.
Leader: Julie Michael (jbirdsaz123@gmail.com)

October 27–Sunday, 7:00 a.m.
Fort Lowell Park – Birding for Beginners
Trip difficulty: Easy.
This is one of the best urban public parks for birding in Tucson. Join Maureen and Linda to search for woodpeckers, hummingbirds, sparrows, towhees, flycatchers, ducks and more. You never know what might drop in to the pond there. Though this walk is geared towards beginners, experienced birders are invited to come and share their knowledge. We may walk 1 to 1.5 miles, including down into the sandy Pantano Wash. No registration necessary. Meet at the parking lot at the main entrance off Craycroft, in front of the pool.
Leaders: Maureen Houlahan (maureenh0623@gmail.com) and Linda Matson (heyltd@cox.net)

November

November 1–Friday, 8:00 a.m.
Sabino Canyon
Trip difficulty: Easy. Walking distance: 3 miles. Elevation gain: 25 feet. Ground conditions: Rocky trails.
We’ll bird Sabino Canyon Recreation Area walking a loop that includes both Sonoran desert upland and Sabino Creek riparian area. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return by 11 am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes always recommended. Leaders are Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists. Limit 15 participants. REGISTER HERE
Leaders: Jean & Mark Hengesbaugh (jhhenge@gmail.com)

November 1–Friday, 8:15 a.m.
Oracle State Park
Trip difficulty: Easy 2-hour bird walk about 1 mile on dirt trails and pavement, some uneven terrain on trails.
Bird beautiful Oracle State Park about 35 miles north of Tucson. Elevation is 4500 feet so be prepared for cooler temperatures. Chance to see some higher elevation species. Picnic tables and restrooms available. You can also visit historic Kannally Ranch house after the bird walk. Free entry with AZ State Park pass or $7 per vehicle. Meet at Ranch house parking lot at 8:15 am ( park gate does not open until 8 am). These walks will occur the first two Fridays of every month thru April. No registration necessary.
Leader: M.E. Flynn (me.flynn@comcast.net)

November 2–Saturday, 8:00 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Trip difficulty: Easy. Walking distance: 2.5 miles. Trip duration: 2 hr 45 min. Elevation gain: none. Ground condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at two locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Regional Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the trails in Arthur Pack Park and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. See map for directions to the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. No registration necessary.
Leaders: Ray Deeney, Mary Ellen Flynn, or Jim Gessaman, call 520-209-1808 with any questions.

November 2–Saturday, 8:00 a.m.
Arivaca Cienega
Trip difficulty: Easy. Walking distance: 1 1/4 miles. Ground conditions: Dirt trails.
The birding hikes are starting again at the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge every first Saturday of the month through April. Meet at the Arivaca Cienega Trail which is a 1-1/4 mile loop over a boardwalk and path with opportunities to see bird life in a rare desert wetland. The trailhead has picnic tables and restrooms. Directions: From Tucson take Highway 286 south from Three Points to milepost 12. Turn left and drive east 12 miles to Arivaca. From Interstate 19, take the Amado/Arivaca exit west, turn right at the T, then left at the Cow Palace onto Arivaca Road. Then drive 23 miles to Arivaca. Arivaca Cienega Trail is 1/4 mile east of Arivaca. No registration necessary.
Leader: Rob Rutledge (520-609-9675, merlin32757@gmail.com)

November 5–Tuesday, 8:00 a.m.
Atturbury Wash
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
This lush desert wash set in Sonoran desertscrub with many mature mesquite and palo verde trees and a wide trail winding through it is home to many resident bird species. We’ll explore the main trail and other paths that lead into open desert habitats. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the parking lot at Lower Lincoln Park, 8280 E Escalante Rd.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

November 8–Friday, 8:15 a.m.
Oracle State Park
See details above under Nov. 1

November 9–Saturday, 8:00 a.m.
University of Arizona campus
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
This urban campus, encompassing approximately 400 acres of landscaped spaces, contains the boundaries of the Campus Arboretum. This unique collection of plants from arid and semi-arid climates around the world provides habitat for over 100 species of birds throughout the year and we’ll explore different areas of campus looking for them. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the University of Arizona Main Gate at University & Park.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

November 12–Tuesday, 8:00 a.m.
Kino Environmental Restoration Project at Sam Lena Park (KERP)
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
A large flood-containment basin surrounded by dense palo verde, mesquite, creosote, and desert broom, KERP is a habitat restoration project managed by Pima County. The large basins provide open water habitat for a number of waterbirds and shorebirds rarely encountered in the urban area. We’ll walk the paved path surrounding the basins and look for a variety of birds. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the ramadas adjacent to the ballfields, 3400 S Country Club Rd.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

November 14–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.
Mission Garden
Trip difficulty: Easy. Distance 0.25 to 0.50 mile. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: Smooth, ADA-accessible dirt trails.
Explore this reconstruction of the four-acre 18th-century garden at the base of “A” Mountain that was associated with the Mission San Agustin (the northern-most mission in Arizona). See a variety of birds among gardens, crops and orchards depicting all the eras and ethnic groups associate with Tucson’s past. This site has been farmed for over 4,000 years and is considered Tucson’s birthplace. This walk is good for beginning bird watchers, gardeners and those interested in attracting birds to their yards. Along the way you’ll see the wide variety of food-plants that can grow in Tucson and we’ll point out some of the many bird-friendly plants at the garden. Suggested $5 donation at the gate. No registration necessary. Meet at Mission Garden, 946 W Mission Lane (just east of Grande Road on Mission Lane).
Leader: Kendall Kroesen (kkroesen@cox.net) 520-971-2385

November 15–Friday, 7:45 a.m.
Salt River (Maricopa Co.)
By mid-November most of the wintering waterfowl will have arrived on the Salt River and we’ll look for a variety of ducks (we found 14 species one day last year!), cormorants, grebes, and probably Common Gallinules. In addition, we can hope for Bald Eagles, Osprey, shorebirds, and reliable desert species. Start about 7:45am at the Salt River, working our way upstream at several recreation sites, to finish with lunch at the Lakeshore Restaurant at Saguaro Lake. Wrap up about 1:30pm. Uneven surfaces, but fairly easy walking. Participants should bring their National Parks pass if they have one. Limit: 7 participants. REGISTER HERE
Leader: Kathe Anderson (kathe.coot@cox.net)

November 16–Saturday, 8:00 a.m.
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
See details above under Nov. 2

November 19–Tuesday, 10:30 a.m.
Reid Park Ramble
Trip difficulty: Easy. Distance : 1 mile. Elevation gain: none. Ground condition: sidewalk and park lawn.
Come see which birds are hanging out in the park for the winter. Besides ducks, herons, and Yellow-rumped Warblers, we might be surprised by some woodpeckers, tanagers, kingbirds, and raptors. Those who are new to birding are especially invited. Several restrooms along the route. There will be a scope and duck ID chart. We will finish by noon. No registration necessary. Directions: Turn north off 22nd St. at Randolph Way then west on E. Zoo Court. Meet at the bus stop in front of the Edith Ball Adaptive Recreation Center (which looks like a big white circus tent).
Leader: John Higgins (jghiggins@cox.net, 520-609-2361)

November 20–Wednesday, 7:00 a.m.
Sabino Canyon
Trip difficulty: Moderate. Walking distance: 4 miles. Ground conditions: Rocky trails and uneven pavement.
We’ll bird Sabino Canyon Recreation Area walking a loop that includes both Sonoran desert upland and Sabino Creek riparian areas. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return around 10am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes recommended. Leader is a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist. Limited to 10 participants. REGISTER HERE
Leader: Julie Michael (jbirdsaz123@gmail.com)

November 21–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.
Santa Cruz River Heritage Project
Meet your birds at this new monthly trip with a focus on beginning birding. No birding experience required – all bird appreciators welcome! Binoculars available for use.
Tucson Water has started adding recycled water to the Santa Cruz River at a point south of downtown near the heart of the city. This added water will bring perennial flow to this portion of the river, and with it, vegetation and wildlife. We’ll explore this area along The Loop path to observe the changes to the landscape and the birds it attracts. Approximately 1.5 hours. No registration necessary. Meet at the Paseo de las Iglesias parking lot on the west side of the river on S Cottonwood, just south of W Silverlake.
Leader: Eric Scheuering (escheuering@tucsonaudubon.org), Education Programs Manager

 


				
Wednesday Mornings at Sweetwater Wetlands

No registration needed!
September starts at 6:30 a.m.

Trip rating: easy; Walking distance: 1 mile; Trip duration: 2 hr; Elevation gain: none; Ground condition: concrete and dirt trails. Restrooms at the trailhead.
Join Luke Safford for an easy walk through the Sweetwater Wetlands to see waterfowl, regular and visiting warblers, and several exciting species hiding in the reeds. Birders of all experience levels welcome! The Wetlands are located at 2511 W Sweetwater Drive.
Contact Luke with questions, 520-209-1811, lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org.
Every Wednesday. Start times: Mar - Apr: 7 a.m., May - Aug: 6 a.m., Sep: 6:30 a.m., Oct: 7 a.m., Nov - Feb: 8 a.m.

Learn about Sweetwater Wetlands

There are no public programs scheduled while the pond restoration project is in progress. Current information on the pond restoration project can be found at www.pima.gov/nrpr

Birding Canoa Ranch

Pima County leads this walk -- online registration required at Pima County's website at www.pima.gov/nrpr.
Join longtime local birder Brian Nicholas to see a wide variety of sparrows, raptors, and the possibility of waterfowl on the newly restored pond at Historic Canoa Ranch. All ages welcome.

When: Saturdays, September 7, 21, 28 and October 12, 19, 26, 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Where: Historic Canoa Ranch, 5375 S. I-19 Frontage Road, Green Valley 85622
Cost: Free with PCNRPR Membership, Non-PCNRPR Member $5 fee. Online registration required: www.pima.gov/nrpr
For more information: www.pima.gov/canoaranch; email: CanoaRanch@pima.gov or call 520-724-5375

Share your eBird checklists from our trips with our account: "tasfieldtrips"

Meet our fantastic field trip leaders!

Liability Waiver: All participants on Tucson Audubon field trips are required to sign a standard waiver. If you would like to read the waiver before the trip, view it here.

Departure Times: Please arrive before the departure time listed in the trip description. Trips will leave promptly at the time given.

Please dress appropriately for your field trip. Always wear sturdy shoes, a hat, and use sun protection. Bring plenty of snacks and water for yourself. Always bring your binoculars, your field guide, and for most trips a scope can be useful. Bring money to cover your share of the carpooling expenses and any required entry fees (i.e. state parks).

Tucson Audubon strongly encourages carpooling and the sharing of the driver's fuel expenses. Drivers and trip leaders are not expected to contribute.

Basha's Grocery Store: Catalina, AZ. parking lot at the northeast corner of the intersection of Oracle Rd. and Golder Ranch Rd.
 
Commuter lot at Oracle and Ina:  One block west of the intersection of Oracle and Ina, on the south side of the street.  Actual location is Via Ponte and W. Ina Rd.
 
Empty Grocery Store Lot at Irvington and I-19: On the north side of Irvington just east of I-19.
 
Houghton and I-10: Exit 275 off of I-10 on the north side of I-10 there is a large dirt parking lot used by commuters
 
McDonald's (Tucson) on the northeast corner of Tanque Verde Rd. and Catalina Highway.   We meet on the east side a bit away from where patrons would park.
 
McDonald's (Green Valley) Use the Continental Rd. exit off of I-19 and turn right to the McDonald's.  We meet in the right most portion of the parking lot as one is facing the restaurant.

Sweetwater Wetlands

Sweetwater Wetlands is a gem of urban bird and wildlife activity right in urban Tucson. 306 bird species have been documented here. Join our weekly bird walks on Wednesdays and see what you can find!

Learn more

Birding Southeast Arizona App

A great interactive companion to our Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona, our new app covers over 130 birding sites in six subregions in and around Tucson, all vetted by local experts. Search by nearest site, by bird, or by city and get exact directions! Keep track of your sightings and share with friends on Facebook.

Learn more and download now!

Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona

Revised 8th Edition, 2015
Tucson Audubon’s updated edition brings together all the latest information on finding birds in southeast Arizona. This is your best source of detailed information that will help in planning bird watching adventures in the region.

Learn more

email-iconSign up for email updates. Stay Informed!

Choose from weekly updates, volunteer news, conservation alerts, Paton Center news, Habitat at Home news and more.

Sign up here

color_square_face_right

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

color_square_face_right

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

color_square_face_right

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