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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, beginning in April 2019. The new fee will help 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.

May

May 25–Saturday, 6:30 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 2 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 online registration necessary.
Leader: Jim Gessaman, call 520-209-1808 with any questions.

June

June 1–Saturday, 6:30 a.m. (half day)    JUST ADDED!
Montosa Canyon
As the nesting season progresses, let’s explore Montosa Canyon in the southwest Santa Rita Mountains. This area is underbirded compared to other, better-known regions of the Santa Ritas, which presents us with opportunities to possibly find exciting species! Montosa Canyon was once known as THE spot for Black-capped Gnatcatchers, and they’re still found there, along with other birds typical of the SE AZ mountains. Meet at 6:30 AM at the Whipple Picnic Area and Trailhead, next to the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory along Mt Hopkins Road in Amado. There are restrooms and parking, as well as nice picnic tables if anyone wants to extend their morning. The meeting point is 40 miles / 45 minutes from the I-10 / I-19 junction. We’ll carpool along the graded gravel road from there – the road is suitable for any but the lowest slung or long vehicles, although parking is limited. Limited to 12 participants. REGISTER HERE.
Leader: Scott Crabtree, the.crabtrees51@gmail.com

June 3–Monday, 6:00 a.m.
Pinal Mountain

Start at 6am outside of Globe for a journey up through a variety of habitats to top out at about 7,800 feet for possible Olive Warblers and Red-breasted Nuthatches. Desert species may include a rainbow of birds with Yellow Warblers, Vermilion Flycatchers and Blue Grosbeaks. Transition zones could get us sparrows, raptors, towhees and Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay. Ponderosa pine offers woodpeckers, warblers, vireos and possible Western Tanagers. A hummingbird stop near the top usually has Broad-tailed and possible Magnificent Hummingbirds. Wrap up back in Globe about 2:30pm. Limit: 7 participants. Field trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader:
Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net

June 9–Sunday 6:00 a.m.
Looking for Becards on the De Anza Trail

The Rose-throated Becards are back, early observations indicate that at least one maybe two pairs will be attempting to nest this year. Good chance to see one. Other great birds that can be seen along the trail include: Gray, Common Black, and Zone-tailed hawks, Tropical Kingbirds, Brown-crested Flycatchers, Northern Beardless-Tyrannulets, Summer Tanagers, Varied Buntings, and Blue Grosbeaks. Lots of Yellow-breasted Chats and more. Meet at the Green Valley McDonald’s parking lot on Continental Road at 6:00 a.m. Limit of 12 participants. Field trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Robert Mesta, robertmesta@cox.net

June 13–Thursday 7:00 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 online 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


				
Wednesday Mornings at Sweetwater Wetlands

No registration needed!
May - August starts at 6 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 am, May - Aug: 6 am, Sep - Oct: 7 am, Nov - Feb: 8 am.

Learn about Sweetwater Wetlands

There are no public programs scheduled between May 5 and June 30, while the pond restoration project is in progress. Current information on the pond restoration project and can be found 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:  Every Saturday in May 7:00-9:00 a.m., Saturdays June 1, 15, 22, and 29 7:00-9:00 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

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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