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Birding Field Trips

 

General Information

  • Tucson Audubon field trips are free, unless stated otherwise.
  • 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 Field Trip Coordinator, Luke Safford , 520-209-1811.
  • 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
  • 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. Please note that the registration link will be activated sometime between 8am and 9am.
  • Waiting list: If a place becomes available, you will be contacted by the field trip coordinator.
  • Cancellations: Please contact the coordinator ASAP to free your space.

Current Field Trips

December

December 13–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 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

December 14-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 2 Fridays of every month thru April. No online registration necessary.
Leader: M.E. Flynn, me.flynn@comcast.net

December 15–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 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 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: Mary Ellen Flynn. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

December 26–Wednesday 8:00 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 11 am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes recommended. Leader is a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist. Limited to 12 participants. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Julie Michael, jbirdsaz123@gmail.com

December 28–Friday 7:00 a.m.
Slaughter Ranch, Douglas (All Day Birding)
Join Clifford Cathers for a long drive but a satisfying birding experience to one of our best winter hot spots. Always good stuff here. This will be an all day trip and a packed lunch is required. We will likely not return until late in the afternoon to early evening. Think about 5 or so hours total driving and 2 or so miles of wandering around and birding. Meet at the northwest corner of I-10 and Houghton Road at 7:00 AM. Please do not show up at the meeting spot without successful registration. Trip is limited to 20 registrants. Field Trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Clifford Cathers, azbirding@zoho.com, or 520.982.3272 for questions.

January

January 4–Friday 8:00 a.m.
Sabino Canyon
Trip Rating: 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. Please register for this trip here.
Leaders:
Jean & Mark Hengesbaugh (jhhenge@gmail.com)

January 4–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 2 Fridays of every month thru April. No online registration necessary.
Leader: M.E. Flynn, me.flynn@comcast.net

January 5–Saturday 8:00 a.m.
Arivaca Cienega Trail
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 online registration necessary.
Leader: Rob Rutledge, 520-609-9675, merlin32757@gmail.com

January 5–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 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 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: Ray Deeney. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

January 7–Monday 8:00 a.m.
Gilbert Water Ranch
We’ll start at the Water Ranch at 8am, and wrap up about 10:30am. The Water Ranch is one of the top birding destinations in the Phoenix metro area, usually yielding 45-50 species in a typical 2 hour cool season walk, including wintering waterfowl, waders, shorebirds, common desert species and often some surprises. Last winter, Northern Parulas and a Chestnut-side Warbler were easily seen. Limited to 12 participants. Reservations required. Difficulty 1 (well-graded, mostly wheelchair accessible, paths). Meeting place and carpooling logistics will be determined a few days before the trip. Please register for this trip here.
Leader: 
Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net

January 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 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

January 11–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 2 Fridays of every month thru April. No online registration necessary.
Leader: M.E. Flynn, me.flynn@comcast.net

January 12–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 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 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: Mary Ellen Flynn. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

January 19–Saturday 8:00 a.m.
KERP/Sam Lena Park
Let’s check out the winter birds at the Kino Environmental Restoration Project (KERP) at Sam Lena Park. This site has a mixed habitat of man-made and natural bodies of water, some riparian woodlands, and mesquite scrub. Anything may be possible from wintering ducks and hawks to sparrows and maybe even the occasional winter surprise. We’ll walk about a mile over pretty forgiving terrain. KERP itself is gated off to vehicles, so we’ll have to step over or skootch under some vehicle gates. Scopes will be useful for the initial scanning of the man-made pond. As always, bring your binoculars and good walking shoes. Please do not show up at the meeting spot without successful registration. The entrance to the meeting location is via Forgeus Avenue, just off E Ajo Way, or from Sam Lena Drive off S Country Club Rd. Meet at the covered public parking lot at the SE corner of the man-made pond, here. Please register for this trip here, starting Monday, December 17.
Leader: 
Scott Crabtree, the.crabtrees51@gmail.com, 505-699-9959

January 19–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 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 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: 
Mary Ellen Flynn. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

January 23–Wednesday 8 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 11 am. Sunhat, water and walking shoes recommended. Leader is a Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalist. Limited to 12 participants. Please register for this trip here, starting Monday, January 7.
Leader: Julie Michael, jbirdsaz123@gmail.com

January 26–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 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 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: Mary Ellen Flynn. Call 520-209-1811 with any questions.

January 30–Wednesday 8 a.m.
Avra Valley: Hawks for Beginners
Trip Difficulty: Easy. Walking Distance: None. Ground Conditions: Roadside.
We will drive around the southern half of Avra Valley west of Tucson looking for Red-tail Hawks, American Kestrels, Black Vultures, and Northern Harriers. Birding will be done next to our cars on the side of the road checking out who is perched on the power poles. Persons who are new to birding or who are mobility-challenged are especially invited. Scope and ID cards will be available. Be ready for cold, wind, rain, and mud. Round trip: 50 miles on paved and graded dirt road. Car-pooling encouraged. Bring money for driver. Restrooms near meeting place and later at the Saguaro West Visitor Center. Bring your NPS passes if you have one. Meet at the Mission Library parking lot at the NW corner of Ajo Way and Mission Road. Leave at 8 a.m. and back before noon. No limit but please register for this trip here, starting Monday, January 7.
Leader: John Higgins, 520-367-4209, jghiggins@cox.net


				
Wednesday Mornings at Sweetwater Wetlands

No registration needed!
November – February starts at 8 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: November – Feb: 8 a.m.; March – April: 7 a.m.; May – August: 6 a.m.; September – Oct: 7 a.m.

Learn about Sweetwater Wetlands

Thursday Mornings at Birds at Agua Caliente Park – NOW $5 FEE

Pima County leads this walk–please register below on Pima County’s website
Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation offers this guided birding walk in the desert oasis of Agua Caliente Park to spot wetland birds, hummingbirds, songbirds, and raptors. Binoculars are available for use. Online registration required at Pima County’s website at www.pima.gov/nrpr. Location: Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park, 12325 E. Roger Road. Meet at the Visitor’s Center. Visit the Tucson Audubon Nature Shop at Agua Caliente Park after the walk.
Meeting times: Sept – Oct: 8:00 am,  Nov – Feb: 8:30 am, Mar – Apr: 8:00 am, May – Aug: 7:30 am.
Online registration now required, $5 fee. Online registration: www.pima.gov/nrpr. For more information, email  eeducation@pima.gov , or call 520-615-7855. Further PCNRPR bird trips can be found here.

Birding Canoa Ranch with Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation

Join birding expert 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 in November 8 – 10am
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 for dates and times: www.pima.gov/nrpr
For more information: www.pima.gov/canoaranch; email: CanoaRanch@pima.gov or call 520-724-5220

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

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.

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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.

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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

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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