Select Page

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 Education Program Manager, Eric Scheuering, 520-209-1809.
  • 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.

February

February 23–Saturdays 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 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: Mary Ellen Flynn. Call 520-209-1808 with any questions.

February 27–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 12 participants. Field trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Julie Michael, jbirdsaz123@gmail.com

March

March 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. Field trip is FULL.  Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leaders: 
Jean & Mark Hengesbaugh, jhhenge@gmail.com

March 1 and 8–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

March 2–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

March 2 and 16–Saturdays 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 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.
Leaders: Ray Deeney (3/2) and Jim Gessaman (3/16). Call 520-209-1808 with any questions.

March 4 and 18–Mondays 4:00 p.m.
Arizona National Golf Course Clubhouse and Surroundings Happy Hour Walk
Trip difficulty: easy. Walking distance: less than 1 mile. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: sidewalks.
We will start around the back of the golf clubhouse to check for the many waterbirds on the golf course pond. This will also allow folks to optionally order any drinks or appetizers while we check out the pond. It’s entirely optional to order anything, but the pub closes at 5:00 pm, so we will do the happy hour first. Starting at 4:30 we will walk sidewalks checking the washes around the golf course for the desert birds. Easy pace for one hour. Gated community, so you will have to give your name and pick up a hang tag for your vehicle at the gatehouse to park at the public Arizona National Golf course parking lot. Tell the guard you are going to the clubhouse for happy hour, it is a public restaurant, no reservations necessary. Please park in the far west parking lot to keep the parking spots in front of the clubhouse for golfers. Arizona National Golf Course Pub will be open until 5 pm. Address: 9777 E. Sabino Greens Drive Tucson, AZ. 20 person limit. Please register here for March 4 and here for March 18.
Leader: Laurel Salvador, laurelsalvador@yahoo.com, 630-344-9803, with any questions.

March 10–Sunday 9:00 a.m.
Tubac Hawk Watch
Trip difficulty: easy. Walking distance: none, mostly stationary. Ground conditions: gravel
Join Stephen Vaughan to document northward migration of raptors along the Santa Cruz River corridor. Prior to this field trip, on March 7, Stephen will share “How to Identify Birds of Prey” at the Tucson Living with Nature program. For several years the Tubac Hawk watch has counted up to 22 species of raptors in this area during the month of March, including Common Black-Hawk, Gray Hawk, and Zone-tailed Hawk. We suggest you bring binoculars, folding chairs, hats, sunscreen, lunch, and water. To get to Ron Morriss Park take I-19 south to exit #40, turn left (east) to the Frontage Road, turn right (south) to Bridge Road, turn left (east) to the T, turn right (south) this is still Bridge Rd it will turn east, go to Calle Iglesia and turn right (south) and follow it into Ron Morriss County Park. Carpooling is encouraged; meet at the old Fry’s building just east of I-19 (902 W Irvington Rd) at 8 a.m. No limit but please register for this trip here.
Leader: Stephen Vaughan, stephenhvaughan@gmail.com, 719-649-8741

March 11 (UPDATED DATE)–Monday 7:30 a.m.
Santa Cruz Flats
Starting near Arizona City at 7:30, we’ll drive the back roads of this agricultural area looking for raptors (possibly including Crested Caracaras), sparrows, burrowing owls, and other species attracted to wide-open spaces. Finish about 11ish. Limited to 7 participants (2 cars). Reservations required. Difficulty 1 (mostly car birding, with short walks on roadsides). Meeting place and carpooling logistics will be determined a few days before the trip. Field trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader:
Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net

March 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 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

March 16–Saturday 7:00 a.m.
Redington Pass in the Rincon Mountains
Trip difficulty: moderate. Walking distance: Short excursions. Ground conditions: Uneven terrain. Driving: 35 miles.
Meet at Catalina Highway and Tanque Verde at the McDonald’s on the east side at 7:00 am. We will make a short stop at Wentworth and check the wash, then head into the Rincon Mountains as far as Bellota Pond.  High-clearance vehicles are desired. Short excursions over uneven terrain is to be expected. With any luck, we should find Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Juniper Titmouse, Black-chinned Sparrows, Western Bluebirds, Crissal Thrasher. . . maybe??? Return after a late lunch. Bring plenty of water and your lunch. Limited to 30 participants. Field trip is FULL. Please click here to be added to the wait list.
Leader: Melody Kehl, outdoor1@cox.net

March 21–Thursday, 8:00 a.m.
West Desert Trails, Green Valley
Trip difficulty: Easy. Walking Distance: 2 miles. Ground Conditions: Dirt trails.
Explore the West Desert Trails and observe how this habitat preserve is now attracting and supporting a broader community of nesting species. West Desert Trails are unmaintained trails in lowland desert habitat with transecting washes on approximately 1,830 acres of open space adjacent to the Sierrita Mine in Green Valley. The property was purchased by Freeport-McMoRan Sierrita Inc. in 2012, and with the help of Tucson Audubon, the Sierrita Mine has received certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council for conservation efforts improving the habitat value there for cavity-nesting birds. Nestboxes for owls, flycatchers, and Lucy’s Warblers have been installed and we’ll check some of these boxes to see what kind of activity they’re attracting this year. No online registration necessary. Meet at the West Desert Trails entrance gate at Trail 340 and 337. Directions from Interstate 19 & Esperanza Blvd: drive west on Esperanza Blvd., turn right on North Desert Bell Dr., turn left on Golden Desert Way and the gate to West Desert Trails is at the end of Golden Desert Way.
Leaders: Eric Scheuering and Olya Phillips, 520-209-1808

March 26 & 27–Tuesday and Wednesday
Boyce Thompson Arboretum and Pinal Mountain, with an overnight in Globe 
Reservations required first with Rosalie at Noftsger Hill Inn: 928-425-2260, info@noftsgerhillinn.com. Rooms $90/$150, single/double occupancy. If carpooling, suggested donation to your driver: $15-20. This trip should get us a variety of songbirds and residents in the desert, chaparral, and oasis at the Arboretum, including woodpeckers, towhees, wrens, cardinals and sparrows. If we’re lucky, we should also get some early spring migrants like warblers and vireos, especially at the Arboretum. Field trip is FULL.
Leader: Kathe Anderson, kathe.coot@cox.net

March 31–Sunday 7:00 a.m.
Fort Lowell Park
Trip difficulty: moderate. Walking distance: 1 mi. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: sidewalks, grass.
This is one of the best urban public parks for birding in Tucson. We’ll do a loop around the park looking for resident birds and any waterfowl on the pond. We’ll check the mesquite thicket, then finish on the park’s east side where we hope to see scores of migrating Turkey Vultures. Restrooms and drinking fountains are available in the park. Meet at the north end of the west parking lot, just south of the pond. Enter the park from Craycroft Rd near the Fort Lowell History Museum, drive into the parking lot and bear left. No limit but please register for this trip here.
Leader: Kendall Kroesen, kkroesen@cox.net, 520-971-2385

 

 


				
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 - Birding Agua Caliente Park

Pima County leads this walk -- online registration required at Pima County's website at www.pima.gov/nrpr.

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. 

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.

For more information, email eeducation@pima.gov , or call 520-615-7855. Further PCNRPR bird trips can be found here.

Weekly Bird Trips at Canoa Ranch Conservation Area

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, January - February starts at 8:30am
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

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: SOLD OUT
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