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Birding Field Trips

General Information

  • All Field Trips are designed to maximize your safety, while also enjoying birds. CDC Guidelines are followed, maximum group size is no more then 12 birders total, participants are encouraged to observe safe distancing, and face coverings are strongly requested for those who are not fully vaccinated for Covid-19.
  • Participation in social activities, such as field trips, comes with an inherent risk of exposure to infectious disease. Prospective participants should self-evaluate or discuss with their doctor if their participation merits this risk. If you’re sick or experiencing any symptoms that indicate you might be sick, STAY HOME.
  • For general questions or help registering, contact lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org
  • 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 ABA’s position on birding ethics.
  • To register for a trip: Click the registration link at the end of the trip’s description and you will receive a confirmation email. If the trip is full you’ll be put on the waiting list but won’t receive an email.
  • Waiting list: If a place becomes available, you will be contacted by us.
  • Cancellations: To cancel your reservation, please email lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org and the trip leader as soon as possible to free your space.
  • Please limit yourself to two field trips/month. Thank you for understanding.

October Field Trips

October 20-Wednesday, 6:45 am & 7:00 am
Sweetwater Wetlands
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist
This popular birding hotspot in urban Tucson offers an easy walk through marshes created by Tucson Water 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. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leaders: Thomas Brown and Luke Safford (lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org)

October 21-Thursday, 8:00 am
Accessible Birding: Rose Canyon Lake
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
This field trip is designed to meet the needs of participants with accessibility needs.
Celebrate Birdability Week and join us for a new area for our accessible birding field trips. This area is located in the Rose Canyon Lake Campground area on Mt. Lemmon. A fee is required ($10) which can be paid at the entrance to the campground. We will meet at the last parking area, near the accessible bathroom. Depending on the needs of the participants we may carpool and drive to the lower area handicapped parking area, or walk down the road slowly, birding on the way. We will also use the fishing sidewalk to bird along the lake entrance. Excellent birding all along this area. The upper parking area is also great for birding, and we will end our trip there. If needed, each participant may bring along a person to assist. The group is limited to six participants. Birds expected are Acorn woodpeckers, Hairy woodpeckers, Yellow-eyed junco, Brown creeper, White-breasted nuthatch and more. Masks are not required while outdoors, but must be worn if carpooling to the lower lot. Please call or text the leader if you have any questions about this field trip.
Leader: Marcia OBara, (623-451-7064)

October 27-Wednesday, 6:45 am
Salt River Recreation Sites
Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for this Field Trip
Field Trip is FULL.
Click here to be added to the waitlist.
We’ll meet at a local coffee shop at 6:45am to form carpools to the Salt River. We’ll visit a variety of recreation sites to see what wintering waterfowl have arrived on the Salt River, plus whatever desert species and possible vagrants are showing up. We should find ducks, cormorants, grebes, and possibly Common Gallinules in addition to probable Bald Eagles, Osprey, shorebirds, waders and reliable desert species. Plan on a picnic lunch somewhere along the river. Wrap up about 1:30pm. Uneven surfaces, but fairly easy walking. Participants should bring their National Parks pass if they have one. Limited to 6 participants.
Leader: Kathe Anderson (kathe.coot@cox.net)

October 27-Wednesday, 6:45 am & 7:00 am
Sweetwater Wetlands
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
This popular birding hotspot in urban Tucson offers an easy walk through marshes created by Tucson Water 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. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leaders: Thomas Brown and Luke Safford (lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org)

November Field Trips

November 2-Tuesday, 6:30 a.m.
Altar Valley
Designed for Tucson Audubon Members Only. Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for this Field Trip.
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip difficulty: Moderate; Walking Distance: ~2 miles; Trip Duration: return by noon; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: old road and few trails, some walking through desert scrub. No established restrooms on site.
An under-birded area relatively close to Tucson, this valley has a mix of Sonoran and Chihuahuan vegetation which is attractive to a variety of bird species, including Crested Caracara’s and other raptors, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owls, Gilded Flickers, and several species of sparrows. We’ll explore the area around the Black Hills, very obvious on GoogleEarth due to their lava origin, walking through some lush washes. Wear good walking shoes, bring a small pack with water and snacks. Limited to 11 participants. Instructions for meet-up will be emailed before trip to registered participants.
Leader: Tim Helentjaris (tnhelentjaris@msn.com)

November 5-Friday, 7:30 am
Gordon Hirabayashi Hike & Bird
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip Difficulty: Moderate. 3 miles roundtrip with some rugged trail and elevation gain.
Gordon Hirabayashi Campground on Mt Lemmon, and the first mile of the Arizona Trail to the west of the campground, pass through juniper woodland habitat, attracting a different mix of birds than found in the Tucson Valley or higher up on Mt Lemmon. We’ll be on the lookout for Woodhouse’s Scrub Jays in addition to Mexican Jays, Bridled Titmouse, Bushtits, Chipping Sparrows, and wintering Dark-eyed Juncos. We should have the opportunity to sort out some Hutton’s Vireos from Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and brush up on our wren identification with four possible species. Meet in the parking lot at the entry to the campground. Bring your binoculars, dress in layers, and pack at least one quart of water. Wrap up by 10:30 am. Limit 10 participants.
Leader: Holly Kleindienst (hollykleindienst@gmail.com)

November 6-Saturday, 8:00 am
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip difficulty: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Drinking water not available on trail. Restrooms at the Mason Center and one restroom midway on the 2.5 mile loop.
Join us for an introduction to birdwatching basics at the Tucson Audubon 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 and golf course pond. Meet at the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leader: Ray Deeney (raydeeney@comcast.net)

November 8-Monday, 7:30 am
Sabino Canyon Birding & Natural History
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip difficulty: Moderate. 3 mile hiking loop on some uneven rocky trails.
We’ll bird Sabino Canyon Recreation Area, with particular attention to the natural history of the canyon and the surrounding habitats, 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. Requires national recreation area parking fee or pass. Sunhat, water and walking shoes are always recommended. Beginning birders welcome. Limited to 10 participants.
Leader: Sabino Canyon Naturalist, Karen Vandergrift (kvandergrift@me.com)

November 10-Wednesday, 7:15 am & 7:30 am
Sweetwater Wetlands
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
This popular birding hotspot in urban Tucson offers an easy walk through marshes created by Tucson Water 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. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leaders: Thomas Brown and Luke Safford (lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org)

November 10-Wednesday, 8:00 am
Accessible Birding: Sweetwater Wetlands
This field trip is designed to meet the needs of participants with accessibility needs.
Register Here
Join us as we bird this Tucson gem, for a Birdability field trip to Sweetwater Wetlands. We will meet in the parking lot across the street from the main parking area. This will be an expanded version of our previous trips to this location, and we will bird the entire inner loop of the wetlands. Most of the paths are covered with gravel. If needed, each participant may bring an assist person. Birds expected include a variety of ducks, American coot, Common gallinule, Sora, Red-winged blackbirds, doves and many others. The group is limited to six participants.
Leader: Marcia OBara, (623-451-7064)

November 11-Thursday, 7:00 am
Searching for Chestnut-collared Longspurs
Designed for Tucson Audubon Members Only.
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip Difficulty: Moderate. Be prepared to walk over uneven terrain in tall grass and be prepared for very cold conditions at the start.
Possibly the fastest declining bird in all of North America, the Chestnut-collared Longspur has declined by more than 87% since 1966, largely due to habitat loss on its breeding grounds in north-central U.S., and its wintering grounds in the American southwest and north-central Mexico. For over 10 years, Jennie MacFarland, Tucson Audubon’s Bird Conservation Biologist, has been leading surveys in Southeast Arizona’s grasslands to learn more about how we can support and protect this imperiled species. Directions for meeting location to be sent out to participants. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leader: Jennie MacFarland (jmacfarland@tucsonaudubon.org)

November 15-Monday 7:30 am
Fort Lowell Park
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip difficulty: Easy. 1 mile loop on mostly level ground. Restroom facilities available.
Fort Lowell Park, in central Tucson features historic buildings and a bit of local history, and also offers a mix of urban and natural habitat, making it home to a wide variety of bird species. We’ll bird the lawns and trees at the historic site for urban birds as well as the chance for sighting members of a small resident group of Eastern Bluebirds. The small pond attracts wintering ducks, especially American Wigeons. We’ll then bird the more natural area along Pantano Wash for Sonoran desert birds. The pecan grove attracts woodpeckers, and is also one of the best places to find a White-winged Dove in the winter months. In all we’ll see 20-30 species. Meet in the main parking lot accessed from Craycroft Road. Bring your binoculars. Wrap up by 9:30 am. Limit 10 participants.
Leader: Holly Kleindienst (hollykleindienst@gmail.com)

November 17-Wednesday, 7:15 am & 7:30 am
Sweetwater Wetlands
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
This popular birding hotspot in urban Tucson offers an easy walk through marshes created by Tucson Water 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. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leaders: Thomas Brown and Luke Safford (lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org)

November 19-Friday, 7:15 am
Gilbert Water Ranch
Complete Covid-19 Vaccination Required for this Field Trip
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip Difficulty: Easy. Walking distance: 1-2 miles over well-graded, mostly wheelchair accessible, paths.
We’ll start at 7:15 at the entrance to the Water Ranch. 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. Limited to 6 participants. Suggestions and directions to additional Phoenix-area birding sites included!
Leader: Kathe Anderson (kathe.coot@cox.net)

November 20-Saturday, 8:00 am
Mason Center/Arthur Pack Park
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip difficulty: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Drinking water not available on trail. Restrooms at the Mason Center and one restroom midway on the 2.5 mile loop.
Join us for an introduction to birdwatching basics at the Tucson Audubon 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 and golf course pond. Meet at the Mason Center (3835 W. Hardy Rd.) on the corner of Hardy and Thornydale in NW Tucson. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leader: James Gessaman (jim.gessaman@gmail.com)

November 24-Wednesday, 7:30 am & 7:45 am
Sweetwater Wetlands
Register here for the 7:30 am walk; Register here for the 7:45 am walk
This popular birding hotspot in urban Tucson offers an easy walk through marshes created by Tucson Water 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. Limited to 10 total participants.
Leaders: Thomas Brown and Luke Safford (lsafford@tucsonaudubon.org)

November 30-Tuesday, 8:00 am
Avra Valley: Hawks for Beginners
Field Trip is FULL. Click here to be added to the waitlist.
Trip Difficulty: Easy. Walking distance: none. Elevation gain: none. Ground conditions: standing on the side of the road.
After a quick check of Kennedy Park Lake, we will drive around the south half of Avra Valley looking for Red-Tailed Hawks, Kestrels, Black Vultures and other raptors. There will be a spotting scope. Round trip of 50 miles on paved and graded dirt roads. Be ready for cold and mud. Restrooms at Kennedy Park and Saguaro NP West. Meet at the parking lot of Mission Library at the NW corner of Mission Road and Ajo Way. Back before noon. Non-birders and those who are mobility-challenged are especially invited (You can do this trip without ever getting out of your car!). Call or email the leader if you have any questions. Limited to 10 participants, face covering is required for those who are not fully vaccinated for Covid-19.
Leader: John Higgins, (520-578-1830, jghiggins@cox.net)

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. 

When: Varies. Check PCNRPR website for times.

Where: Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park, 12325 E. Roger Road. Meet at the Visitor's Center.

Cost: Free with PCNRPR Membership, Non-PCNRPR Member $5 fee. Online registration required:  www.pima.gov/nrpr 

For more information: email eeducation@pima.gov , or call 520-615-7855. Further Pima County birding trips can be found here.

Birding Canoa Ranch

Pima County leads this walk -- online registration required at Pima County's website at www.pima.gov/nrpr.
Join birding enthusiast Brian Nicholas to see a wide variety of sparrows, raptors, and waterfowl on the pond at Historic Canoa Ranch. All ages welcome. Masks are mandatory; social distancing will be enforced. Group size strictly limited. No walk-ins accepted.
When: 
Wednesday, June 2 -- 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, June 15 -- 7:30-9:30 a.m.
Where: Historic Canoa Ranch, 5375 S. I-19 Frontage Road, Green Valley 85622
Cost: Free with Membership, Non-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).

NOTE: Carpooling is temporarily suspended on Tucson Audubon field trips due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). 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.

BIRDING TOURS FROM OUR BIRDS BENEFIT BUSINESS ALLIANCE MEMBERS

Birding Trip to Belize with Mowgli Expeditions
  • Dates: March 5-14, 2022 – 10 days
  • Cost: $3350 per person (twin sharing)
  • Single supplement: $700.
  • Deposit: A $750 deposit is required to confirm your spot.
  • Leader: Sachin Aggarwal, founder of Mowgli Expeditions

Belize, formerly British Honduras, has long enjoyed a reputation for unsurpassed natural beauty, with 570 bird species documented in a country that is the only English-speaking country in Central America. Two-thirds of Belize is covered in tropical forest, half of which is old growth primary forest, and home to howler monkeys, tapirs, anteaters, and the occasional lurking jaguar. Group Size: 4–8

Collared Aracari pictured.

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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