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August 10–14, 2022 | Tucson, AZ

Festival Events and Trips with Openings

Looking for something else to do? The events listed here still have limited spaces available, don’t wait to sign up!


Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Shorebird Field Workshop at Cochise Lake with Kevin Karlson and Homer Hansen

  • 6:00am –12:00pm
  • $80/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Minimal walking on flat surfaces. Drive time approximately 85 minutes)
    This interactive workshop shares a different approach to field ID that Kevin calls Birding by Impression, which is the title of his book in the Roger Tory Peterson Reference Series. Shorebirds are the focus of this field trip (but other birds will also be identified), and the leaders will encourage participants to first note basic impressions of relative size, body shape, structural features and behavior to form an accurate mental picture of every bird seen. Plumage details are then added to create a strong holistic ID picture. This ID approach is similar to the one in Kevin’s bestselling book The Shorebird Guide (2007). Natural history information is also shared to enhance your appreciation of birds. Come and experience a different way of looking at birds, and enjoy Kevin’s unique way of sharing his knowledge of birds. Limited to 17 participants.

One Spot Left! – Oracle State Park and Peppersauce Canyon with Kathe Anderson and Jim Eager

  • 5:15am–11:30am
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 2: (Some mild hiking on fairly flat trails or gravel roads. About 45 minutes to destinations)
    We’ll start in beautiful Oracle State Park, located at 3,700’ to 4,600’, with landscape dominated by rolling hills and panoramic vistas as it transitions from desert grassland to oak-woodland. There, we’ll likely encounter common desert species, such as Harris’s Hawk, Gila Woodpecker, Say’s Phoebe, Curve-billed Thrasher, Canyon Towhee and summer visitors such as Summer Tanager, Lucy’s Warbler and Brown-crested Flycatcher, among others. Then we’ll move onto Peppersauce Canyon, an oasis mostly shaded by huge sycamores, where Bell’s and other vireos, plus Acorn Woodpeckers and Western Wood-Pewees are common, amongst a variety of lovely summer surprises. Limited to 8 participants.

One Spot Left! – Madera Canyon Sampler with Robert Mesta and Laura Erickson

  • 5:30 am–12:00 pm
  • $75/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails)
    This loop starts in grassland habitat around Proctor Road looking and listening for singing sparrows first thing in the morning. Black-capped Gnatcatcher has been a regular along this nature trail along with Bell’s Vireo, Blue Grosbeak, Summer Tanager, and Varied Bunting. Next we’ll head into the mid-elevation oak-juniper habitat, looking for desirable southeast Arizona species like Arizona Woodpecker, Painted Redstart, and Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher. After this we’ll spend some time walking along the riparian trail and investigating the hummingbird feeders that make Madera one of the best spots for hummingbird diversity in the country. Maybe we’ll find an Elegant Trogon! Back by noon. Limited to 17 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Hummingbird Videography Field Workshop with Steve Siegel at the Paton Center

  • 6:00am to 2:30pm
  • $120/person
    This field workshop is new for 2019, and offers the opportunity to hone your video skills with rapidly moving, constantly changing subjects…hummingbirds at the feeders of the Paton Center for Hummingbirds in Patagonia. We will be shooting in ambient light capturing the changing colors of the birds as they move about, and shooting for slow motion. How slow you can get will depend on the frame rates possible with your camera. This field workshop will be combined with a separate classroom session where we will discuss techniques to optimize and present your footage. Join bird videographer Steve Siegel to see how video can open new vistas in your nature imaging. Recommended equipment includes a digital camera with video capabilities or a camcorder. Also a tripod. A telephoto lens is desirable, and a telephoto zoom in the range of 100 to 400 mm is advantageous. Please be familiar with the basic video functions of your camera. There may be opportunities to film other birds at the Paton Center. Please e-mail Steve at RM4BIRDS@YAHOO.COM with any questions you may have. Lunch included, courtesy of The Gathering Grounds Restaurant in Patagonia. Limited to 8 participants.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Tucson’s Birthplace and the Flowing Santa Cruz River with Kendall Kroesen

  • 6:30am–9:00am
  • Free with Festival Registration, plus $5 donation at Mission Garden
  • Difficulty: 2 (some mild slopes–mostly flat ground and good surfaces)
    First we visit the Santa Cruz River, just west of downtown, where a new release of reclaimed water is restoring some of Tucson’s long-lost riparian ecosystem. What birds were here historically, and which of them have recolonized this area after only seven weeks? Then see Tucson from Sentinel Peak (now usually called “A” Mountain) and compare the view with a photograph taken from there in 1880–what’s changed? Look for upland desert birds on the closest patch of Saguaro-paloverde habitat to downtown. Then visit Mission Garden, at the base of the mountain. The garden revives Tucson’s history through garden plots representing four millennia of multicultural and gastronomic history. Find some of the same birds that have been visiting Tucson gardens for 4,000 years! Directions to meeting place: From the Doubletree Hotel, go south on Alvernon half a mile and turn right (west) on 22nd Street. Go about five miles west, passing under Interstate 10. Pass Santa Cruz Lane and then, just after passing Desert Survivors Plant Nursery (on the right), turn right into parking for the Santa Cruz River Park. (If you go over the river, you’ve gone too far.) Call Kendall at (520) 971-2385 if any problems. Limited to 20 participants. Kendall Kroesen,, (520) 971-2385.
Afternoon/Evening Trips

Bat Photography at Pond at Elephant Head with Dano Grayson

  • 5:45pm–10:00pm
  • $110/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Most of the time spent in photography blinds)
    The desert comes alive at night and the Pond at Elephant Head offers the perfect opportunity to catch it in action with your camera. Bat migration is happening during the monsoon season and offers an amazing experience. Join Wildlife Photographer, Dano Grayson for an evening of photographing bats and other wildlife at this private photography location. Recommended equipment: Camera with telephoto lens of at least 300mm along with tripod and shutter release cable. Limited to 9 participants.

Moths: A Nocturnal Exploration with Pima County Naturalist Jeff Babson

  • 6:30pm–9:30pm
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Easily accessible location with a short drive)
    This trip is the field counterpart to accompanying moth workshop. On this trip, we will set up a UV light and see what treasures the night produces. UV lights, also known as black lights, emit wavelengths that attract many insects, including moths and beetles. Many of these insects are common, but live their lives in darkness and many people are unaware of their existence. This trip will shine a light into the hidden diversity that exists at night in the Sonoran Desert. Limited to 10 participants.

Workshops and Events

Sketching Wildlife with Saraiya Kanning of Raebird Creations

  • 9:00am – 11:30am
  • $30/person, (Please bring your own materials)
    Drawing helps us pay attention and see the world around us with a fresh eye. In this class, students will practice foundational drawing skills while learning about local Sonoran Desert birds and other wildlife. No prior experience necessary. Supplies needed: 2B graphite pencil, white or kneaded eraser, smooth drawing paper or multi-media paper, Micron pens in black (size 05 – you can buy this as a single pen or buy a pack with an assortment of sizes). Questions about supplies? Email Limited to 8 participants.

Creative Flat Lay Photography with Lisa Langell

  • 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • $25/person
    Flat Lay Photography is such a fun, creative type of photography that has infinite possibilities. It is a wonderful option for days when the weather, light or subjects for traditional nature photography are not ideal. It can even be done indoors. The purpose behind this type of photography includes stock imagery, greeting cards, business cards, posters, advertising/marketing, wall art, and more. The sky’s the limit with what you can do. You will learn:
    1. The concepts and principles of flat lay photography
    2. Techniques for shooting flat-lay images of high quality
    3. Lighting tips
    4. Indoor and outdoor options for flat-lay
    5. Important principles for the proper composition and layout of your flat lay design
    6. A few key post-processing techniques that will elevate the look and feel of your work without changing the integrity of your image.

Birding the World: Adventures from Every Continent with Chris Collins & Jacob Roalef of Birding Ecotours

  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Join Jacob Roalef and Chris Collins of Birding Ecotours on a virtual trip around the world as they highlight some of the best birds – and birding destinations – on every continent. From the jungle of South America to the pristine landscape of Antarctica, and from the backyards of Europe to the desert down under, there are beautiful and unforgettable birds to be found.

Grebes “Walk” on Water to Find a Mate with Krisztina Scheeff of KS Nature Photography

  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    When it comes to dating in the world of Grebes it is not as easy as just going out for a fish dinner or a morning swim. These birds have much higher standards. If a mate cannot “walk” on water, they are out of luck. Southern California is home to hundreds of resident Western and Clark’s Grebes. These large, elegant black and white water birds breed here in the winter months. During mating season they engage in a maneuver called rushing, in which they sprint up to 50 feet across the water in coordinated groups of two or more in about seven seconds. How they do it? A combination of up to 20 steps per second, forceful slaps on the water’s surface with splayed feet, and an unusual stride help these grebes defy gravity, researchers report online in 2015 in the Journal of Experimental Biology. Come learn about the Grebes, how to spot and where to see and photograph this unique behavior (photos, videos).

Action Photography: Advanced Techniques for Nature Photographers with Steve Gettle

  • 12:30pm – 2:00pm
  • $25/person
    Want to learn how to go beyond simply making static portraits of your subjects? With today’s auto-focus exciting stop action photography is now accessible to virtually every photographer. We will discuss using just a camera and natural light to create stop-action images of subjects on the move, such as birds in flight and running animals. We will cover such things as, exposure techniques for action, optimizing your auto-focus system, acquiring initial focus lock, tracking your subject, basic camera trigger systems, other equipment, and much more.

Building Bridges: An Effective and Necessary Change in Biodiversity Conservation with Jennifer MacKay and Sergio Avila

  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)In this talk Jennifer MacKay and Sergio Avila will talk about the people, the real conservationists from Sonora and Arizona who are protecting wildlife, habitat and addressing climate change, with their daily efforts. Who are they? where do they live? how do they do it? The speakers will share with the audience a more complete view of conservation in Mexico, where nature and culture meet and mix, and the results this approach brings. They will share other examples from the region, sharing people’s experiences, values, skills, etc. and how those benefit conservation. Jennifer and Sergio have collaborated for many years to advance conservation in the US-Mexico borderlands and beyond, learning in the process that partnerships and collaboration strengthen their individual projects and help give a voice to those who work on conservation but rarely speak at festivals, conferences or publish in journals.

Moths: A Hidden World of Nocturnal Diversity with Pima County Naturalist Jeff Babson

  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Moths are often dismissed as drab creatures whose caterpillars devour our gardens and sweaters.  While some species do exhibit bad habits, the truth is that moths are incredibly diverse, abundant, and easy to observe.  Many moths are strikingly patterned and stunningly beautiful, refuting the idea that these insects are unattractive.  This workshop is an introduction to the vibrant, beautiful, and surprising world of moths.

Introduction to Southeast Arizona Tyrant Flycatchers with Homer Hansen

  • 2:00pm – 3:30pm
  • $10/person
    The largest family of birds in the world, Tyrant Flycatchers, includes an amazing diversity of species.  Flycatchers regularly pose identification challenges due to similar plumages and overlap with similar species range and habitat.  As part of this workshop, you will learn about useful characteristics and behaviors that aid in flycatcher identification.  This workshop places an emphasis on bill shape and size, wing length, and primary projection in relation to Tyranid genera and species identification.  This workshop will start with an overview of the family characteristic, and then cover flycatchers that might be seen during the festival.

How Will the Next Generation of Birders Define “Natural?” with David Pearson

  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Scientists, politicians and decision-makers are gradually coming to the realization that we can no longer live in the past to conserve biodiversity. With 12 billion inhabitants of the planet a distinct possibility within 75 years, humans will severely impact every habitat in the world.  The definition of “natural” must change to include human beings as a species within  the community of species. Urban ecology and use of secondary habitats will replace the disappearing myth of “pristine environments”. What are the ramifications of this change in philosophy for studying and protecting the environment, and how will it impact everyone living in a world changing so quickly?

An Artistic Photographer Lies in All of Us with Lisa Langell

  • 2:30pm – 4:00pm
  • $25/person
    Photographers want to be more innovative and creative, but often mental barriers “prevent” the creative process from happening. One of the biggest mental blocks is simply believing, “I’m not a very creative person.” This session breaks down those barriers in a really fun and logical way! You’ll learn how to apply the creative process and develop patterns that will bring more joy, innovation, success, creativity and happiness to your photography! This session will help you:
    1. Learn how even those who feel they “are not artistic” can actually BE artistic and creative
    2. Understand “imaginative skill” and how it develops
    3. Learn about the “Mash up” formula
    4. Debunk the myths about artistry and creativity
    5. Learn a few tips and tricks for post processing
    6. Exercise your creativity through real-world examples and activities we will complete during the session
    7. Inspirations to take with you

101 Ways to Help Birds with Laura Erickson

  • 3:00pm – 4:00pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Laura was a freshman in college during the first Earth Day, and has spent her entire adult life focused on conservation, researching tips on impactful ways we can help birds since she started producing her radio program in 1986. In 2006, her book, 101 Ways to Help Birds was published. She continues to research ways, big and small, easy and more difficult, that we can make a genuine difference. This program will highlight some of the most important.

Sensor Cleaning Demystified with Curt Fargo

  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm
  • FREE (sign-up with paid events through festival registration or separately for free here)
    Learn to clean your sensor safely and efficiently from an expert with over 15 years’ experience. Cleaning your sensor only takes minutes, just a fraction of the time you spend removing sensor dust in processing. This training demystifies sensor cleaning with simple steps for safely and effectively cleaning any DSLR or mirrorless sensor. You’ll be taught by Curt Fargo, one of the world’s leading professional sensor cleaning educators who has been teaching sensor cleaning since DSLRs were released in early 2000. After providing a brief history of sensor cleaning, Curt dives into the details of simple steps that anyone can perform. You will learn how to examine your sensor, when to use both dry and wet sensor cleaning methods, and how to perform each method. More importantly, you’ll learn the precautions that ensure safe sensor cleaning every time. Time permitting, Curt also provides free one-on-one training as he cleans the sensors of all in attendance. Curt Fargo is an educator, factory-trained camera repairman with ‘ over 20 years’ experience, a Certified Photographic Consultant, and has photographed professionally and semi-professionally for over 40 years. He is also the co· founder of You will also be able to have your camera cleaned by Curt for free while you watch and learn to do it yourself.
Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Introduction to Bird Photography Workshop with Ben Knoot at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

  • 6:30am – 11:00am
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails at museum. Drive time to location approximately 35 minutes)
    Want to get into bird photography but don’t know where to start? In this introductory course, Tropical Birding Guide, Ben Knoot, will guide you through some of the essential pieces of information you’ll need to get your photography started. This class will not necessarily focus on an abundance of top quality images, but will instead focus on basic methods and techniques for in the field bird photography. The class will begin with a 30min presentation at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel near Reid Park (festival venue), then we’ll drive to the iconic Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Your way is paid for at this outdoor museum which has 230 animal species, two bird aviaries, and plenty of wild birds of the Sonoran Desert as well. Limited to 9 participants.

One Spot Left! – De Anza Trail and Area with Robert Mesta

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Flat walking trails. Drive time to location approximately one hour.)
    An easy stroll through this lush riparian corridor along the Santa Cruz provides many opportunities for migrants, Gray Hawks, flycatchers, and hordes of Yellow-breasted Chats. Rose-throated Becard, whose nests look like a large football hanging from the end of a branch, have nested along this trail the past two years. A stop at the Amado Wastewater Treatment plant on the way back could be good for Black-bellied Whistling-Duck. Limited to 9 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Hummingbird Photography Field Workshop with Stephen Vaughan at Paton Center

  • 6:00am – 2:30pm
  • $120/person
    This trip is one of the field counterparts to the hummingbird photography class. Hummingbirds can flap their wings up to 80 times a second, which can present quite the challenge for a photographer. This is the perfect opportunity to learn the specialized techniques needed to create stunning images of hummingbirds. This field portion will be limited to 8 participants from the workshop and will be traveling to the famous Paton Center for Hummingbirds. We will cover ambient light, fill-flash and high-speed flash photography techniques. Join professional nature photographer Stephen Vaughan for this fantastic opportunity to experience the joys of photographing these flying jewels. Recommended equipment: Digital SLR, TTL flash, tripod and a telephoto lens capable of focusing close enough the fill the viewfinder with a 5 x 7 inch object. You can email Steve at if you have questions. Lunch included, courtesy of The Gathering Grounds Restaurant in Patagonia. Limited to 8 participants.

One Spot Left! – Parker Canyon Lake Area with Eric Scheuering

  • 5:00am – 3:00pm
  • $100/person
  • Difficulty: 3 (Steeper slopes or more rocky/rooted trails. Drive time to final location approximately two hours on some rough and curvy road.)
    This 130-acre, deep water lake is tucked back on the west slopes of the Huachuca Mountains and because of its location is under-birded but holds great potential. Grassy hillsides dotted with oaks may hold Montezuma Quail, Western or Eastern Bluebirds, Bushtits, flycatchers, and early migrants. Western Grebes and Ospreys have been seen catching fish out of the lake during summer and Cassin’s Kingbirds are quite common. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

The 21st century field guide—Merlin Bird ID at Sabino Canyon with Kathi Borgmann

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 2 (mostly flat walking trails on some uneven and rocky terrain)
    Join Kathi Borgmann from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as she walks you through the Merlin Bird ID app. This free app can help you identify birds by answering 5 simply questions or by using Merlin Vision to identify photos. Merlin Bird ID isn’t just for beginning birders–learn how to use more advanced features like setting targets for upcoming trips, filtering by location, and more to help you learn birds faster. Kathi will also show you eBird basics. Sabino Canyon offers a beautiful mix of Sonoran desert upland and riparian areas. Meet at the ramada by the Visitor’s Center at 5700 N Sabino Canyon Road. $5 parking fee. Return to car by 9am. Limited to 10 participants.

Tucson Audubon’s Mason Center and Arthur Pack Park with Jim Gessaman

  • 6:00am – 8:30am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (flat walking trails, around 1-2 miles easy walking)
    The Mason Center is located on 20 acres of mostly undisturbed saguaro-ironwood desert in NW Tucson with many hummingbird and seed feeders which attract a variety of Sonoran Desert birds and wildlife. As a protected area adjacent to additional natural desert in Arthur Pack Park, it provides habitat for the preservation and study of many desert plants and animals. Costa’s, Black-chinned, and Anna’s Hummingbirds could be expected along with Gilded Flicker, Cactus Wren, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Abert’s Towhee, and Lucy’s Warblers. Meet at the Mason Center parking lot at 3835 W. Hardy Road. Return to car at 8:30am. Limited to 12 participants.

Birding Stroll for Beginners—all ages welcome!

  • 9:00am – 10:00am
  • Free with registration
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking on sidewalks)
    We’ll do a leisurely stroll around the hotel to pick up some birding basics and tips, fun stories, and of course, some good birds. Anna’s and Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Vermilion Flycatcher, Verdin, and more hang out right around the festival venue! Meet in the lobby of the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Finish at 10am when the Nature Expo and Kid’s Zone opens.

Youth Birding Outing at Sweetwater Wetlands presented by Zeiss Sports Optics

  • 7:00am-9:30am
  • Free with registration
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking, around 1 mile)
    Get ready for a fun and easy walk through Tucson’s favorite wetlands to see exciting species like Green Heron hiding in the reeds and Tropical Kingbirds in the willows. Birders ages 6 – 17 and of all experience levels are welcome to participate in an expert-led trip! Binoculars will be available to use, courtesy of Zeiss Sports Optics. Meet near the bathrooms by main parking area at 2511 W. Sweetwater Drive.


Birding Photography with Henry Johnson

  • 10:00am – 11:30am
  • $25/person
    This class is an introduction to birding with a camera, with an emphasis on tools and techniques, both in the field and when you get home. You will learn how to approach equipment choices and techniques in the field to make getting images a rewarding addition to birding, and not a chore. Learn some techniques for image processing when you get home to make your images the best they can be. This class is designed for any skill level, including those non-photographers considering adding a camera to their birding gear.

Birding Arizona: What to Know, Where to Go with Charles Babbitt

  • 10:30am – 11:30am
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Over 500 bird species have been recorded In Arizona and can be seen in many different habitats and locations. Charles Babbitt will talk about some of the best birding locations in the state as well as a number of exciting under birded areas, from his new book, “Birding Arizona: What to Know, Where to Go.”

The Owls of Harry Potter and Other Birds in Popular Culture with Laura Erickson

  • 11:00am – 12:00pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Could a real Snowy Owl carry a Nimbus 2000? What species is Pigwidgeon? Could a real Great Gray Owl survive the mishaps that happen to poor, clumsy Errol? Hedwig, perhaps the most famous Snowy Owl of all time, has something in common with Lassie: in the original books, both characters were females, but in both cases, though for different reasons, Hedwig and Lassie were portrayed by multiple male actors. Laura will talk about the owls of the magical world and how they compare to the owls of reality. She’ll also discuss a few other birds of popular culture, such as Woodstock. Roadrunner, Woody Woodpecker, and Tweety, and how some collisions of fiction and fact can produce delightful results.

Birding in Rattlesnake Country with Mike Cardwell

  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Birders walk around looking up. But in rattlesnake country, not looking where you’re stepping occasionally has severe consequences – both physically and financially. Mike will explain how to avoid bites and provide currently recommended first aid, while getting you up-to-date on the new antivenom and busting some rattlesnake myths in the process!


Advanced  Photography Workshop with Kevin Karlson

  • 12:00pm – 2:30pm
  • $25/person
    Digital photography allows us to take our photography skills and techniques to higher levels every year, but many photographers disregard or don’t know about basic lighting principles and compositional balance that all art forms rely upon. This workshop covers a number of topics that will elevate your photography knowledge and skills while increasing your artistic input. Flight and action techniques and exposure compensation on the fly using manual exposure are covered, as well as basic and advanced light awareness, synchronous panning, and compositional basics of balance and creative cropping. Wildlife and bird photography are emphasized, but landscape and close-up examples are also covered. Basic camera functions will not be discussed in this workshop. This workshop is advanced in nature, so knowledge of your camera settings is required.
    ***The first 15 photographers who sign up and agree to bring 3 images for critique by Kevin and other participants will share their work with the group, who will comment on how they would have processed the images differently according to the workshop and their own preferences. The only criticisms will be violations of basic artistic principles of balance and composition, with other comments involving different personal preferences of style. This is a fun exercise for learning and sharing your work with others.

Borderlands Jaguars with Mark Hart of Arizona Game & Fish

  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico are the only locations in the United States where jaguars have been sighted in the past twenty years.  In late 2016, two jaguars were present in the region, one in the Huachuca Mountains and the other in the Dos Cabezas. Earlier that year a video surfaced of a third jaguar in the Santa Rita Mountains. The video caused an international sensation, but that jaguar hasn’t been seen since. Although the Huachucas jaguar came to a bad end in Mexico, its return there was biologically significant. Meantime, the Dos Cabezas jaguar has persisted south of Willcox since.  This presentation will examine how the presence of these endangered species in the region pose unique challenges for wildlife and land managers, and how they have made trail camera photography even more popular among the general public.

The California Condor: Life on the Edge with Rick Negele

  • 1:30pm – 2:30pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    How close to extinction did the California Condor get? Where can I still see one today? Join Rick and discover the fascinating story of the survival of the California Condor. Learn about the many people and agencies that struggled to protect them. Understand the challenges that still threaten the condor today.

Magical Migration: Hawks and Hawkwatching Around the Globe with Luke Tiller

  • 2:00pm – 3:00pm
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    The mass migration of diurnal raptors must rate as one of the most magical birding spectacles in nature and for that reason it draws its own special brand of devotees. Join professional hawkwatcher and guide Luke Tiller for a virtual tour of the globe’s hawkwatch platforms from Tubac to Tel Aviv. His talk will touch on the history of hawkwatching, the places to visit, how to get the best out of the hawkwatching experience and some of the pitfalls of trying to identify a bird in flight. The talk will be highlighted by some stunning raptor photos of this incredible phenomenon from his adventures in Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Photographing Birds – From Backyards to Field, Forest and Jungle with Steve Gettle

  • 3:00pm – 4:30pm
  • $25/person
    Bird photography is a challenging and rewarding genre of photography. This talk will cover everything from creating a backyard photography station to travelling the world in pursuit of our avian subjects. With such a diverse subject matter from hummingbirds to raptors and waders bird photography requires a diverse skill set. During this course Steve will share with you the many tips, tricks, and techniques he has learned from over 30 years of photographing birds around the world.

Transforming Nature Photography into Modern Decorative Art with Lisa Langell

  • 3:30pm – 5:00pm
  • $25/person
    Your photography–transformed! Photographers think a great deal about composition, light, subject matter and more when they create an image. But do you, as a photographer, think about the final home for the image? Or how to make your images more marketable, unique, and desirable for today’s consumers? What about simply making your work more unique and “current” in ways you haven’t thought about? This session will take you on a virtual journey from the field to the finishing room where you will learn how to:
    1. Get inspired by thinking differently about what you shoot, how you shoot it, and why.
    2. How to start thinking like an interior decorator.
    3. What’s on-trend today in nature photography?
    4. Apply principles and techniques for capturing images that will result in compelling artwork
    5. Look for the hidden opportunities that are right before you out in the field
    6. Think photographically in terms of color palates and collections
    7. Completely expand your horizons, subjects and creative ideas you bring to your portfolio
    8. Discover what’s lurking in your “sock drawer”
Half-day trips (includes water jug and snacks)

Pond at Elephant Head Photography with Brian Zwiebel

  • 5:00am –11:00am
  • $120/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Cool morning will turn hotter in late morning. Most of time spent in photography blinds)
    Join Brian Zwiebel, of Sabrewing Nature Tours, for a morning of photographing the wildlife wonders of the Sonoran Desert. A full cast of characters come to visit the Pond including Northern Cardinal, Pyrrhuloxia, warblers, Gila & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, Gambel’s Quail, Greater Roadrunners, and of course the occasional surprises. Shooting from sunrise through the morning. The day offers opportunities to capture thousands of quality images of the local animals using unique methods to enrich your portfolio with these desert delights. Needed Equipment: DSLR Camera, telephoto lenses, tripod, small tripod-type folding chair if desired, and binoculars. Limited to 9 participants.

Green Valley Sampler with Brian Nicholas

  • 6:00am – 12:00pm
  • $65/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Mostly flat walking and some walking through grassland habitat. 45 minute drive time to location.)
    We’ll be sampling a few birding locations in Green Valley, including Canoa Ranch and the Green Valley Wastewater ponds, and either Madera or Box Canyon for summer upland species. Green Valley Wastewater is a great stop at any time of day for migrating sandpipers and waterfowl, and Canoa Ranch is a new hotspot which has great diversity, and has seen a lot of migrants due to its location and restored pond. Recently a Magnificent Frigatebird made a brief visit to Canoa. If time permits we may shoot down to the Amado Sewage ponds just one exit away from Canoa Ranch. Trip limited to 9 participants.
Full-day trips (includes water jug, snacks, drinks, and lunch)

Birding Photography Field Workshop with Henry Johnson

  • 6:30am – 3:00pm
  • $120/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (Maybe some uphill walking but mostly at feeders. Drive time to location approximately 45 minutes)
    For this workshop we will travel to Mt Lemmon at the instructor’s cabin to practice the principles reviewed in the Birding Photography workshop. At 7500 feet expect to see Yellow-eyed Juncos, Acorn Woodpeckers, Steller’s Jays, Pine Siskins, Black-headed Grosbeaks, White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, plus hummingbirds and a possible warbler or tanager. Lunch included. Limited to 8 participants.
Drive Yourself Trips—Please read description for meeting location and arrive promptly.

Bird with eBird: Sweetwater Wetlands with Kathi Borgmann

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $20/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (About one mile walking on groomed pathways)
    You may know eBird as “the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project,” but it seems daunting to start using it in the field–or maybe you just want to make sure you are contributing and using it to its fullest capacity. Join eBird expert, Kathi Borgmann at the most eBirded hotspot in Arizona, Sweetwater Wetlands, where you’ll search for Cinnamon Teal, Tropical Kingbirds, and Abert’s Towhees, while getting the latest tips on how to get the most out of eBird through data entry short cuts, editing checklists, recording/editing tracks, Merlin integration, and more. Limited to 10 participants. If you do not have an eBird account, sign up before the trip at Please download the free eBird mobile app and the free Merlin Bird ID app for your smartphone prior to the trip and install the Southwest US bird pack. Meet near the bathrooms by main parking area at 2511 W. Sweetwater Drive. Limited to 10 participants.

Fort Lowell Park with Ken Murphy

  • 6:30am – 9:00am
  • $15/person
  • Difficulty: 1 (easy walking around city park trails)
    Less than 15 minutes from the festival venue, this is one of the best spots in Tucson to find Vermilion Flycatchers and the city park habitat (along with pond) offers a good variety of species for us to find. This is a favorite park of local trip leader, Ken Murphy, and we’ll walk the grounds hoping to find Broad-billed Hummingbird, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Cassin’s Kingbird, Lark Sparrows, and Lucy’s Warblers. Meet at the front parking area near the pool (map here). Limited to 12 participants.


Bird Listening: Why Birding is More Than Just Watching with Kyle Carlsen

  • 10:00am – 11:00am
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Take your birding to the next level! Birds make a lot of different sounds, and learning to recognize and identify these sounds is a big part of what makes birding fun. In this workshop, we will discuss why birds make the sounds they do, the value of using our ears to find more birds in the field, how to pick out individual birds from an overwhelming chorus, and methods for learning and remembering bird sounds. This workshop is presented by Kyle Carlsen, a lifelong birder and musician.

How to Create a Bird and Wildlife Friendly Backyard with Kim Matsushino

  • 10:00am – 10:45am
  • FREE (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    Do you have birds in your backyard–want some? Learn how to transform your yard and become part of something bigger that saves water, helps birds and other wildlife, and creates a beautiful area for you to enjoy. A Habitat at Home “naturescape” can lower your utility bills and reduce maintenance. Learn how to beautify your yard while providing food and habitat for the birds that enrich our community. Native plant species allow you to enjoy a cooler yard in Tucson’s hot and dry weather.

Transitioning into bird and nature photography: Making informed decisions about gear and your budget with Lisa Langell

  • 10:30am – 12:00pm
  • $25/person
    As an increasing number of birders and nature enthusiasts are turning to photography, the choices can be overwhelming for gear and accessories. This session is designed to remove the “intimidation factor” and help educate those new to photography – and bird photography – about various types of gear. The goal is to help participants know what gear is essential, what isn’t, and the purpose of the various tools—all in a friendly, supportive and positive
    environment. Participants will learn:
    1. The basics of the main categories of cameras available, as well as the pros and cons of each type of camera–from point-and-shoots, DSLR and mirrorless cameras — and even digiscoping.
    2. Participants will learn basic terminology of camera gear and its purpose
    3. Important information about how to best determine your needs so that you select the gear that’s right for you
    4. Tips for selecting tripods, tripod heads, and truly helpful accessories will also be provided—all with a practical, budget-minded perspective so that you get what you need without over-buying gadgetry.

The “HOME” side of Habitat–Nestbox Building with Olya Phillips

  • 11:00am – 1:00pm
  • FREE–just pay for the nestbox, or donate the box to Tucson Audubon; (register here w/o fee or with paid events above)
    A place to live and raise young is a critical component of habitat. Improve the value of your Habitat at Home by creating homes for species that can’t create their own. Join us for a short talk about the importance of nestboxes followed by a workshop! You’ll have the opportunity to build a nestbox for a local cavity nesting species or a bee hotel for native (stingless!) bees.

Editing in Adobe Lightroom with Ben Knoot

  • 12:30pm – 1:30pm
  • $25/person
    Join Tropical Birding Guide, Ben Knoot, in this one hour long editing workshop in Adobe Lightroom. Ben will guide you through basic editing as well as some tips and tricks to help you further your post-processing skills.


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


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


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

Michael T. Bogan (he/him)

Michael is an Assistant Professor of Aquatic biology at the University of Arizona. Originally from California, he earned his PhD at Oregon State University, where his research focused on stream ecosystems of the Madrean Sky Islands and Sonoran Desert. He is well-known for his work on Santa Cruz River Heritage Project, and his beautiful photos of dragonflies. His research topics include Arid Lands, Conservation Biology, Invasive Species and Population and Community Ecology.

Michael serves as the faculty advisor for the UA chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, a national Diversity in STEM organization. Michael is a partner on our Santa Cruz River Heritage Project work and has contributed to the Vermilion Flycatcher in the past year.

Michael has a hard time choosing a single favorite bird, but says that Curve-billed Thrashers are pretty hard to beat. “I could watch them goofing around through the leaf litter and be entertained for days!”


Alberto Búrquez

I currently work at the Instituto de Ecología, Department of Ecology of Biodiversity, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). I got my bachelor and master’s degree at UNAM, and my PhD at the University of Cambridge, UK. I do research in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Ethnoecology. Drylands ecology and societal use of resources in water-limited systems have been an ever-present passion through my life. It might be because I am a Sonoran Desert born person. However, my personal theory is that once someone experiences the desert landscapes they are smitten for life. I am passionate about bird and honorary bird species like bats and hawkmoths, particularly in their mutualist interactions with plants. My current projects include: 1) Columnar cacti: ecology, evolution, societal services. 2) Effects of extreme events on vegetation, 3) Species Distribution and Biogeography, 4) Indigenous lands and ecosystem processes, and 5) drought and freezing resistance in plants at the edges of distribution.


Jeanne Calhoun

Fascinated by wilderness and everything wild since growing up backpacking with her family in the Sierras, Jeanne pursued a diverse environmental career over the past 30+ years.  With a Bachelor’s in Biology (Carleton College) and a Master’s in Geology (Oregon State University), she pursued multiple aspects of environmental protection, with the last 23 years focused on ecological conservation in Arizona, working for The Nature Conservancy, US Fish & Wildlife Service, and the US National Park Service.  During her ten years at TNC, Jeanne was responsible for on-the-ground conservation in four ecoregions in Arizona, management of TNC’s preserve system, land management and restoration, government relations, and water policy.

Jeanne spent seven years with the USFWS where she oversaw threatened and endangered species issues in southern Arizona. She enjoyed the challenges of dealing with controversial issues such as the international border, proposed mining projects, energy infrastructure, wilderness management and climate change.

Most recently, she worked for Grand Canyon National Park as Chief of the Science and Resource Management Division, where she oversaw all science research as well as natural and cultural resource management activities in the park.  During her years at the Grand Canyon, Jeanne initiated the first Paleontological Resources Inventory for the park, led a Climate Change Analysis for the park’s watershed, reinitiated the effort to designate 94% of the park as Wilderness, and led publication of the Natural and Cultural Resource Condition Assessment for the park.

Recently retired, Jeanne has a passion for water sports, hiking and exploring Arizona’s spectacular landscapes, and is learning how to play the saxophone.


Colleen Cacy

Colleen is a partner with the firm Gadarian and Cacy, PLLC, a Tucson law firm specializing in professional Tax Strategy, Estate Planning and Asset Protection law.

  • J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law (1986)
  • President of the Board of the Southern Arizona Estate Planning Council
  • Elected member, American College of Trust and Estate Council
  • Memberships: Executive Committee of the Probate and Trust Section of the State Bar, the State Bar of Arizona, the Probate and Trust and Tax Sections of the State Bar, the American Bar Association, and the Pima County Bar Association.
  • Past President of the Board of ZUZI Dance Company


Richard Carlson

Richard started birding as a child in Minnesota 70 years ago. After a brief interlude at Harvard, where he majored in caving, mountain climbing, winter mountaineering and economics, he began birding again in Washington DC with the Maryland Ornithological Society. He was one of Chan Robbin’s volunteers in establishing the first Breeding Bird Surveys. Bribed by the Nixon administration to leave town with a fellowship to Stanford, he moved West in 1969. He worked at Stanford Research Institute, where he co-authored “Solar Energy in America’s Future” and led field trips for the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society. He became President of the San Francisco Bay Bird Observatory and expanded his birding to Latin America. He has birded throughout the Neotropics and in Africa, Australia, Antarctica, India, China and Europe. He hopes to ultimately see at least half the birds of the world. He and his wife Pat now migrate between homes in Tucson and Lake Tahoe depending on where the birds are.


Tricia Gerrodette

Tricia never wound up with a career but instead had a variety of jobs and life experiences. She's been a bookkeeper, a typist, a proofreader and then a test analyst for a defense contracting company. She was a tour guide for trips into Mexico's Copper Canyon for Elderhostel (now Road Scholar). The trips focused on Mexican and railroad history as well as the history and culture of the Rarámuri (Tarahumara) natives.

Secretary of the board for Tucson Audubon, member of the board for Friends of the San Pedro River, president of the now-defunct Huachuca Audubon Society, treasurer for Sky Island Unitarian Universalist Church, Water Sentinel with Sierra Club Water Sentinels, Steering Committee for Sustainable Water Workgroup.

When Huachuca Audubon Society disbanded in May 2016, Cochise County became part of the "assigned" territory for Tucson Audubon Society. That was a huge amount of land, although not too many people, to absorb. I was invited to be on the Tucson Audubon board to help with that effort, and to help protect the San Pedro River. That work still continues! Photo by Mark Levy.

Kathy Jacobs

Kathy Jacobs is a professor of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona and Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS). CCASS is a component of the Arizona Institutes for Resilience, and builds capacity to accelerate adaptation and on-the-ground solutions to climate issues.  She is currently a member of a team that is building the Indigenous Resilience Center at the UA.  From 2010 – 2013, Jacobs worked in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House. She was director of the Third National Climate Assessment, and the lead advisor on water science, policy, and adaptation. From 2006-2009 Jacobs was Executive Director of th

e Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of Arizona’s three universities focused on water sustainability. She worked 23 years for the Arizona

Department of Water Resources, including 15 as the director of the Tucson Active Management Area.  She was engaged in multiple aspects of implementing Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act, including development of water conservation programs and the Assured Water Supply Rules.  Jacobs has served on nine National Academy panels; she earned her M.L.A. in environmental planning from Berkeley.


Elisabeth (Lissie) Jaquette

Elisabeth (Lissie) Jaquette had been an occasional birder prior to moving to Arizona in 2018. Since connecting with Tucson Audubon, she has become increasingly passionate about birding, and is excited to give back by serving on the board. Lissie first became involved with Tucson Audubon by participating in the Habitat at Home program, then by joining as a member, and more recently by volunteering with the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival, the Birdathon, and several bird surveys.

Lissie’s education includes a BA from Swarthmore College and an MA from Columbia University. Since 2017 she has served as Executive Director for the American Literary Translators Association, a non-profit membership organization.

When Lissie is not birding, she enjoys hiking and trail running in the Sonoran Desert, and translating literature from Arabic to English (her latest book was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Awards). She lives in Tucson with her 1-year-old son, Cassin (named for the kingbird); dog, Cooper (named for the hawk); and husband, Dan (sadly not named for any birds).


Riana Johnson

Riana Johnson is a skilled researcher with experience in quantitative, qualitative, and data visualization within the energy efficiency and utility industry. She brings creativity along with strong data analysis skills to her work. She uses her background in fine art and econometrics to deftly craft data visualizations and tell data-driven stories. Riana is a new birder and loves living in Tucson where the Vermillion Flycatchers are plenty. She recently started a chapter of the Feminist Bird Club in Tucson where she can mix her passion for activism, art, and birds. Riana has degrees in Political Science and Studio Art from New York University and a Masters of Public Policy from the University of Arizona.


Linda McNulty

Linda McNultyLinda’s education includes a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Rochester, and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Arizona, where she graduated Summa cum Laude and was elected to the Order of the Coif. A recently retired partner at the law firm of Lewis and Roca, LLP, Linda was a member of the firm’s Real Estate and Finance practice group. Her law practice focused primarily on commercial real estate, business and natural resources law. Linda has served a number of board roles, including: President of the Tucson chapter of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) and member to the board of directors of the Pima County Sports and Tourism Authority, the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, and the Wilderness Land Trust. Early in her career, Linda worked for the Arizona Department of Water Resources and she’s maintained a connection to water policy issues in Arizona. Linda has been a member of Tucson Audubon Society since 1976 and lives with her husband Michael in Tucson.


R. Cynthia Pruett

Cynthia-Pruitt-with-raffle-tickets-by-Kendall-KroesenFor a long period I was what you might call a "lapsed birder". I started birding in college with a boyfriend who became my husband and we traveled all over the United States while he was in the service; leading to a pretty comprehensive bird list. Then suddenly, other life activity got in the way and for about 25 years birding was shelved. In the late 80's I was introduced to an avid woman birder at an environmental conference and the passion came back. My work career involved many executive jobs, some of them key environmental positions, which only reinforced my understanding of the need to protect important habitat around the world. It's (the birding) led to many trips to many countries, a joy of seeing both new and revisited birds and of course, to becoming active in Audubon chapters, both here and in Virginia.


Cynthia M. VerDuin, CPA

Cynthia began birding when she was 10 by participating with her girl scout troop create a bird-watching badge. In the 90’s she began birding with family, friends and with bird walks in various Ohio regions. Since 2010, she has enjoyed Tucson Audubon bird walks and short trips. Beginning in 2016, she has participated in the Birding Festival, serving as a volunteer in 2017-2019 and at Meet your Birds events. She served on the Gala and Finance committees in 2016-2017, and joined the board in 2018. She now serves as Treasurer and Search Committee co-chair.

Cynthia founded her accounting firm in 2007, focusing on not-for-profits, small companies and individuals, providing accounting, tax planning and reporting services, calling upon her Kent State University (BA degree in accounting with honors) and her experience at one of the “Big Eight” accounting firms (Arthur Andersen). Cynthia is also a Physical Therapist and commercial hot air balloon pilot, and enjoys hiking, birding, biking and swimming.