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General Information

  • Tucson Audubon field trips are free, unless stated otherwise (occasionally a special, extended trip is listed here). 
  • Contact trip leader for more information about each field trip. For general questions about the field trip program, contact the Field Trip Coordinator,  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 520-209-1806.
  • Trip birding ethics: Approach birding with the health and safety of nesting birds and bird populations as your first priority. For more on how to protect birds while birding, see the American Birding Association's statement of birding ethics at www.aba.org/about/ethics.html.
  • Field trip leaders are in charge of all aspects of the day's birding. You MUST follow their instructions at all times.
  • For more field trip information, see "Important Field Trip Information" in the column to the right.

Announcements & Resources


Weekly Tucson Audubon Walks - No registration required

Wednesday Mornings at Sweetwater Wetlands
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 and/or Bryon Lichtenhan 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 2617 W Sweetwater Dr. Contact leader with questions, 520-576-6044, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Note: Starting in May the this walk starts at 6 a.m. If you arrive late, check the "sightings/information" box just before the bridge and there will be a note on which way the walk went after the bridge.
Every Wednesday. Start times: November - Feb: 8 a.m.; March - April: 7 a.m.; May - August: 6 a.m.; September - Oct: 7 a.m.

First and third Saturday Mornings at Tucson Audubon's Mason Center
Trip Rating: Easy; Walking Distance: 2.5 miles; Trip Duration: 2 hr 45 min; Elevation Gain: none; Ground Condition: groomed trail. Restrooms at 2 locations along the walk. Drinking water not available on trail.
Join Tucson Audubon for an introduction to birdwatching basics and our Mason Center. After feeder watching at the Center, stroll across Hardy Rd to Arthur Pack Park for some 20 to 30 more species along the 2.3 mile Maeveen Behan desert trail and golf course pond. Great for families. Loaner binoculars available. RSVP not required. Call 520-209-1815 with questions. See map. Led by Jim Gessaman, Mary Ellen Flynn or Ray Deeney. Note: Walk extended into May and starts at 7 a.m.
First and third Saturday. Start times: November - April: 8 a.m.; May - 7 a.m.

Saturday Mornings at Arivaca Cienega, Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge
Trip rating: Easy. Walking distance: 1.25 miles. Trip duration: 2 hours. Elevation gain: minimal. Ground condition: good dirt trails and sometimes boardwalks. Restrooms at the parking lot only. 
Join Bob Rolfson and one of several other guides for a walk through this great birding site consisting up upland desert, grassland and wetlands. You will likely see 30-55 species depending on the season, including potentially some southeast Arizona specialties. RSVP not required. From Tucson, go south on I-19 42 miles to Amado. Go west on Arivaca Road a short distance, jog north, and then again turn west on Arivaca Road. Go 25 miles on a slow, winding road. Contact Bob Rolfson at 520-399-2873 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . The trailhead (plenty of parking) is located 1/4 mile east of the town of Arivaca. 
November through April. Start time 8 a.m.  

Weekly Walks from Tucson Audubon Partners

Wake up with the Birds at Agua Caliente Park - Thursdays NOW $5 FEE 
Pima County leads this walk--please register below on Pima County's website
Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation offers this guided birding walk in the desert oasis of Agua Caliente Park to spot wetland birds, hummingbirds, songbirds, and raptors. Binoculars are available for use. Online registration required at Pima County's website at www.pima.gov/nrpr. Location: Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park, 12325 E. Roger Road. Meet at the Visitor's Center. Visit the Tucson Audubon Nature Shop at Agua Caliente Park after the walk.
Meeting times: Sept – Oct: 8:00 am,  Nov – Feb: 8:30 am, Mar – Apr: 8:00 am, May – Aug: 7:30 am.
Online registration now required, $5 fee. Online registration: www.pima.gov/nrpr. For more information, email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or call 520-615-7855.

 

Current Trips - Please register

THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT REGISTERING
1. To register for a trip, please click on the registration link at the end of that trip's description
2. On the registration page, log in if you currently have a free Tucson Audubon online account. If not, click on "Continue event registration as new account" at the bottom of the page.
3. You will receive a confirmation email if the trip is not full (or has no limit)
4. If the trip is full you will be put on the waiting list (but you will receive no email)
5. If you are on the waiting list and a place becomes available, you will be contacted by the field trip leader
6. If you must cancel a registration, contact the leader or coordinator ASAP to free your space.
7. If you have trouble signing up, contact the field trip coordinator, 520-209-1806.

APRIL

April 30--Saturday 8 AM
Avra Valley Wastewater Treatment Ponds: Shorebirds for Beginners
Trip rating: moderate   Walking distance: 1 mile   Elevation Gain: none   Ground conditions: graded dirt and gravel road.
Come see what sandpipers, plovers and other shorebirds are heading north. We will have scopes and bird charts. Easy pace. Be ready for heat and sun. No restrooms at the ponds. Meet at Mission Library on the NW corner of Ajo Way and Mission Road. Round trip drive: 30 miles. Back by 11 a.m. Call or email leader if any questions. No limit but please sign up for this trip.
Leader:
John Higgins. 520-578-1830 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

APRIL 30--Saturday 7:30 - 10:45 AM
RAVEN'S NEST NATURE SANCTUARY & PATAGONIA LAKE TRIP FULL--Sign up for waiting list below
Trip Rating: Fairly Easy.  Walking Distance: 2.5 miles.  Elevation Gain: Modest/ few low hills and stairs.  Ground Conditions: Groomed Trails at Raven's Nest. Often rocky, wet, and off trail at Patagonia Lake.
Join Tucson Audubon for a birding and naturalist exploration of Raven’s Nest, a private Nature Sanctuary located adjacent to Sonoita Creek State Natural Area.  April heralds the return of many species which join a diverse group of resident bird species, including: Gray Hawk, Northern Beardless -Tyrannulet, Montezuma Quail,  a number of Flycatchers, various warblers, Green-tailed Towhee, Rufous-winged Sparrow, and a plethora of migratory passerines and raptors.  Spring at Raven’s Nest also boasts native wildflowers - which you’ll learn to identify, as well as a number of Butterfly species, and many local native plants. A five minute drive to Patagonia Lake to search for a diversity of waterfowl, numerous Breeding & Migratory Birds,  and Elegant Trogon. The Naturalist Saunter will be enhanced by the interpretation of any wildlife tracks and signs that we encounter as Mountain Lions, White-nosed Coati, Gila Monster, and other unique wildlife inhabit the area. Meet at the Paton Center for Hummingbirds at 7:30 AM. You must register on the Tucson Audubon website.
There's a cash entry fee of $15 per car payable at Patagonia Lake State Park, unless you own a State Park Pass.  
Limit 15 people. Please do not show up unregistered. Sign up here for this field trip--waiting list.
Leader: Vincent Pinto -   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

MAY

May 4--Wednesday 7:00 AM
Join Bob and Prudy plus Dave Pearson on Pinal Peak
Trip Rating:  Easy to moderate; mostly from car stops with short forest trail hikes of less than one-half mile on mostly level tracks.  Little hiking elevation gain, but birding at elevations up to 8,000 feet.
No one knows the birds of Pinal Peak better than ornithologist Dave Pearson, naturalist and professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University. Dave has generously offered to guide our group in a 15-mile birding journey from Globe, at 3,500 feet to the 8,000-foot summit. This adventure will include three eBird hotspots, Russell Gulch (155 species), Sulfide del Rey (117 species) as well as Pinal Peak (136 species), and takes us through multiple habitats (mesquite-riparian, chaparral, ponderosa pine and Douglas fir), with a wide range of bird species as well as mammals, lizards, butterflies and flowers. Dave's last outing there on April 6 netted 87 species, including Chihuahuan Raven, Crissal Thrasher, Hooded, Bullock's and Scott's Oriole, Virginia's, Grace's and Olive Warbler, Juniper Titmouse and Gray Vireo. Needless to say this will be a great opportunity for photography! We will meet in Globe at 7:00 AM to carpool (note that the total number of automobiles permitted is 3, so car pooling is required up the mountain), and we will return to Globe by 1:30 PM. Birding will be from multiple car stops along the route with short hikes of less than a half mile on old road tracks into the forest. Some uneven ground with little change in elevation, but elevation overall is up to 8,000 feet. Trip leaders will stay overnight in Globe on Tuesday, and will join any participants interested in staying in Globe Tuesday for dinner that evening. Leaders will try to facilitate carpooling from Tucson for participants traveling to Globe either Tuesday or Wednesday. Globe is 90 miles north of Catalina State Park via Highway 77/60, almost 2 hours from CSP, so plan accordingly.
Limited to 9 participants. Registration required to receive final trip details, times and checklist. Sign up for this trip here
Leaders: Contact trip leaders Bob and Prudy Bowers at  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  for details or questions.

May 8—Sunday 7:00 - 10:00 AM
Spring Birds & Hummingbirds at WOW Arizona
Difficulty:Easy/moderate Distance: about 1/2 mile Surface: Gravel/path/pavement
69 feeders, 5 water features, riparian areas. WOW Arizona, an e-bird Hotspot, 3 miles east of Catalina is a 3-acre haven for birds and wildlife over 150 species documented to date (see bird list). Join the flycatchers, warblers, grosbeaks, vireos, as well as the resident hawks, Rufous-winged Sparrows, and hummingbirds. Guided walk on the ground's pathways to known activity areas amongst the diverse habitats. Then, time on the Hummingbird Patios, two areas surrounded by 26 feeders scant feet from the seating area, remaining time free to roam. Limit 8 people. Coffee, tea, and water provided. Please wear neutral colors and be respectful of others. NO OBTRUSIVE CAMERAS, TRIPODS, PROS (Smugmug, Flickr, etc.). Parking limited, please carpool if possible. Money for feed fund happily accepted. WOW Arizona, a 501(c)(3). Trip limited to 8 people. Please sign up for this trip here.
Leaders: Christopher Vincent & MaryEllen Landen  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  520.907.8735

May 13 - 15
Spring Birding at Q Ranch TRIP FULL--Sign up for waiting list below
Located high in a ponderosa pine and oak-dotted valley, Q Ranch has some fine birding in the spring. Make this your birding getaway for migration in May of 2016! From Friday, May 13th to Sunday, May 15th, the trip will include two nights at the Ranch. All meals are included beginning with dinner on Friday. This is a great time of year for birds: over 150 species have been sighted around the ranch. In addition to birds, there are archeological ruins dating from 900 to 1400 AD, and spring wildflowers abound. Gather outside at night for dark skies and magnificent views of the Milky Way. Eat gourmet meals and learn about local history. The trip leader will be Lynn Hassler, educator, author, birder, and botanist. Learn more at the Q Ranch website.
Interest piqued? Carpooling will be arranged for the trip. Space is limited. Doubles $310, singles $440 (all inclusive). Sign up for trip--wait list.
Leader: Lynn Hassler
Questions: Please contact Diana Rosenblum with further questions at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Cancellation Policy: Cancellations received on or before April 15, 2016 will receive a full refund. Cancellations received between April 16, 2016 and May 1, 2016 will receive a 50% refund. No refunds will be issued after May 2, 2016. In the last two cases, cancellations will be refunded less a 10% processing fee if the spot can be filled.

May 22—Sunday 7:00 - 10:00 AM
Spring Birds & Hummingbirds at WOW Arizona
Difficulty:Easy/moderate Distance: about 1/2 mile Surface: Gravel/path/pavement
69 feeders, 5 water features, riparian areas. WOW Arizona, an e-bird Hotspot, 3 miles east of Catalina is a 3-acre haven for birds and wildlife over 150 species documented to date (see bird list). Join the flycatchers, warblers, grosbeaks, vireos, as well as the resident hawks, Rufous-winged Sparrows, and hummingbirds. Guided walk on the ground's pathways to known activity areas amongst the diverse habitats. Then, time on the Hummingbird Patios, two areas surrounded by 26 feeders scant feet from the seating area, remaining time free to roam. Limit 8 people. Coffee, tea, and water provided. Please wear neutral colors and be respectful of others. NO OBTRUSIVE CAMERAS, TRIPODS, PROS (Smugmug, Flickr, etc.). Parking limited, please carpool if possible. Money for feed fund happily accepted. WOW Arizona, a 501(c)(3). Trip limited to 8 people. Please sign up for this trip starting at 1 p.m. on May 2.
Leaders: Christopher Vincent & MaryEllen Landen  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  520.907.8735.

JUNE

June 18--Saturday 6:30 a.m.
Tucson Mountain Park: Summer Desert Birds for Beginners
Trip rating: moderate   Walking distance: 2 mile   Elevation Gain: 50 feet   Ground conditions: paved road
We will go look for the birds that are "stuck" here in the hot desert summer just like us. We will keep eye out for summer-only birds like Purple Martin, Brown-crested Flycatchers Lesser Nighthawk and White-winged Doves.  Easy pace. Will walk only on the road so the snakes will smell and hear us coming! Be ready for warm and sun. Two restrooms along our route but no water. Meet at the first ramada as you turn off S. Kinney Road onto Hal Gras Road into the Ironwood Picnic Area. The turn-off is 1.6 miles southeast of Old Tucson on South Kinney Road. The turn-off is 4 miles northwest of Ajo Way (State Route 86) and Kinney Road.  Done by 8 a.m. Call or email leader if any questions. No limit but please sign up for trip.
Leader:
John Higgins. 520-578-1830 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

AUGUST

Pre-Southeast Arizona Birding Festival Trips

August 7-10 - $1200 per person ($220 single supplement)
Madera: A Short Trip for Sierra Madre Endemics
This trip is part of the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival--one of the pre-festival trips. The festival is August 10 - 14.
This short but very special trip into the states of Sonora and Chihuahua is offered mainly to see the target species of the highly endemic Thick-billed Parrot and Eared Quetzal. It would be a great combination tour for anyone birding the 'second spring' of southeastern Arizona or simply to see some spectacular birds! Although they won't count in the ABA area, this trip does give you the opportunity to see some very sought-after species relatively easily in a short period of time. More information about this trip here: Madera: A short trip for Sierra Madre endemicsTo book your trip, call or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  Solipaso directly at 888-383-0062.

August 7-9, 2016; $795/per person
Bird Communities of the Sky Islands
This trip is part of the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival--one of the pre-festival trips. The festival is August 10 - 14.
This three-day-long birding workshop sponsored by Tucson Audubon Society is for "Southeast Arizona Birding Festival" participants looking for insight into the ecological factors shaping the distribution and population dynamics of avian communities in Southeastern Arizona. Most of our time will be spent in the Chiricahua Mountains, the largest and most biologically diverse of the isolated sierras locally known as "Sky Islands." Drawing species from six North American bio-geographical regions—three with their locus in Mexico—and spanning five of C. Hart Merriam's life zones, the Chiricahuas are a living laboratory that supports most of the birds found in the American Southwest. More about this trip here: Bird Communities of the Sky IslandsREGISTER NOW! For more detailed trip descriptions, click the links above. For questions, email Rick Taylor or call Borderland Tours directly at 520-558-2351.

Southeast Arizona Birding Festival Youth Birding

August 14--Sunday 6:30 - 9:30 AM
YOUTH BIRDER OUTING at Sweetwater Wetlands sponsored by Zeiss
Cost: FREE. This trip is part of the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival, which runs from August 10 - 14. 
Sweetwater Wetland is a constructed wetland located in Tucson between I-10 and the Santa Cruz River, near Prince Road. Built in 1996, it helps treat secondary effluent and backwash from the reclaimed water treatment system at adjacent Roger Road Wastewater Treatment Plant. Sweetwater serves as an environmental education facility and habitat for a wide variety of wildlife. Get ready for an easy walk through the wetlands to see waterfowl in the hundreds, regular and visiting warblers, and several exciting species hiding in the reeds. Birders ages 10-18 and of all experience levels are welcome to participate in an expert-led trip! You will have a chance to sample high-end Zeiss binoculars and receive a free laminated field guide. Limit of 20 people ages 10-18. Sign up for this trip.

Post-Southeast Arizona Birding Festival Trips

August 15-22, 2016; $2,650 per person ($550 single supplement)
Northwest Mexico: The Highland Birds of Madera, Basaseachic Falls & Yecora
This trip is part of the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival--one of the post-festival trips. The festival is August 10 - 14. 
This trip focuses on the birds of the northern Sierra Madre Occidental mountain range, both in Chihauhua and Sonora. This rugged and little-traveled area of Mexico is home to a whole range of interesting birds, including a high number of Mexican endemics. More information about this trip here: Northwest Mexico: The highland birds of Madera, Basaseachic Falls & YecoraTo book your trip, call or  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  Solipaso directly at 888-383-0062.

August 15-19, 2016; $1,595/per person
Alpine Arizona
This trip is part of the Southeast Arizona Birding Festival--one of the post-festival trips. The festival is August 10 - 14. 
After soaking up the diversity of Southeastern Arizona at the Tucson Audubon Society birding festival, we'll have five days in the high, cool White Mountains of Central Arizona. The White Mountains essentially comprise the southernmost extension of the Rocky Mountains in Arizona. Thanks to the proximity of the White Mountains to Tucson, we'll have chances for many birds that normally require a separate trip deeper into the Interior West of the United States. Species that most birders can't picture nesting in Arizona such as Osprey and Bald Eagle, Downy and American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Williamson's and Red-naped Sapsuckers, Gray and Pinyon Jays, Clark's Nutcracker, American Dipper, Gray Catbird, and Mountain Bluebird are all possible. We'll even peruse a few areas where the elusive Dusky Grouse is known to occur. And, owing to the checkerboard of meadows and forest that cloak the White Mountains, we'll have more and better opportunities for viewing birds like Red-faced and MacGillivray's Warblers. Naturally these birds thrive in the state's premier Elk habitat, and sightings of these large and imperial deer are probable. Here, too, are herds of Pronghorn, achieving speeds of up to 45 miles-per-hour, and earning the title of the fastest land mammal in North America. A profusion of polychrome wildflowers are sure to ornament the banks of the highland trout streams. Transiting from Tucson to Central Arizona we'll cut through the interior chaparral metropolis for Arizona's population of breeding Gray Vireo. About 150 species can be observed on this alpine addendum to a standard Arizona visit. More about this trip here: Alpine ArizonaREGISTER NOWFor more detailed trip descriptions, click the links above. For questions, email Rick Taylor or call Borderland Tours directly at 520-558-2351.


 

Important Phone Numbers

General Info: 520 629-0510
University Nature Shop: 520 629-0510 x1
Rare Bird Alert: 520 629-0510 x3
Education: 520 629-0510 x7012
Membership: 520 629-0510 x7002
Agua Caliente Nature Shop: 760-7881
Executive Director: 520 629-0510 x7001
FAX: 520 623-3476

Sick or injured birds, please call:
Tucson Wildlife Center at 520-290-9453

Additional numbers

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AGUA CALIENTE PARK

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Important Field Trip Information

General Information: Tucson Audubon field trips are free! Contact trip leader for more information about each field trip, or contact Field Trip Coordinator Kendall Kroesen.

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. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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).

Carpooling: Tucson Audubon strongly encourages carpooling and the sharing of the driver's fuel expenses.  Drivers and trip leaders are not expected to contribute. Directions to frequently used carpooling locations.

Rare Bird Alert
Listen to the latest rare bird alert at 520 629-0510 x3. To report rare birds call the same number, or write to rarebirdalert@tucsonaudubon.org

After Your Trip
Stop by the Audubon Nature Shop! Check out new books, see wonderful nature items, and chat with volunteers.

More Birding Info
Tucson/region additional bird walks

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Tucson Audubon's
Mason Center

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