- Southeast Arizona Birding Guide, Richard Fray - http://www.arizonabirder.com -


Birding Guide Services in Southeastern Arizona

Many thanks for visiting! I’d be delighted to be your birding guide in southeast Arizona. I offer half day (Rio Rico area only), full day and multiple day birding guide services in SE Arizona [1].

Please see my calendar [2] for availability, then contact me [3] to make a booking.

I’ve tried to keep my pricing as simple as possible, but there are so many variables that inevitably it can get a bit complicated. I want you to be confident that there are no hidden extras when you hire me as your birding guide. I’m a full-time, professional birding guide and tour leader; this is my livelihood so I have to charge fairly and appropriately. I’d love to do it just for fun, but sadly the mortgage won’t pay itself.

There are potentially three fees payable to me (plus entrance fees where required) when you hire me as your birding guide, as follows:

1. Guiding Fee

My wages. This also covers my guiding permit fees, training and certification costs, insurance and other business expenses. You’ll find that I offer the best value in Arizona! I count a full day as just that, dawn till dusk, whereas most local guides charge extra beyond eight or ten hours.

in group
Half day (Rio
Rico area only,
up to 5 hrs) *
Full day
Night birding
(up to 5 hours) **
1-2 $145 $250 $145
3-4 $155 $270 $155
5+ $175 $300 $175

* Half day price ONLY available in the Rio Rico area. I’m willing to travel for a half day, but I have to charge for a full day outside of my immediate area.

** Price for night birding in Santa Cruz County ONLY, or elsewhere when added to a full day. For stand-alone night birding outside Santa Cruz County, I charge for a full day.

2. Meeting Point Fee

I live in Rio Rico, which is an hour south of Tucson along I-19. I’m happy to meet you anywhere in SE Arizona, but it’s a big place and I have to cover my travel costs. Most local guides charge for travel costs plus additional time for travel to/from the starting point, or include their travel time, eating into your birding hours. I only charge the following flat fees to cover my costs, and I don’t charge for additional hours, leaving you free to enjoy your full day of birding.

Meeting Point Meeting Point Fee
Tumacacori NO CHARGE
Amado $20
Patagonia/Sonoita $25
Green Valley $25
Madera Canyon $30
Arivaca $30
Tucson $35
Marana/Oro Valley/Catalina $40
Benson $40
Sierra Vista/Huachucas $45
Arizona City (Santa Cruz Flats) $50
Willcox $50
Bisbee $50
Douglas * $60 *
Portal/Chiricahuas * $80 *

* While I enjoy guiding in the Portal area and the Chiricahua Mountains, it’s so far from where I live that it’s not really practical. It’s a seven-hour round trip for me and an early start is unrealistic in terms of me having to leave home three-and-a-half hours before we meet. In almost all circumstances, you’ll be better off seeking a guide in that area, rather than having to pay me to drive halfway across the state and arrive an hour or two after sunrise. Please see my list of alternative guides [4], some in the Portal area or much closer than I am (eg: Sierra Vista).

3. Vehicle Fee

From our meeting point, if we take your vehicle, there is no further charge. If we take my vehicle (smallish 4×4 SUV) I charge a Vehicle Fee per mile of travel, which covers gas, vehicle maintenance, and comprehensive passenger insurance.

Vehicle fee per mile 45c

Discounts and Bonuses

Example Pricing

Example #1:
Let’s say you’ve decided that your group of four wants to spend two full days birding, starting in Tucson both days and taking my vehicle. The first day we do 180 miles, the second day we travel 70 miles. The cost would be: Guiding Fee for four people, 1st full day $270, 2nd full day $260 (using 2nd day discount); Meeting Point Fee, 2 x $35 = $70; Vehicle Fee, 250 miles in total x 45c/mile = $112.50. Total: $702.50.

Example #2:
You come down to Rio Rico, pick me up on I-19 and we spend five hours birding locally using your vehicle. The cost would be: Guiding Fee for one person for a half day, $145; Meeting Point Fee, none, Vehicle Fee, none. Total: $145.


Additional Information

Terms and Conditions

IMPORTANT! Please read carefully. I hate to be a rule maker and you’ll find that I’m a very laid back guy, but experience has taught me that some things need to be said and understood before we go, to make everyone’s lives simpler and safer. So, if you book my services as a birding guide, you agree to the following terms and conditions:

Mileage Chart from Rio Rico

All miles and times are according to Google Maps and measured from exit 25 of I-19, Palo Parado Rd in Rio Rico, Arizona.

Google Maps sometimes overestimates the time taken to travel on well-graded dirt roads, so actual travel times can be slightly quicker.

MILEAGE CHART FROM RIO RICO Miles from Rio Rico Hours from Rio Rico
Going North and West
Santa Gertrudis Ln (Anza Tr) Tumacacori 3.1 5 mins
Rock Corral Canyon, Tumacacori Mts 3.7 8 mins
Bridge Road (De Anza Trail) Tubac 7.4 11 mins
Green Valley (Continental Rd) 23.8 22 mins
Montosa Canyon 25.1 40 mins
Madera Canyon (Santa Rita Lodge) 37.3 54 mins
Florida Canyon 35.6 55 mins
Arivaca Cienega (via Arivaca Rd) 37.4 56 mins
Buenos Airies 56.4 1 hr 33 mins *
Organ Pipe National Park 187.0 3 hr 11 mins *
Going South and West
Peck Canyon, Rio Rico 3.6 8 mins
Guy Tobin Trailhead (Anza Trail) Rio Rico 5.3 7 mins
Rio Rico Pond, Rico 5.9 9 mins
Esplendor Resort, Rio Rico 5.9 9 mins
Nogales 10.3 10 mins
Kino Springs 16.0 28 mins
Pena Blanca Lake 18.3 24 mins *
Sycamore Canyon 26.7 58 mins *
California Gulch / Oro Blanco Mine 36.5 1 hr 35 mins *
Arivaca Cienega (via Ruby Rd) 44.2 1 hr 57 mins *
Going East
Patagonia Roadside Rest 24.5 36 mins
Patagonia Lake State Park 24.9 43 mins
Patagonia-Sonoita Creek Preserve 27.0 39 mins *
Paton’s in Patagonia 28.7 43 mins
Harshaw Canyon, Patagonia Mountains 34.8 57 mins *
San Rafael Valley 39.1 1 hr 14 mins *
Sonoita 41.0 56 mins
Las Cienegas / Empire Gulch 50.8 1 hr 18 mins *
Tucson (midtown) 52.8 58 mins
Tucson (downtown) 50.0 47 mins
Sweetwater Wetlands 54.8 51 mins
Saguaro National Park East 66.7 1 hr 15 mins
Saguaro National Park West 61.9 1 hr 09 mins
Santa Catalinas, Mt Lemmon (bottom) 67.2 1 hr 23 mins
Santa Catalinas, Mt Lemmon (top) 92.0 2 hr 07 mins
Catalina State Park 67.7 1 hr 13 mins
Santa Cruz Flats 108 1 hr 55 mins
Phoenix (airport) 159 2 hr 23 mins
Buckeye Thrasher Spot 221 3 hr 13 mins
Boyce Thompson Arboretum 145 2 hr 29 mins
Aravaipa Canyon 118 2 hr 31 mins
Sierra Vista 77.3 1 hr 37 mins
San Pedro House 83.9 1 hr 44 mins
Ramsey Canyon 86.8 1 hr 49 mins
Miller Canyon 88.8 1 hr 53 mins *
Ash Canyon B&B 89.3 1 hr 49 mins
Casa de San Pedro B&B 90.2 1 hr 48 mins
Benson 93.1 1 hr 24 mins
St. David 101.0 1 hr 35 mins
Willcox 128 1 hr 54 mins
Bisbee 95.6 1 hr 50 mins
Whitewater Draw (nr McNeal) 122.0 2 hr 43 mins *
Douglas 122 2 hr 19 mins
Portal (via Douglas) 185 3 hr 41 mins
Portal (via I-10) 198 3 hr 58 mins
Portal (via mountain roads) 187 4 hr 03 mins *

Mileage Chart from Tucson

Staying in Tucson? If you want your day to begin in or around Tucson, I have a special flat rate of $35 to meet you in Tucson

midtown Tucson
Hours from
midtown Tucson
Saguaro National Park East 18.2 43 mins
Saguaro National Park West 24 57 mins
Mt Lemmon (Summerhaven) 37.6 1 hr 12 mins
Santa Cruz Flats 58.4 1 hr 18 mins
Phoenix 115 2 hr 4 mins
Buckeye Thrasher Spot 164 2 hr 55 mins
Boyce Thompson Arboretum 94 1 hr 59 mins
Aravaipa Canyon 61.9 1 hr 35 mins
Madera Canyon 46.5 1 hr 18 mins
Tubac 51.1 1 hr 3 mins
Nogales 72.5 1 hr 22 mins
California Gulch 77.3 2 hr 13 mins
Arivaca Cienega 60.5 1 hr 25 mins
Sonoita 50.2 1 hr 7 mins
Patagonia 62.7 1 hr 22 mins
San Rafael Valley 74.7 2 hr 1 min
Benson 48.7 58 mins
St. David 56.8 1 hr 9 mins
Willcox 84 1 hr 30 mins
Elfrida (Whitewater Draw) 118 2 hr 4 mins
Sierra Vista 77 1 hr 41 mins
Miller Canyon 87.7 2 hr 1 mins
Portal (via NM) 175 3 hr 4 mins