Tips for Birding in Southeastern Arizona

Planning a birding trip to SE Arizona?

The following information will help, but my best tip is to hire me as your expert SE Arizona birding guide. It will make your life easier, and you’ll see more birds. You can also hire me for a consultation to help plan your trip,

What to Bring in Summer

  • Cool, lightweight clothing: shorts and t-shirts, by all means, but some long pants and long sleeved shirts for cooler times and insect bite/sunburn prevention
  • Waterproof clothing, if visiting during the monsoon season (July/August)
  • A light jacket. It’s not not red hot all summer, just the vast majority of it!
  • Lightweight walking shoes. Optional waterproof/rubber boots during monsoon
  • A good insect repellent, a bite/sting lotion

What to Bring in Winter

  • Warm hat, gloves, warm coat
  • Waterproof clothing – it doesn’t rain often, but it does sometimes
  • Stout walking shoes
  • Optional rubber boots
  • Still bring some lightweight clothing, for those inevitable sunny days in the lowlands and desert

What to Bring All Year

  • Sunscreen!
  • Wide-brimmed hat!
  • Water!
  • Sunglasses
  • Lip balm
  • Water/drinks and refillable container (filtered water for refills will be available)
  • Snacks
  • Binoculars (spare binoculars are available)
  • Optional: spotting scope (I have a 2023 Kowa TS-88 spotting scope for our use)
  • Optional: camera and accessories
  • US electrical adapter, if bringing equipment from overseas
  • US Dollars, credit/debit cards
  • Passport (preferred) or Arizona-recognized ID. We will likely pass through Border Patrol checkpoints, and they almost never ask, but…
  • Emergency contacts, medical and allergy information, medications and prescriptions
    Health insurance, travel insurance
  • A positive attitude and a good sense of humor! 😀

Recommended Birding & Wildlife Apps

Sibley Birds of North America 2nd Edition
The entire Sibley guide, plus the most comprehensive songs and calls, in your pocket at all times! HIGHLY recommended!

Merlin Bird ID
Outstanding! The whole app is free. There’s a full birding app, with packs you can download for any region of the world. There’s sound ID, there’s photo ID, and more. Highly recommended!

Recommended Arizona Birding & Wildlife Books

Birds of Southeastern Arizona (Rick Taylor)
Published in 2010, this is a fantastic photographic field guide covering all the birds you’re likely to see in SE Arizona. I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially as more than 20 of my own photos have been used! 😀

Birds of Arizona (Rick Taylor)
Published in 2022, this is a version of the above book covering the whole state. Excellent!

American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Arizona (Rick Wright)
Published in 2016, this book will guide both novice and experienced birders to help identify the amazing diversity of bird life in Arizona. Crisp color photographs of birds in nature, authoritative text from an expert birder, and a handy portable size.

Finding Birds in Southeast Arizona 8th Edition (Tucson Audubon Society)
Newly updated and published in summer 2011, this is an absolutely indispensable guide to birding in SE Arizona. Whether you’re a visitor or a resident, you NEED this book!

A Birders Guide to Southeastern Arizona (ABA/Lane/Rick Taylor)
Published in 2005, Rick’s excellent guide to birding in SE Arizona contains many day and half day trips and is highly recommended, but bear in mind that it’s now almost two decades old and some things have changed.

Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas (Corman/Wise-Gervais)
Published in 2005 using data collected from 1993-2000, this is a huge reference guide with amazing detail on every breeding species in the state. An essential reference book for any birder in Arizona – you have to have this one on your shelf. A new version would be nice…

The Sibley Guide to Birds of North America, Second Edition (David Sibley)
I didn’t think the first edition could be beat, but the new second edition, now  is an absolutely must-have guide for any birder in North America. The classic, and still the best field guide for the region.

Sibley Birds of the West (David Sibley)
The more portable Western version of Sibley. This is a must in the field in Arizona, a high-quality, portable field guide for the region.

National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 7th Edition (Alderfer, et al)
This latest edition of the classic Net Geo guide is packed with info and has much improved illustrations over previous editions, which now makes it a genuinely usable guide in the field.

National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, 3rd Edition
This comprehensive, hard-backed reference guide is the first place I go for detailed North American bird information. Like an expanded version of the field guide, this book is the most likely source for the info I need. The third edition is even better than the first two.

Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America (Kenn Kaufman)
For those who prefer a photographic field guide, Kenn Kaufman’s photographic Field Guide to Birds of North America is the best guide covering the region, written by one of the best-known and most capable birders. A useful addition to your bookshelf, even if you don’t use it as a field guide.

Swift Guide to Butterflies of North America (Jeffrey Glassberg)
Written by Jeffrey Glassberg, the pioneering authority on the field identification of butterflies, this revised second edition of the most detailed, comprehensive, and user-friendly photographic field guide to the butterflies of North America.

Butterflies of Arizona: A Photographic Guide (Stewart, Brodkin, & Brodkin)
Published in 2001, this is a large, comprehensive and easy to use photographic guide to Arizona’s butterflies, compiled and written by Arizona’s foremost butterfly experts. Would benefit a revised edition.

Finding Butterflies in Arizona: A Guide to the Best Sites (Bailowitz, Brodkin, & Brodkin)
The companion to the above field guide, this book details all the best sites to find each species, and crucially, at which times of the year. It also gives extra detail that the ID guide doesn’t cover, so it pays to have the pair.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the West (Dennis Paulson)
Easily the best field guide to Western dragonflies and damselflies, written by Dennis Paulson, the top expert in the area. Being as there are so many species, it’s a huge subject to cover in one book, but this guide manages it quite well.

Field Guide to the Damselflies and Dragonflies of Arizona & Sonora (Bailowitz)
Published in 2015, we finally have a comprehensive field guide to Arizona’s odonata! Recommended.

A Field Guide to Amphibians and Reptiles in Arizona, Second Edition (Holycross, Brennan, & Babb)
One of the best photographic wildlife guides around. This is an extremely good book, published by Arizona Game & Fish Department, written by local experts, with each species photographed from the collection at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Essential reading for any Arizona naturalist.

A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America (Sheri Williamson)
Sheri Williamson is perhaps the world’s foremost hummingbird expert, and this information-packed guide is the culmination of her life’s work and knowledge on this most fascinating of bird families.

Planning a birding trip to SE Arizona?

The following information will help, but my best tip is to hire me as your expert SE Arizona birding guide. It will make your life easier, and you’ll see more birds. You can also hire me for a consultation to help plan your trip,