Sonoran Audubon Society offers birding trips throughout the year near the Phoenix area and further abroad.  Reservations are A MUST.  Field trips are generally first-come first-served.  Cancellation, if necessary, is common courtesy; please notify the Trip Leader ASAP and allow others an opportunity to go. Participation is limited on some trips in order to protect sensitive birds or habitats, or to reduce the number of vehicles and logistical issues.

Please be reminded of COVID protocol from the US CDC as SAS will be observing these measures: go to the latest guidance for personal vehicles at Generally said, on SAS in-person Field Trips, share rides with your family and/or others who have been fully vaccinated. For those who are not fully vaccinated, for everyone’s comfort, drive yourself; if not fully vaccinated but are car-pooling, mask up and maintain social distancing.  For the un-vaccinated, the CDC says “get vaccinated”; for those in between 2-shot vaccination protocols and therefore not fully immunized, continue to mask up for these SAS Field Trips. And, for all of us, make sure your vehicle has good ventilation.

Most SAS trips are guided by volunteer Trip Leaders. The Field Trip Committee creates the schedule each year and publishes it on the website calendarEach Trip Leader manages the reservations for each trip.

Joe Ford, an excellent, experienced bird leader for Sonoran Audubon and Maricopa County Parks, leads birding trips every 2nd Saturday at Estrella Mountain Park, along with some trips on the 3rd Saturday at Cave Creek and 4th Saturday at White Tanks. His trips are ideal for families and for beginning birders. Joe also gives an interesting program after his birding trek that covers different bird species. Joe’s trips and all the details involved are on our calendar and his past trip reports are under “Trips” and on eBird.

Fees:  For some trips a reservation fee may be required in advance.  There is a fuel charge for some trips to share the costs of fuel and carpooling, thus it is a good idea to bring some cash.  For overnight trips, costs are estimated and published ahead of time.

eBird:  Participants on field trips usually keep lists of the birds they observed at each birding location. These bird count data can be entered at, an online resource that has revolutionized how bird observations can be used by birders and by researchers.  Sonoran Audubon has an eBird account.  The Trip Leader may if they desire enter the data into eBird and will use eBird’s share function to share the bird list(s) with trip participants who also use eBird.

High-clearance vehicles with 4WD may be required.

Always come prepared with appropriate clothing, personal amenities, food and beverages, and birding gear.

Group Birding Etiquette:

  1. General conduct:
    1. Walk behind the trip leader. If the group stops to look for a bird you may temporarily step ahead of the leader.
    2. Don’t wander away from the group for any reason. If you need to leave the group (bathroom break, going home, etc.) let the leader know.
    3. Be quiet.

      1. Try to walk quietly.
      2. Do not talk loudly or persistently.
  2. Specific conduct scenarios:

    1. Do not walk or stop in front of someone who is looking through
      binoculars or a scope.
    2. Don’t make sudden movements, such as pointing, that cause birds to flush before all birders have had a good view.
    3. If you are in front of the group and others are trying to see a bird
      past you, stand still.
  3. Helping others:

    1. Once you have seen a bird step aside and help others see it.
    2. Give specific and clear directions when giving directions to a bird. For example, use the plant’s location and identity and the clock position, such as: at the three o’clock position midway up the closest mature cottonwood.
  4. Clothing:

    1. Don’t wear brightly-colored clothes. For nighttime birding, do not wear white clothes.
    2. Because we are in Arizona, you may wear a wide-brimmed hat. However, people behind you may not be able to see past your wide hat. In some group situations a baseball cap is a better option.
    3. Do not wear noisy clothing like jackets or pants made of some kinds of synthetic materials.

Browse reports from previous trips.

Check the SAS calendar for any news on trips.