Birding in Arizona's Sky Islands


April 18-25 , 2021
Price: TBD | Check back soon!
8 participants max


outheast Arizona offers a birding experience unique in the United States. Elegant Trogon, Red-faced Warbler, Painted Redstart and a host of hummingbirds (Blue-throated Mountain-gem, Lucifer, Violet-crowned and more!) enliven the beautiful sky islands. This trip loops through Portal (gateway to the famed Chiricahua Mountains), the Huachuca Mountains and Madera Canyon, experiencing diverse habitats from Sonoran Desert to the sycamore-lined creeks of Ramsey Canyon. Spring migrants will be passing through the region, adding birds like Hermit Warbler and Lazuli Bunting to the mix. And you never know what will show up in Southeast Arizona - Ruddy Ground-Dove, Rufous-backed Robin, and Golden-crowned Warbler were all seen on this route in 2020, but there are sure to be some surprises in store for us as well!


Additional Information

Pacing and Expectations: The daily travel schedule on our birding tour varies to account for weather, bird species and habitat. We will often want to be out birding very early in the morning—we may have dawn breakfasts or take a box breakfast into the field.

Clothing: Pack light field clothing of neutral colors. Bring several pairs of long pants and comfortable, light, airy shirts. Long-sleeved (relaxed fit) shirts are useful for protection from the sun, as is a light hat or cap. Though rain is unlikely, do pack a rain jacket or small umbrella. Be sure to have a pair of comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots, plus a second pair of tennis shoes or sandals. A fleece jacket, hat, and gloves is important for our time in the highlands, as weather may approach freezing temperature early in the morning. You may want more casual clothing for traveling or dinners. A small washcloth and handkerchiefs will be helpful.

Equipment: Bring a pair of binoculars, a field guide and a camera with extra batteries. The guides will carry spotting scopes. Pack sunglasses and sunscreen, a small flashlight or headlamp, a small alarm clock (a smartphone will work), insect repellent, a small daypack, and hiking poles (optional).

Health Considerations: Please consult your physician before the trip for any concerns relating to travel and exertion at high altitudes. As for foods, all meals at the different lodges are perfectly safe to eat, and we will have easy access to potable water throughout the journey.

Participants should be able to hike on moderate, uneven, and sometimes steep terrain, up to 4 miles per day.  Most days will have very little, if any, strenuous walking.

Adam Kent
An Anhinga sparked Adam’s passion for birds when he was about five years old. Since then, a love of sharing his enthusiasm about the natural world has led Adam to work on many different environmental and education projects, including as a naturalist guide. He has guided trips from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego and many points between. His varied biologist positions have included training naturalist guides in Baja California, assessing sites for the Great Florida Birding Trail, and working as Florida’s first Scrub-Jay Conservation Coordinator. He is currently President of the Florida Ornithological Society and is very involved with the state’s second breeding bird atlas. One of Adam’s birding highlights was making recordings that led to the description of a new species of bird in Mexico, the Nava’s Wren. Adam and his wife Gina reside in Gainesville, Florida where they can be found relaxing on their front porch while eBirding the woods along a local creek.

Sean Beckett
NBNC's staff naturalist, Sean Beckett, has guided wildlife safaris and birding trips across North America for the last decade. In addition to his extensive guiding experience, his background includes several avian research positions ranging from Atlantic Puffin monitoring in coastal Maine to Ferruginous Pygmy-owl sampling in northern Mexico. Sean coordinates North Branch Nature Center's Monarch Watch butterfly tagging program, and looks forward to searching amid millions of overwintering monarchs for the wing tags applied by youth here at NBNC. Sean holds a M.S. from the University of Vermont's Field Naturalist program. 

The trip cost includes:

  • Pre-departure orientation gathering at NBNC
  • Expert NBNC guide
  • All accommodations
  • Entrance fees to parks
  • All transportation in a private van
  • Water
  • All meals during the trip

The trip cost does not include:

  • Airfare to and from Arizona
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Extra hotel services
  • Snacks
  • Guide gratuities

Ready to go to Arizona?
Email [email protected] to get signed up.


North Branch Nature Center

713 Elm Street
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
(802) 229-6206

Hours: Center Open Monday-Friday 9-4
Trails Open 24/7