Sunday Book Review – Finding birds in southeast Arizona by Tucson Audubon Society


This part of the USA has some great birding sites and some great birders.  I didn’t field-test this book as I was given it when in Tucson and I had Richard Fray to show me birds so I didn’t need a book.

But flicking through the pages now, it has everything that you want from a guide of this kind: where to go, when to go, how to get there, where to go when you do get there, who to contact and, most importantly, what you might see.  The prepared mind is the mind of a birder who will get the most from her or his visit.

Looking at the accounts of the places where I went, either on my own or with Richard, the book looks pretty comprehensive, accurate and true to life.

514 species have been recorded in the area covered by this guide – this is just a corner of Arizona remember!

You could see quite a lot of birds in Tucson itself – I saw my first male vermilion flycatcher – but the guide will take you further afield and up mountains, across deserts and to precious patches of water and greenness.

If I ever go back to Arizona birding – and I hope I do as much for the people as the birds (and other wildlife – there are bobcats and rattlesnakes and butterflies to see too – and they are in this book) – then I will be planning the trip with the help of this book for weeks beforehand and thumbing through Sibley so that I am perfectly prepared when an unfamiliar large hummingbird appears on a feeder.

This is the updated 8th edition of this book so you can be sure that any original wrinkles and errors (if there were any) have been ironed out by now.  I can’t find it on UK Amazon so you may have to get it direct from Tucson Audubon.  Or, I’ll rent you my copy – offers please!

Mark Avery’s current book, Fighting for Birds, has 21 5-star readers’ reviews on Amazon (it has gained one in the last week) and great reviews elsewhere – you should buy a copy (and then maybe read it).

This blog is going to feature book reviews, mostly of newly published books, on Sundays for the next few weeks.


4 Replies to “Sunday Book Review – Finding birds in southeast Arizona by Tucson Audubon Society”

  1. Great review Mark.

    I’ve used three incarnations of this book over the last 11 years in Arizona, and it is hands down the best local birding site guide of its kind that I’ve had the pleasure of using.

    The species accounts and bar graphs tell you exactly where and when to find each species and that’s the feature I use the most. Each edition brings in new material and improvements, making this a very complete, information-packed site guide.

    The physical format of the book is also nigh-on perfect, being ring bound, which allows pages to be opened and laid out flat, with a durable, fold-out map which is both the back cover and a nifty page saver. The design has been honed over the years for real use in the field.

    I can’t recommend it highly enough. Other publishers should take note: this is how to do it.

  2. I’ve used the ABA guide from 1995 in the past and that was very good, so if this book is an improvement upon that then it must be excellent.

    SE Arizona is a truly great place to go birding with amazing scenery, plenty of peace and quiet and truly friendly and helpful people. I must go to visit again soon.

Comments are closed.