Welcome to Paradise Birding! We specialize in leading small groups on carefully crafted birding and natural history tours to such celebrated destinations as Southeastern Arizona, the Texas Hill Country, Florida's Dry Tortugas, and Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. In 2015 & 2016 we are expanding our international tours to include Honduras, Borneo, Peru, Mexico and the Caribbean. Join us for a birding vacation, and let us help enhance your appreciation for bird behaviors, habitats, ecology and conservation!
Coast, Flatwoods, Everglades & Dry Tortugas
April 19-29, 2015
FLORIDA TOUR DESCRIPTION
Picture yourself on a large sand bar, with tired warblers at your feet and 1000s of screaming terns overhead. Welcome to the Dry Tortugas! Now, picture yourself on a winding boardwalk surrounded by Anhingas and alligators (at a safe distance). Welcome to the Everglades! And now, picture yourself enjoying such special birds as the White-crowned Pigeon, Black-whiskered Vireo, Mangrove Cuckoo, and Snail Kite. You are birding in southern Florida! We invite you on this epic springtime adventure to the southernmost lands—and islands—of the Florida Peninsula.
In addition to its plethora of North American endemic species, this region also hosts the highest concentration of “countable” exotic birds in the continental US, including: Egyptian Goose, Purple Swamphen, Nanday Parakeet, Red-whiskered Bulbul, and Spot-breasted Oriole.
Click HERE to visit the Florida birding tour webpage.
Our February/March tour in the Puerto Vallarta area of Mexico was a resounding success, in which we racked up 251 species in 10 days, including over 30 regional endemics such as the spectacular Citreoline Trogan, Orange-breasted Bunting, Lilac-crowned Parrot and the Black-throated Magpie Jay. We explored the San Blas (Nayarit) and Cabo Corrientes (Jalisco) areas including diverse habitats from coastal mangrove swamps to pine/oak forests. Check out our tour species list or visit the Mexico Tour page to learn more.
We will return to this area of Mexico in March 2016 to lead another tour and to participate in the Vallarta Bird Festival.
We ventured WAY south of the border in January to research birding hotspots in Honduras and stayed at the bird-friendly Lodge at Pico Bonito.We also visited the Honduran Bay Island of Guanaja where Steve photographed the genetically isolated subspecies of the Yucatan Woodpecker Yucatan pygmaeus tysoni.
In 10 short days we saw 156 species including toucans, aracaris, oropendolas, parrots, trogans, motmots, manakins, many hummingbirds and of course woodpeckers. Highlights included the Lovely Cotinga, Little Tinamou, Rufous Mourner, Green Shrike-vireo, Dusky Antbird, Band-tailed Barbthroat, Blue-crowned Chlorophonia, Keel-billed Motmot, Pale-billed Woodpecker, Brown-hooded Parrot, Eye-ringed Flatbill, Yellow-bellied Tyrannulet, Slate-colored Solitaire, Golden-hooded Tanager, Boat-billed Heron and Limpkin. Visit our travel blog from Honduras.
Join us in January 2016 for our next tour to Honduras.
In November, Steve headed to the Caribbean with a group of eight to the endemic-rich islands of Jamaica, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, where we saw over 222 species.This tour was the first in a series of tours Stephen is planning for the future that are designed to educate participants and help support conservation efforts for threatened woodpeckers and their habitats. View Steve's photo gallery of Caribbean hummingbirds, birders & landscapes and our scouting trip bird list . This trip was planned in association with, and was in part a benefit for Birds Caribbean a nonprofit membership organization working to conserve the birds of the Caribbean and their habitats through research, education, conservation action and capacity building.
During our whirlwind two-week scouting trip, we found 210 of the 607 species on the combined lists for the states of Colima and Jalisco. These included 26 regional endemics and 16 life-birds species for Steve. We saw at least one representative of 56 different families, including 21 warblers, 17 flycatchers, 10 hummingbirds, 8 each of woodpeckers and doves, and 7 each of wrens and vireos. Bird sizes ranged from the diminutive Bumblebee Hummer to the chunky chachalacas and the impressive magpie jays. Visit our Mexico Scouting Trip Photo Blog
October took us with a full tour group to the amazing island of Sicily. We visited ancient Greek temples, still-operating Phoenician salt pans, and lavish Roman churches. We circumnavigated Sicily, visiting wetlands, forests, and mountains. We tasted local wines, cheeses, seafood, and sweets, and we stayed in quaint agritourismi near medieval hilltop villages. As a bonus, we tallied over 140 bird species, including several Sicilian endemics. Check out our Birding Sicily travel blog of the tour. Stay tuned for news on our upcoming tour to several small Sicilian islands next spring, May 14-26, 2015.
In September, Steve joined a “familiarization” tour to northern Peru, sponsored by the Peruvian Association of Eco & Adventure Tourism, and led by birding guide Wilson Diaz of Green Tours. Steve tallied nearly 200 life birds on this whirlwind 7-day trip, including 40 different hummingbirds and 37 tanagers. Subscribe to Steve’s tour blog and stay tuned as he adds each day’s highlights. Then, join our first official tour to Northern Peru, December 1-19, 2015.
Visit Steve's Birding Northern Peru blog and see his bird Trip List .
Steve Shunk is the founder, owner and lead guide for Paradise Birding, based out of central Oregon. Steve began birding in 1989 in San Jose, California and began teaching birding classes in 1992. He founded Paradise Birding tour company in 1997.
Steve has given numerous public presentations and authored many articles on the subject of birds and also enjoys bird photography, having taken most of the photos for this website. Steve resides in Bend, Oregon. Learn more about Steve and Paradise Birding.
Steve, I will always choose to go on a birding trip with you. Your 'reinvented' approach; your in-depth knowledge, which you readily share; your continued curiosity and love of discovery; and your focus on conservation; all make your tours more meaningful and enriching for me.
- Jeri Edwards, Westlake Village, California
Thank you Steve for a wonderful trip. I was delighted to get my Mountain Quail on the first day, but then the rest of the trip was way beyond my expectations
-Judith O'Neale, Lafayette, LA
Steve has a generous, unassuming ability to share
exciting discoveries with less knowledgeable enthusiasts
such as myself, making the discovery a shared
-Laurie O’Conner, Burns, OR
Our favorite birding guide is Steve Shunk from Paradise Birding, who led my husband on his first trip back in 1996. Steve is a very gifted birder, an excellent teacher and naturalist, and a wonderful ambassador for birding.
-Bill Walker and Mary Wiznewski, San Jose CA
I couldn’t have asked for a more generous, enthusiastic,
knowledgeable guide. Furthermore, you exhibit the
ethics and morals of any true naturalist.
-Melissa York, Medford, OR
Steve’s great birding skills, along with his intimate
knowledge of the area, gave us all a memorable
experience, one I will treasure for a lifetime.
-Kevin Pickard, Thousand Oaks, CA
Steve’s obvious passion for the experience is a very
important part of what he brings to these trips.
-John Kailey, Tumalo, OR
Thank you for a wonderful two days. We are singing
-Edge Wade, Columbia, MO