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!
(NW Washington & SW British Columbia)
February 1-10, 2015
PNW TOUR DESCRIPTION
Our encore winter tour to the Pacific Northwest never fails to impress, as we show you some of North America’s most outstanding winter birding. Spend 3 nights each in Delta, BC, La Conner, WA, and Port Townsend, WA. Click HERE to visit the Pacific Northwest birding tour webpage.
San Blas (Nayarit) and Cabo Corrientes (Jalisco)
February 23-March 3, 2015
MEXICO TOUR DESCRIPTION
Escape the winter doldrums with this exciting trip to Mexico’s Pacific Coast. With easy flights into Puerto Vallarta, we’ll venture south into Jalisco (4 nights) and north into Nayarit (4 nights) for a very relaxed tropical birding extravaganza.Click HERE to visit the Mexico birding tour webpage.
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.
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.
Our most colorful birds included the Military Macaw, Elegant Trogan, and several songbirds, like the Red Warbler, Blue-headed Euphonia, and Orange-breasted Bunting. On the ocean we watched frigatebirds, terns, pelicans and boobies diving for fish; at the wetlands we enjoyed Northern Jacanas, Wood Storks, Roseate Spoonbills and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. Deep in the forests, we strained to see darting warblers and vireos between the branches, and in the wildflower meadows we were challenged to identify the 10 hummingbird species whizzing by.
Habitats were diverse and healthy ranging from Pacific seashore, estuary, wetlands and meadows to thorn forest and scrublands and high-elevation oak-conifer forests on the slopes of the Colima volcanos.
The only endangered species we were lucky enough to spot in the wild was the Lilac-crowned Parrot, but we were also disheartened to see a number of endangered species of parrots, parakeets and macaws kept in captivity—some well cared for, but some in deplorable conditions.
Although it is hard to choose favorite species from the entire trip, our top picks would include the Pale-billed Woodpecker—observed for over an hour foraging in the forest; a huge flock of endemic Orange-breasted Buntings in the coastal scrub; the Red Warbler, with its bright white cheek patch in the pine-oak forests; and a Green Violet-ear hummingbird sitting calmly on her nest amidst the cacophony of hummingbirds fiercely defending their patches of wildflowers on a steep mountain slope.
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 .
The August monsoon arrived on schedule, painting Southeastern Arizona with blooming cacti and wildflowers, plus 150 bird species that included 11 hummingbirds. We also enjoyed 3 rattlesnake species and a fun harem of javelinas. Check out our Arizona travel blog. Our 2015 return to the region runs August 3-15 and includes a new and expanded itinerary.
In June, we went to the wilds of the far north, visiting Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula, Barrow and the Pribilof Islands (visit our Alaska tour blog) and enjoying views of nesting seabirds, marine mammals, calving glaciers and arctic tundra.
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.
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