PARADISE BIRDING TOUR FAQS
LEARN ABOUT OUR TOURS
You'll find a complete list of our tours on our birding tours page. On each tour page you'll find a tour summary, a link for downloading the complete tour itinerary and registration forms, see the bird list, view photo galleries, and read guest testimonials from that tour.
STYLE OF OUR TOURS
Our tours appeal to birders with a wide range of skill and ability levels. Those with more advanced skills may be able to identify more of the anticipated species, while less experienced birders can be guaranteed excellent looks at many potential life-birds.
Our tours are for moderately active people in good health. Each day will involve plenty of light walking, although the weather may force us to do some birding from the vehicle. We will occasionally walk over rugged terrain, but individual walks will be short and at a “birdwatcher’s pace,” allowing each participant equal chance to view birds from all angles.
While the focus of our tours is birding, we enjoy sharing our knowledge about the natural and cultural history of the regions we visit, stopping to admire a field of wildflowers, a fluttering butterfly or a geologic formation.
We are not listers per se, nor dawn to dusk birders and we don’t race from place to place, but rather enjoy spending enough time in each location to not only identify the birds we are seeing, but enjoy watching their behaviors as well.
We usually limit our tours to 4-8 participants traveling in one vehicle, in order that all birders get a window seat.
We offer a high guide-to-client ratio, usually two guides (Stephen and a co-leader) and occasionally supplemented by additional local guides. This ensures a higher level of customer service, enabling clients to get on the birds more quickly and get more help with bird identification challenges.
PACE OF OUR TOURS
Paradise Birding tours run at a relaxed pace, with short ‘birding paced’ hikes of up to a couple of miles interspersed with drives to our next birding spot.
If you have any health problems that you fear may hamper or prevent your enjoyment of a tour (diabetes, asthma, heart troubles, difficulty walking, etc.), please contact us to discuss whether a particular tour is appropriate for you. Aging is a natural part of the human condition, and we’ve had many participants with health challenges enjoy our tours. One of the benefits of leading our tours with several guides is that we can accommodate individuals who move at a slower pace without sacrificing the enjoyment or safety of the rest of the group.
A TYPICAL DAY ON TOUR
A typical day goes something like this: We’ll usually have a light breakfast at the hotel and then head out into the field for a morning of birding. Lunches are usually enjoyed at a restaurant or as a picnic if weather allows or if we are far from the nearest town. We usually carry an assortment of healthy snacks and drinks to sample at your leisure.
One of our goals is to keep you pleasantly fueled and hydrated to help you get the most of your birding days. Our explorations will continue for the afternoon, enjoying not only birds but keeping our eyes out for other interesting wildlife and wildflowers! We usually head back to the motel around 5:00 PM for a short break before heading out as a group for dinner. Next, we head for dinner, where we’ll go over our daily birding checklists. Any after-dinner birding opportunities will be optional. We aim to stay at the same lodging for multiple nights which makes for a more relaxed pace.
TWO GUIDES AT YOUR SERVICE PER TOUR
Most tours are led by Paradise Birding owner & lead guide Stephen Shunk, who has been guiding for nearly 20 years throughout western North America as well as internationally and is a published author and frequent speaker at conferences and festivals. Stephen is a patient, experienced educator, who works diligently to help each participant learn to find and identify birds in the field. All group tours include a co-leader who assists with birding, logistics, customer care, and safety. We believe that additional guide support ensures that you get the best possible customer service.
Your tour itinerary details the itinerary, clothing and equipment recommended for each specific tour. Of course, you should bring a good set of binoculars and a regional field guide (contact us if you need recommendations). You also may bring a spotting scope, although we will have at least one available for the group. We carry a small library of natural history and birding books for your reference and learning. You may want to bring a camera but our tours are not specifically photography tours. If you wish to focus on photographic opportunities, we ask that you remain sensitive to the group’s needs. Ensuring that everyone in the group gets their binoculars on a bird will take precedence over shooting photos.
Need packing advice? Paradise Birding co-leader, Christine Elder, has written an excellent guide to packing on her website, which includes a detailed downloadable packing list.
Travel Insurance. We strongly recommend you consider purchasing travel insurance which can cover such things as flight delays, trip cancellations, medical expenses, emergency transportation and personal belongings. One good company we can recommend is Travelex Insurance Services.
Our tours are largely all-inclusive and include:
- Lodging – double occupancy (or single if paying the single supplement)
- All meals, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks
- Guides’ fees, entry fees, permits, licenses, and service-related gratuities (like waitress and maid tips)
- Baggage handling assistance
- Transportation during tour in comfortable vans, generally beginning and ending at a selected airport
- A detailed Tour Summary and Bird Check List
Not included in your tour fee:
- Transportation to destination, insurance, gratuities to guides (never expected but always appreciated), alcoholic beverages and personal items.
SECURING YOUR RESERVATION
1) Contact Steve at Paradise Birding to inquire about space availability on your chosen tour:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 408-541-1753
2) Download, print and send in the tour reservation and liability release forms. Alternatively, you can fill out an online version of the tour registration form (which is the preferred method if you want to more quickly save your spot on a popular tour!
3) Fill out form and enclose your $500 deposit and send it to Paradise Birding. We will be in touch right away to answer any questions you may have.
Tour fee balance for domestic tours is due 90 days before start of your tour, and for international tours balance is due 120 days prior. If you are registering less than 90 (120 for international) days prior to the tour date, please submit the entire balance. We accept checks, money orders, or credit cards (VISA or MasterCard only).
Deposits: Your deposit is $500, of which $100 is non-refundable.
Domestic Tour Refunds:
If you cancel your domestic tour reservation more than 90 days prior to the tour, you will be refunded any payments above your deposit. If you cancel between 89 and 60 days prior to the tour you will receive a 50% refund of fees paid over the deposit. If you cancel less than 60 days prior, you forfeit your entire tour fee, unless you can fill your space with another birder. If you cancel at any time, your deposit is transferrable to any Paradise Birding tour at any time in the future. If we cancel the trip for any reason, all payments will be refunded.
International Tour Refunds:
If you cancel your international tour reservation more than 120 days prior to the tour, you will be refunded any payments above your deposit. If you cancel between 119 and 90 days prior to the tour you will receive a 50% refund of fees paid over the deposit. If you cancel less than 90 days prior, you forfeit your entire tour fee, unless you can fill your space with another birder. If you cancel at any time, your deposit is transferrable to any Paradise Birding tour at any time in the future. If we cancel the trip for any reason, all payments will be refunded.
Tour Confirmation/Cancellations: tours are confirmed at least 60 days before departure (90 days for international). If a tour does not reach its minimum number of participants, we reserve the right to cancel the tour and in that case all payments will be refunded.
Risk and liability: We require all participants to fill out a liability release form, which is included in your registration form.