Our OutBirding video series embraces everything about birds and birding! Join us to explore exciting global destinations, learn about highlight and specialty birds, get to know fascinating folks in conversations, find out about tech and gear tips, and much more. Your hosts are uniquely knowledgeable, having traveled all around the world guiding Field Guides birding tours, as well as on frequent personal trips and research expeditions.
We invite you to join us as a subscriber! Below you'll find a two-minute series trailer, a ten-minute partial episode, and a five-minute anthology trailer for just a taste of the 21 hours of content currently available to subscribers. A current episode list and some coming attractions can be found below.
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A 10-minute sample of "Boreal Forest: Connecticut Warbler & Great Gray Owl"
A 5-minute showcase of current episodes and coming attractions
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"I enjoyed all the categories, my favorite being 'In The Field.' I can only imagine there are many, many potential topics in each of the six categories. I believe anyone interested in birding would find them all educational, informative, interesting, and entertaining. There is enough variety to appeal to all levels of interest." —S.D.
"You all are so relaxed, accessible, and genuine that the videos work really well. It's obvious that it would be easy to be on a trip with you." —J.L.
"I'm amazed at the professional quality of everything presented here. It's obvious to me those responsible draw on multifaceted skill sets that go far beyond leading birding tours" —R.P.
Click on the episode titles for a description
The fascinating thrashers of the family Mimidae reach their peak diversity in the US state of Arizona and adjacent Mexico. In part one of a two part series, Micah Riegner and Dave Stejskal investigate Arizona's desert thrashers, with deep dives into vocalizations, habitat, movements, and more. Part I covers LeConte's, Bendire's, and Curve-billed thrashers.
Monsoon rain in Northern Arizona this summer led to the discovery of an ephemeral birding hotspot - John Lake Playa. In this episode, John Coons and friends share some of the excitement about finding an excellent new local birding patch. They also investigate the food chain supported by John Lake—with some interesting discoveries!
View our episode trailer here. Y’all, the city of Austin, Texas has been among the fastest-growing in the US for years, and now an avian newcomer to this well-wooded urban environment seems to have joined the ranks: the Mississippi Kite. Over just the past few years, summertime sightings of the kites have become increasing frequent, and the first nest was found in 2018. In July of 2021, OutBirding’s Bret Whitney was home–instead of deep in the Brazilian Amazon–and he was able to document the action at Austin’s second confirmed Mississippi Kite nest. The two energetic youngsters were in quite different stages of development, and we’ll also see some behaviors that have apparently not been chronicled before. Check it out!
Late summer is peak time for pelagic seabirding trips off the northeast coast of the US and Canada. Seabirds can be really challenging to identify at sea, especially the small ones like the storm-petrels. In this episode, Tom Johnson reviews slow-motion video and shares ID tips that will help you recognize and appreciate the four regularly occurring storm-petrels of eastern North America: Wilson's, Leach's, Band-rumped, and White-faced.
View our episode trailer here. Mid-summer is a great season for spending time with family (and birding, of course). On this episode of OutBirding, Tom Johnson goes on a July road trip–with Melissa Roach and their dog Raven–to visit Tom's family in Maine. A boat trip to an offshore nesting island leads to some memorable sightings of seabirds and marine mammals, and Tom takes the opportunity to share his favorite ways to identify adult Common, Arctic, and Roseate terns on the wing.
View our episode trailer here. In March, three members of the OutBirding team joined forces in Cape May for a March Big Day. In this episode of OutBirding, Jesse Fagan takes us along for his adventure with Doug Gochfeld and Tom Johnson as they try to find as many species as possible in one 24-hour period. To give you an idea of the seriousness of this endeavor, this particular Big Day started after 5:00 AM and ended at a brewery well before sunset - these guys had a lot of fun along the way (and found some great birds, too). Come along for the ride!
View our episode trailer here. Have you ever seen a vulture nest? Despite these birds being quite common and widespread, chances are your answer is “No,” because vulture nest sites tend to be secluded and mostly inaccessible to people. So, when OutBirding team member Bret Whitney heard about a Black Vulture nest in the attic of an abandoned house in Austin, Texas, he planned to make the most of the rare opportunity. The result is Black Vulture Bungalow, this week’s episode of OutBirding with Field Guides. Join Bret as he introduces us to an entertaining and remarkably accommodating family of Black Vultures, and also some of his fine neighbors, as the young birds, Steve and Iris, fledge from their nest cavity into the big, wide world.
View our episode trailer here. Each year, our Colorado Grouse Field Guides tours visit the display grounds of some of North America's fanciest birds. Now, with a multi-part series from OutBirding, we'll bring the early spring "lek" action to your homes—and you don't even have to wake up at 4 AM to join the party! In this first installment of The Dancing Chickens, we visit a Greater Sage-Grouse lek on a snowy April morning to watch these huge, dramatic grouse strut their stuff against a beautiful Colorado landscape.
View our episode trailer here. In 2013, the bird long known as "Sage Sparrow" was split into two species, Bell's Sparrow and Sagebrush Sparrow. In this episode, Micah Riegner visits breeding Sagebrush Sparrows near Fredonia, Arizona and discusses the identification and natural history of these intriguing songbirds.
View our episode trailer here. In December, 2020 the birding world flocked to Texas to see a Spotted Rail in Choke Canyon State Park south of San Antonio. It was only the fourth US record, and this apparently happy, healthy bird presented the first chance for birders to see a Spotted Rail alive in North America. In this episode of OutBirding with Field Guides, Bret Whitney gives us the skinny on this rarely seen rallid, and takes us to Choke Canyon for up-close encounters with this handsome bird and some of the key birders who discovered and protected it.
View our episode trailer here. In this episode from his own backyard, Tom Johnson shares four vignettes from spring migration at Cape May, New Jersey. First, we experience a spring landbird morning flight at Cape May Point, highlighted by Red-headed and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. Then, Tom switches into workshop mode to discuss flight ID of nocturnal herons and immature raptors. And to wrap things up, we meet the vagabond Heermann's Gull that has been wandering the Atlantic Coast of the US in recent months.
View our episode trailer here. The Upper Texas Coast is world famous as a mecca for migration, and John Coons has been guiding Field Guides tours there for more than 30 years. Bret Whitney joined John and a small group of tour participants on the first tour Field Guides has operated in over a year, as they visited the Longleaf Pine forest for Red-cockaded Woodpeckers before heading to The Big Thicket for breeding Worm-eating, Swainson’s, Kentucky, Yellow-throated and Prairie warblers. The tour centered on the High Island-Bolivar Peninsula region, where the group racked up an impressive roster of migrant landbirds as well as marsh- and shorebirds. All agreed that it was great to be back on tour after a long hiatus, and the birding was properly rewarding!
View our episode trailer here. Field Guides is back to leading birding tours! Our 2021 Colorado Grouse departure was among the first tours to return to the field this spring. In this week’s episode, we’ll take a detailed look at the route and itinerary of this classic early spring adventure as Doug Gochfeld and Tom Johnson lead their tour group from the Great Plains, through grasslands, into the Rocky Mountains, and even across the desert—and we’ll get to see displaying grouse and a diverse array of other wildlife along the way.
View our episode trailer here. In Spring 2021, Chris Benesh surveyed for thrashers in the deserts of Arizona as part of a project led by Arizona Game & Fish. In this episode, Chris takes us out in the field to share some of the hard-won fruits of his labor, and he also shares some tales of the interesting challenges that can go along with field work.
View our episode trailer here. Costa's Hummingbirds time their breeding season to coincide with the early spring bloom of the desert Southwest. For this episode, Micah Riegner takes us to the remote Kofa Mountains of western Arizona to show us some tantalizing slow-motion video of these purple-gorgeted wonders—including the dazzling breeding display. Along the way, we'll get to see some of the other wildlife residing in this stark yet beautiful landscape.
View our episode trailer here. Northern Gannets are amazing—these streamlined seabirds summer on remote, windswept breeding cliffs shrouded in mist, and spend the rest of their lives on the open ocean. During this look inside the lives of Northern Gannets with Doug Gochfeld, you’ll see some exciting footage of these birds and learn about their breeding, migration, and feeding habits and habitats.
View our episode trailer here. Spring marks the return of many migrant songbirds to their North American breeding grounds. While many of these are brightly colored and unmistakable, the two species of waterthrushes offer a true identification challenge. In our latest ID-focused episode from OutBirding with Field Guides, Tom Johnson and Doug Gochfeld discuss Louisiana and Northern waterthrushes and share their perspectives on a hierarchical approach to ID.
On March 30th, 2021, a wonderful new natural history book from Knopf began hitting bookstores everywhere - Jonathan Meiburg’s A Most REMARKABLE Creature, the Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey. It’s everything caracaras, and so much more, as Jonathan and Bret Whitney take us on a journey through 65 million years and tens of thousands of miles of South American landscapes. We learn a great deal about this odd group of New World raptors, most closely related to falcons, as we accompany Jonathan from the remote outer islands of the Falklands group, where he studied Striated Caracaras, through the Andean altiplano and Amazonia to the ancient Guianan Shield. Many colorful personalities populate his pages, from such early caracara contemplators as Charles Darwin and William Henry Hudson through to Red-throated Caracara expert Sean McCann (Sean's blog contains a wealth of information). Along the way we come to appreciate just how remarkable the caracaras truly are. The episode plays out with a caracara’s-eye view of some of the diverse habitats of South America, with Jonathan’s highly acclaimed band, Shearwater, providing the soundtrack. Video of a Shearwater performance recorded live on 25 March 2016 in the studio of KEXP-FM public radio in Seattle is here.
View our episode trailer here. It’s spring in the desert, and Micah Riegner is spending time surveying for thrashers in some wild places in Arizona. In this week’s episode, Micah combines his scientific pursuit of thrashers with his artistic passion, and he takes us along for the ride. Join in as Micah uses his field experience to inform his sketching process and the brushstrokes that eventually shape his beautiful watercolor painting.
View our episode trailer here. This identification episode deals with separating three puzzling pairs of birds from Cape May, New Jersey. Through comparison video of Bonaparte’s and Black-headed gulls, Savannah Sparrow subspecies, and Lesser and Greater scaup, Tom Johnson shares some of his favorite ways to approach field ID. Even if you live across the country or on the other side of the world, you can to apply these comparative techniques to sort out your local early spring birds.
View our episode trailer here. During the depths of winter, birds across North America employ a variety of strategies that help them deal with cold, snow, and ice. In this episode of OutBirding, Doug Gochfeld takes us on a snowy tour of the northeastern USA to share some of the secrets of birds living through winter "on the edge". Stay tuned for a few vagrant cameos in the form of Redwing, Sage Thrasher, and "Common" (Mew) Gull.
View our episode trailer here. At the 40th annual ABA Convention, April 2009 in Corpus Christi, Texas, John Rowlett received the coveted Roger Tory Peterson Award in recognition of his lifetime of achievements in promoting the cause of birding. John’s remarks on “The Birding Life” were poignant that day, and his message continues to resonate with birders today. John and Rose Ann Rowlett, undoubtedly the most enduring and beloved brother-sister birding team of all time, share with us their experience of coming upon an injured Buff-breasted Sandpiper on their very first trip to the Central Texas Coast, when they were respectively but 14 and 12 years old. Peppershrike and Grebe recount how Dr. Peterson was delighted to be able to use the Buff-breast they had presented to him to illustrate the underwing pattern that this elegant shorebird flashes in courtship display on the high arctic tundra. And for this week’s Bonus Birds video, we head to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean to visit with wintering Purple Sandpipers. Tom Johnson takes us to the rock jetties of Cape May, New Jersey, where we learn some natural history and watch these hardy shorebirds as they deftly explore the intertidal zone.
View our episode trailer here. Many members of the Field Guides team (and extended family) participated in the National Audubon Society’s 2020-21 Christmas Bird Count in December and January. On this special episode of OutBirding with Field Guides, host John Coons takes us across the country to visit with teams of CBC birders from Arizona to Texas to New York. We get to see a wonderful selection of winter birds from across the country, and we also hear some fun stories from these treasured days in the field.
View our episode trailer here. This week's OutBirding adventure takes us away from the winter chill to the warmth of the Florida Keys, where Tom Johnson and Doug Gochfeld searched for some very rare Caribbean visitors in December 2020. Learn a little bit about the status and identification of Cuban Pewee, Black-faced Grassquit, and Red-legged Thrush, and stay tuned for a bonus mega rarity that popped up mid-trip!
View our episode trailer here. Get ready for a deep dive into some field ornithology for birders! Chris Benesh sits down with Richard Webster in Portal, Arizona to discuss the biogeography of Curve-billed Thrashers in the United States desert southwest. Richard has spent many hours audio recording thrashers where the eastern and western subspecies groups meet, and he shares some of the things he’s discovered with this concerted birding effort.
View our episode trailer here. How would you like to make a quick, adventurous trip into a remote place in the central Amazon basin? That’s exactly what OutBirding has in store for this week, as Micah Riegner takes us to the beautiful Rio Aripuanã in search of one of the most range-restricted primates on the planet — the tiny Dwarf Marmoset (Callibella humilis). This highly distinctive little beast, described to science only in 1998, is extremely poorly known in the wild. During the quest, Micah introduces us to a remarkable variety of other wildlife, from stingrays and electric eels to several seldom-seen birds of the Amazonian forest understory.
View our episode trailer here. This week, OutBirding takes you "wet-on-wet" with renowned bird artist and Field Guides tour guide Dan Lane. From an amorphous background right through to his masterpiece, Dan shares with us his techniques for drawing birds and putting pigment to paper in his transparent watercolor and gouache painting of a Rufous-browed Peppershrike, which is featured in the current (2021) Field Guides calendar. It’s a fascinating process that Dan makes accessible to all.
View our episode trailer here. In America’s biggest cities, wild birds eke out a living on any scrap of wild space available to them. Doug Gochfeld spent much of the summer of 2020 documenting the dramas of beach-nesting birds on the sand of Breezy Point in Queens, New York City. Join Doug as he guides us through a nesting season in the lives of Common Terns, Least Terns, Black Skimmers, Piping Plovers, and American Oystercatchers in this urban wilderness.
View our episode trailer here. Join OutBirding team Bret Whitney and Micah Riegner on a quest for the Endangered Thick-billed Parrot in the magnificent coniferous forests and canyons of the Sierra Madre in northwestern Mexico. In the field with researchers from the Mexican NGO OVIS – Organización Vida Silvestre -- we’ll visit the largest breeding colony of the Thick-billed Parrot and share the researchers' most recent insights, some as yet unpublished, on the population trend of this now highly Endangered species. We’ll also learn of the most critical threats to the Thick-billed Parrot throughout its annual cycle, and its prospects for the future.
View our episode trailer here. This episode of OutBirding with Field Guides showcases two different Mexican treats from the Camp Kitchen: Rajas con crema and guacamole. Dave Stejskal and John Coons share their tips and tricks so that you can have success with these easy and delicious recipes in your own camp kitchen. Dave and John also take us birding around Flagstaff, Arizona: if you thought you’d never salivate and think about gull identification at the same time, you might be surprised. Get your grocery list ready - you’re going to want to make a few batches of rajas and guacamole after you watch this!
View our episode trailer here. After growing up in Ecuador and working several jobs before becoming involved with Spectacled Bear conservation and birding, Willy Pérez joined Field Guides as a tour leader in 2011. In this wide-ranging conversation, Jesse Fagan talks with Willy about growing up in Ecuador, birds, bears, conservation, and Willy’s current life at home with his family in England. Willy’s life story is a great study in the transformative powers of conservation and ecotourism.
View our episode trailer here. Even though they’re relatively large and widespread, raptors can be challenging to identify on the wing. Tom Johnson shares his favorite ways for simplifying raptor identification in the migration hotspot of Cape May, New Jersey. With the benefits of 1/8 speed slow-motion video, this episode focuses on the flight identification of 16 species of raptors that occur regularly in Cape May. While this Mid-Atlantic species set may vary a bit from your own backyard hawkwatching spots, there’s sure to be overlap as well as some tips and principles that can help you out wherever you are.
View our episode trailer here. In this episode, we switch passions slightly and focus on herping! Micah Riegner and friends set out to track down an impressive diversity of rattlesnakes (and other reptiles) in the varied habitats of central Arizona. In addition to seeing these beautiful and exciting animals up-close, we learn a lot about their biology and natural history along the way. Watch out - some remarkable camouflage awaits you!
View our episode trailer here. Terry Stevenson has been wonderfully productive this year, working from home and completing the second edition of Birds of East Africa, the field guide which he co-authored with John Fanshawe. In this episode, Terry shows us around his bird-rich backyard in Kenya and also takes us behind the scenes of producing a field guide.
View our episode trailer here. The Thick-billed Parrot is a globally Endangered species inhabiting the Sierra Madre Occidental of northwestern Mexico. The northernmost nesting population is only a few hours’ drive south of the US border, and the parrots used to occur regularly in some of the “sky island” mountain ranges of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. To gain historical perspective on the first ecological studies of Thick-billed Parrots in the Sierra Madre and also the saga of the US population, Bret Whitney, Micah Riegner, and Rose Ann Rowlett invited some of the early researchers to give their first-hand accounts of these little-known chapters in North American ornithology. This episode, which is Part 2 of a two-part series, highlights the USFWS effort to reestablish a population of Thick-billed Parrots in Southeast Arizona.
View our episode trailer here. Among Mexico’s most emblematic — yet also enigmatic — species of birds is the Eared Quetzal. OutBirding team Micah Riegner and Bret Whitney aimed to change that by launching a trip into the Sierra Madre Occidental of Chihuahua to document, for the first time on film or video, many of the basic life-history attributes of Eared Quetzals. The imagery they brought back from those high-elevation, mixed-conifer forests is nothing short of spectacular, and marks a significant leap forward in our knowledge of this highly distinctive, beautiful bird.
View our episode trailer here. In our first identification-focused video, Chris Benesh and Dave Stejskal take a deep dive into the world of the "yellow-bellied" kingbirds of the southern and western US. Several species of flycatchers in the genus Tyrannus can be confused in the field, so Chris and Dave break down the best ways to identify these handsome songbirds by sight and sound. In addition to discussing helpful videos, photos, and audio recordings from the field, they strive to simplify this oft-challenging group to give you straightforward tools you need to identify kingbirds.
View our episode trailer here. Picnics in the field have been a hallmark of Field Guides since our first birding tour in 1985. On this edition of the Camp Kitchen, John Coons and Dave Stejskal create one of their famous chicken salads while out in northern Arizona. Along the way, they spot some Pinyon Jays and share some great stories of eventful picnic meals from tours past.
View our episode trailer here. Northern Wheatears are quite rare as fall migrants through the eastern United States, so the one that appeared recently at Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge in New Jersey caused quite a stir among local birders. Doug Gochfeld shares some lovely imagery of this wayward traveler and demonstrates how wheatears from different regions of the Arctic breeding range migrate to their African wintering grounds.
View our episode trailer here. The Thick-billed Parrot is a globally Endangered species inhabiting the Sierra Madre Occidental of northwestern Mexico. The northernmost nesting population is only a few hours’ drive south of the US border, and the parrots used to occur regularly in some of the “sky island” mountain ranges of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico. To gain historical perspective on the first ecological studies of Thick-billed Parrots in the Sierra Madre and also the saga of the US population, Bret Whitney, Micah Riegner, and Rose Ann Rowlett invited some of the early researchers to give their first-hand accounts of these little-known chapters in North American ornithology. This is Part 1 of a two-part series.
View our episode trailer here. On their expedition to Chihuahua, Mexico, Micah Riegner and Bret Whitney cooked up some chicken mole while studying Eared Quetzals and Thick-billed Parrots. In this episode, Micah shares his technique for delicious "field mole" and also offers a preview of upcoming episodes featuring the quetzals and parrots of the Sierra Madre.
View our episode trailer here. Though he spends much of his year in Brazil, Bret Whitney is intimately acquainted with the birds of the Texas Hill Country. In this bonus video, Bret carefully takes us close to a Painted Bunting nest for a neat study of the breeding biology of this lovely songbird.
View our episode trailer here. The summer of 2020 marked an exciting moment in the northward expansion of White Ibis along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. This year, these pioneering wading birds nested in New Jersey for the first time ever, at the Ocean City Welcome Center near Cape May. Tom Johnson and Doug Gochfeld were on the scene to document the progress of this months-long nesting event, and conservationist Kashi Davis helped to provide context about the changing marsh island ecosystem of the Jersey Shore.
View our episode trailer here. In addition to birds, Chris Benesh is passionate about many other aspects of life on earth. In recent years, this energy has been channeled into learning more about scorpions - their identification, distribution, life histories, etc. In this video, Chris and scorpiologist Kari McWest discuss scorpion taxonomy and head out into the field to look for a localized species near Tucson, Arizona. Chris also tells us why scorpion hunting isn't really all that different from birding.
View our episode trailer here. Eared Quetzals are mysterious birds from northern Mexico, and this year, several nomadic individuals have arrived in the United States. In this edition of Bonus Birds, Chris Benesh chronicles the lovely pair of Quetzals that have taken up residence in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona (much to the delight of the birding world). If you find yourself captivated by these birds, stay tuned for upcoming OutBirding episodes from Bret Whitney and Micah Riegner as they take us to the homeland of Eared Quetzals and Thick-billed Parrots in the mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico.
View our episode trailer here. The wetlands and grasslands of the glacier-scarred northern Great Plains are home to a staggering abundance of wildlife in spring and summer. Doug Gochfeld and Tom Johnson visit North Dakota in late spring to spend time with the striking birdlife of this Prairie Potholes region, from Wilson's Phalaropes to Yellow-headed Blackbirds to LeConte's Sparrows. In addition, they explore the impacts humans have had on this changing landscape.
Over the years, we’ve led many fun birding tours to Brazil, from the Atlantic Forest to the Pantanal to the Amazon (and beyond!). Complementing the varied birding experiences across this huge nation, it’s long been tradition to sip on a caipirinha at the end of the day while reviewing our bird checklist. Marcelo Padua and Megan Edwards Crewe join us from Brazil and England to show us how to make this refreshing, iconic cocktail.
Sometimes, when it rains, it pours! We already featured Connecticut Warblers from the breeding grounds in our Boreal Forest episode, but this migrant in Cape May, New Jersey put on a jaw-dropping performance in September 2020, weeks after that Boreal Forest episode premiered on OutBirding. This bird was too cool NOT to show off, so here's another helping of Connecticut Warbler just for you. Tom Johnson shares a few tips for finding and identifying this impressive bird during fall migration.
A large part of our Field Guides team lives in the very birdy US state of Arizona. Micah Riegner, John Coons, Chris Benesh, Dave Stejskal, and Rose Ann Rowlett take us around the state to a broad diversity of habitats as they show off the many species of woodpeckers that inhabit Arizona's deserts, canyons, plateaus, and mountain forests.
Membership gives you access to our complete series of OutBirding with Field Guides videos, with new episodes being released on a regular basis throughout the year. We are aiming to release 3-4 videos monthly initially.
Our 64 episodes have a total runtime of over 21 hours. We launched in September 2020 with 18 videos and are currently adding a new video 3-4 times per month. Most episodes are 15-20 minutes, with some shorter, and others longer.
Renewals for monthly and annual subscriptions occur automatically at the end of each monthly or annual term unless you cancel your subscription.
If you wish to cancel your subscription, you may do so by logging into your account. In your account, click on "Billing Info" at upper right. If you have one or more subscriptions set to automatically renew, you will see a section titled "Active Subscriptions." Locate the subscription you wish to cancel, and click on the "Cancel" button to its right. A subscription cancellation goes into effect at the end of your monthly or annual subscription term (in other words, your subscription is allowed to expire at the end of the current term).
The OutBirding with Field Guides video series is a project of Field Guides Incorporated (a.k.a. Field Guides Birding Tours). Founded in 1985, Field Guides is a community of experienced bird-tour guides and support staff who work closely together to provide top-notch and fun birding experiences for our travelers on 150 tours annually to all continents. We’ve hosted birders on thousands of fun, professionally guided trips to all corners of the world. In this video project we leverage our guides’ combined experience and knowledge about birds, birding, and the natural world to bring you a regular stream of fresh material that is exciting, educational, and fun.