Birding enthusiasts can choose from among
a variety of tours and trips. The trips may
be as simple as a day trip on land or as
comprehensive as a trip of a week or more
to an exotic locale. To see sea birds, there
are day and overnight trips on the ocean
(pelagic trips), and there are weekend excursions.
There are even trips geared to find rare
When selecting among these, the
- Leader and equipment - Who will lead you in the field? What are
their birding credentials and
How big will the group be?
What will be the
ratio of tour leaders to participants?
the tour leaders bring scopes?
How many participants
will share each?
- Time - What will be the typical starting time
each day and are you comfortable with this?
As a general rule, prime birding is at dawn.
Late starts can greatly reduce your opportunities
to find birds. And how much of the day will
be spent birding? Will birding be the main
focus of the tour, or is it just one among
many activities? How much time will be allocated
for meals? Will this cut into too much birding
time for you?
- Pacing and comfort - What will be the pace of the tour? Will
it be too hurried or too slow for you? What
will be the quality of the accommodations
- Getting to and from viewing sites - Will the tour include a lot of hiking?
If so, how strenuous will it be? Will the
tour include a lot of driving? Will you spend
too much time in vehicles?
- Tour operator - What is the track record of the tour organizers
for smooth organization and quality of the
birding experience? Can they get references
and independent testimonials? Do fellow birders
Finally, understand their satisfaction policy.
If the tour focuses on finding certain species,
what happens if it fails to do so? Will you
get a rebate, whole or partial credit for
a future tour, or nothing?