John Coons

Field Guides Leader

John Coons combines birding excellence with a natural ability as a tour guide. He has been leading tours since 1985. Since then, his great group skills, attention to detail, easy laugh, and unfailing sense to spot (and remember!) what's fascinating in things large and small have brought delight to innumerable Field Guides participants on tours from the High Arctic to the tip of South America and throughout Australasia.

When not on tour, John enjoys exploring and birding the remote mountains, canyons, and mesas of his home in northern Arizona. His ambition of developing a completely sustainable yard of native wildflowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs is a goal that consumes more time than expected each spring and summer.

Scroll down to see John's current schedule of tours.

Have you checked out our new OutBirding with FieldGuides video series? It features episodes covering not just guided tours of great birds and habitats but also interviews with fascinating bird-folks, field techniques, tools of the trade, field recipes, and much more. This is a long-term venture that will share much of what our guides love about birds and birding, both their own experiences and their tips for enjoyable, enriching field time. Why not subscribe for a modest annual or monthly fee?

Client comment
"John's knowledge is thorough and extensive. He knows the habits of the birds we are looking for and where to find them, making it much more likely that we will see them. He's organized and attentive to details, making the trip as smooth as possible for all guests. His gentle sense of humor and his anecdotes sharing during bus rides add to the enjoyment of the trip." D. & E.T., AUSTRALIA

"I'd heard wonderful things about John and they were all true." J.M., NORTHERN ARIZONA'S CANYONS & CONDOR

"All aspects of the tour met or exceeded my expectations. A wonderful leader, interesting new locations, and great birds. John Coons was wonderful, both in his birding skills of course (and his knowledge of Arizona flora and fauna, among other things), but he is also a very personable leader, with fun stories and a good sense of humor. He worked hard to find and get everyone on every bird, and was great company while in the field. He was also great at communicating our agenda for the next day each evening (something I really appreciate). I would definitely do another trip with John in the future." G.J., ARIZONA: BIRDING THE BORDER


John's Upcoming Tours


MID-ATLANTIC MIGRATION MAGIC
Status: Open
Oct 1-10, 2021 ($3725) with Eric Hynes & John Coons
Tour Limit: 14
A master class on fall migration on the East Coast, from Kiptopeke to the Kittatinny, with an emphasis on raptors.
GUYANA: WILDERNESS PARADISE
Status: Waitlisted
Dec 1-12, 2021 ($6450) with John Coons & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A survey birding tour of the country's vast untrammeled rainforest, with an emphasis on Guianan shield specialties, and side trips to coastal and savanna regions and spectacular Kaieteur Falls.
PANAMA'S CANOPY LODGE: EL VALLE DE ANTON
Status: One space available
Dec 29, 2021 - Jan 5, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2020=$3575) with John Coons & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A superb introduction to Neotropical birds or a complement to your broader Middle American birding, all based at a charming lodge.
GUYANA: WILDERNESS PARADISE
Status: Waitlisted
Jan 22 - Feb 2, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$6450) with John Coons & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A survey birding tour of the country's vast untrammeled rainforest, with an emphasis on Guianan shield specialties, and side trips to coastal and savanna regions and spectacular Kaieteur Falls.
CENTRAL MEXICO & BAJA: BIRDS, BUTTERFLIES & WHALES
Status: One space available
Feb 12-23, 2022 ($5150) with Micah Riegner & John Coons
Tour Limit: 12
Specialty birds, wintering Monarchs, and up-close whale encounters on this exciting tour!
PANAMA'S CANOPY TOWER & LODGE
Status: Waitlisted
Mar 6-13, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$4175) with John Coons & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
This tour combines the best of both worlds into a great week: The Canopy Tower and Pipeline Road with the Canopy Lodge and the montane forest of El Valle de Anton.
May be combined with Western Panama: Chiriqui & Bocas del Toro
TEXAS COAST MIGRATION SPECTACLE
Status: Waitlisted
Apr 16-22, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$2350) with John Coons
Tour Limit: 7
The migration mecca of High Island plus specialties of the Big Thicket and myriad waterbirds and shorebirds.
May be combined with Texas's Big Bend & Hill Country
TEXAS COAST MIGRATION SPECTACLE
Status: Waitlisted
Apr 23-29, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$2350) with John Coons
Tour Limit: 7
The migration mecca of High Island plus specialties of the Big Thicket and myriad waterbirds and shorebirds.
ARIZONA: BIRDING THE BORDER
Status: Waitlisted
May 6-15, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$3175) with John Coons
Tour Limit: 7
One of the most exciting destinations in North America with a backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery.
NORTHERN ARIZONA'S CANYONS & CONDOR
Status: Waitlisted
Jun 4-10, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$2375) with John Coons
Tour Limit: 7
A tour for mountain and high-desert birds of the western US amidst stunning scenery with California Condors at the Grand Canyon, all guided by our own Flagstaff-based resident expert, John Coons.
NORTHERN ARIZONA'S CANYONS & CONDOR
Status: Open
Jun 11-17, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$2375) with John Coons
Tour Limit: 7
A tour for mountain and high-desert birds of the western US amidst stunning scenery with California Condors at the Grand Canyon, all guided by our own Flagstaff-based resident expert, John Coons.
SPITSBERGEN & SVALBARD ARCHIPELAGO: A CRUISE TO THE NORWEGIAN ARCTIC
Status: Waitlisted
Jun 20-30, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$7350) with John Coons
Tour Limit: 9
A high-arctic adventure aboard a comfortable vessel for fantastic seabirds, marine mammals including Walrus and Polar Bear, and fabulous scenery.
SPITSBERGEN & SVALBARD ARCHIPELAGO: A CRUISE TO THE NORWEGIAN ARCTIC
Status: Waitlisted
Jul 2-14, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$7350) with John Coons
Tour Limit: 9
A high-arctic adventure aboard a comfortable vessel for fantastic seabirds, marine mammals including Walrus and Polar Bear, and fabulous scenery.
AUSTRALIA
Status: Waitlisted
Oct 18 - Nov 2, 2022 - Part Two (Fee TBD) with John Coons & Cory Gregory
Tour Limit: 12
In two parts for those with limited time. Part I covers the environs of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, southwest Australia, and Alice Springs. Part II begins in Darwin and continues to Queensland (Cairns, Atherton Tableland, Outback Queensland, and O'Reilly's Guest House). Both parts combine for a complete birding tour of Australia. An optional endemic-rich extension to Tasmania follows Part II.
(Tasmania Extension to Nov 7, 2022)
PANAMA'S CANOPY CAMP: LOWLAND DARIEN
Status: Open
Dec 30, 2022 - Jan 7, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2020=$4475) with John Coons & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A birding tour to a remote part of Panama with many specialties seen nowhere else in Central America.