Our Story

Who is Field Guides?

Field Guides has been operating high-quality birding tours since 1985 from its headquarters in Austin, Texas. We have always believed in two simple premises: we want all of our clients to share in the excitement and fun of a top-notch birding adventure, and we want to provide the best service possible to our tour participants. We are delighted by what seems to be success in both respects: we have a large and loyal following, many of whom have been on 5, 10 or, in some cases, dozens of tours with us, and these clients, in turn, are our greatest advertising–most of our new clients come to us by word of mouth via a friend who suggested they “must” try a Field Guides tour.

We offer more than 150 advertised and private tours annually, featuring small groups and including meals (see below). Additionally we arrange birding trips for birding clubs and private groups accompanied by one of our experienced Field Guides leaders to help ensure a wonderful trip.

Who goes with us?

We have traveled with thousands of birders of all ages and skills. You don’t have to be an expert…we can help you develop your skills. You just have to enjoy traveling and want to observe the world’s many beautiful and fascinating birds, not to mention all the other wildlife, fabulous landscapes, and distinct cultures we see along the way.

Why do our clients travel with us?

From novice to seasoned aficionado, our clients continue to travel with us because we design our itineraries carefully, provide comprehensive pre-and post-tour information, handle logistics smoothly, and because our guides are not only first-rate field ornithologists skilled at finding birds and showing them to all members of a group, but also warm, fun-loving people who genuinely enjoy making the tour a pleasant experience for each participant.

Beyond creating itineraries that balance fabulous birding with reasonable logistics, it’s our job to make your vacation as free of concern as possible. Our tours include all meals (with a ready supply of field refreshments from our coolers on most tours).

The Field Guides Frequent Traveler Program:

We appreciate your repeat business and wish to reward you for choosing Field Guides for your birding holiday. Everyone who takes four trips with us will receive a 5 percent discount on the fifth (tenth, fifteenth, etc.) trip. Any published tour (partial trips and extensions excluded) or sanctioned private group tour, regardless of length, counts toward the discount. This offer is non-transferable and is retroactive to include anyone who has traveled with Field Guides since its inception. (This offer does not apply to anyone already participating in our Lifetime Repeater’s Discount program.)

How big are our groups?

We believe that small groups make for high-quality birding tours. We design the tour with the group size in mind as we feel it enhances the quality of the experience for the participant. Our domestic tours will have either a limit of 7 participants and one guide and vehicle, or 14 participants and two guides and vehicles. As we typically travel in 12- or 15-passenger vans, this will ensure no more than 2 passengers to a seat (more room for backpacks!) and that everyone will have a window. Our limits are firm, and we don’t exceed the limit by one to accommodate a couple when only one space remains open. However, on occasion, we will send along a guide in training on a tour. In these cases one seat in the van or bus will be taken by the guide in training. Our guides will have a rotation system within the venicle so that clients share the inconvenience equally. We hope this minor inconvenience will be more than offset by the advantages of having another guide along.

Our international tours may have a limit anywhere from 6 to 14 participants, typically with one guide when there are 8 or fewer participants, and a second leader added with 9 or more participants. When two guides are listed for a tour, the second guide will accompany the group if the tour is sufficiently subscribed. Tour limits are indicated on each tour page on our website and in each itinerary.

What’s included in our tour fees?

Fees are based on double occupancy (single supplements are available for most tours). Unless otherwise indicated on a tour’s itinerary, the tour fee includes: all lodging and meals as listed in the itinerary, all transportation during the tour (including internal air transfers if indicated in that tour’s itinerary), entrance fees for parks and other areas, baggage handling, tips (see more below), and the guide services of the tour guide(s). Unless indicated otherwise, our tour fees do not include: transportation to and from tour departure points, alcoholic beverages, passport and visa fees, airport taxes, phone calls, laundry, or other items of a personal nature.

Tipping at group meals and for drivers, porters, and local guides is included in your tour fee and will be handled for the group by your Field Guides leader(s). However, if you would like to recognize your Field Guides leader(s) or any local guide(s) for exceptional service, it is entirely appropriate to tip. We emphasize that such tips as a reflection of your appreciation are optional and not expected.