Tom Johnson

Field Guides Leader

Tom Johnson grew up surrounded by birds in central Pennsylvania. Fascinated by science and the outdoors, and encouraged by his mom and dad, Tom developed an obsession with birds at an early age. He banded migrant landbirds and owls, conducted point counts for the Pennsylvania Breeding Bird Atlas, and set off on many road trips to learn about North American birds.

Tom was fortunate to complete his undergraduate studies at Cornell University within the inspiring orbit of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Following university, Tom surveyed desert birds in Arizona and California and studied seabirds from NOAA ships between Nova Scotia and the Bahamas. He is an eBird reviewer, a regional editor for North American Birds, a regular contributor to Birding, and a member of the ABA Checklist Committee.

Now living in Cape May, New Jersey, Tom devotes his energy to recording bird sounds, photographing flying birds, searching for vagrants and puzzling hybrids, night birding, and reading as much as he can. He's an inveterate road tripper and frequently looks for excuses to travel long distances in pursuit of birds and mammals. You might also find him on a boat looking for tubenoses and other seabirds just about anywhere.

Tom loves helping others pursue their passion for birding and the outdoors and has felt lucky to lead tours for Field Guides around the world since 2014. Though he focuses on the Neotropics and North America, Tom has a diverse schedule that includes Antarctica, India, Australia, and more.

Scroll down to see Tom'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
"This tour was amazing. Excellent birds, skilled guide, delicious food, and comfortable accommodations. The migration experience was awesome! Guide Tom Johnson is such a skilled birder and a gentleman... I would go to the ends of the earth looking for birds with Tom! He is so informative, not only about bird identification but also about related facts of interest. He includes everyone and shows patience in getting each group member 'on the bird.' Tom oozes enthusiasm about birding, especially when he sees an unexpected bird!! This experience was superior to other tours. I am glad I found Field Guides." B.B., FALL FOR CAPE MAY

"I wanted to go to Cape May and witness spring migration. Field Guides had a tour that worked with my schedule. I don't often go on guided tours...this trip was so fabulous...way beyond my expectations. If I had to pick one best feature it would be the guides, Tom Johnson and Doug Gochfeld. Their birding skills were incredible and they really made this an incredible adventure. Your office service was very good, efficient. I look forward to my next adventure with Field Guides." K.M., SPRING IN CAPE MAY

"Tom Johnson and Micah Riegner are both such excellent guides. They were always cheerful and helpful and went out of their way to be certain that we were seeing the birds and were as comfortable as possible. They worked so hard to find all of our desired birds for us. They included all members of the group in the conversations.... I would happily go on another tour with both of them! Office service was excellent." M.P., ARIZONA NIGHTBIRDS & MORE

Photos by Tom
Below is a link to some of Tom's work we think you'll enjoy:

Tom's photos and audio recordings on the Macaulay Library site


Tom's Upcoming Tours


JAMAICA
Status: Open
Feb 21-27, 2021 ($3550) with Tom Johnson & local guide
Tour Limit: 8
A quick adventure in search of Jamaica's 27 endemics and numerous regional specialties at Green Castle Estate.
PUERTO RICO
Status: Waitlisted
Mar 14-20, 2021 ($2875) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A week of respite to a very birdy and beautiful Caribbean island, a mix of North American and local culture and cuisine; 17 endemic birds and a number of other Caribbean specialties.
COLORADO GROUSE
Status: Waitlisted
Apr 10-20, 2021 ($3850) with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory
Tour Limit: 14
An 11-day tour to seek out the state's prairie-chicken and grouse species.
SPRING IN CAPE MAY
Status: Open
May 9-15, 2021 ($2425) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
Spring migration at one of the country's famed birding hotspots.
PENNSYLVANIA'S WARBLERS & MORE: FROM CERULEAN WARBLER TO HENSLOW'S SPARROW
Status: Waitlisted
May 17-22, 2021 ($2150) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A tour at the peak of eastern spring birding, focusing on a delightful array of warblers as well as other songbirds.
PENNSYLVANIA'S WARBLERS & MORE: FROM CERULEAN WARBLER TO HENSLOW'S SPARROW
Status: Waitlisted
May 25-30, 2021 ($2150) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A tour at the peak of eastern spring birding, focusing on a delightful array of warblers as well as other songbirds.
ALASKA
Status: One space available
Jun 5-13, 2021 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2020=$6275) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 14
Survey in two parts: Part I to the Pribilofs and Denali; Part II to Nome, Seward, and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow).
ALASKA
Status: One space available
Jun 12-22, 2021 - Part Two (Fee TBD / 2020=$6175) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 14
Survey in two parts: Part I to the Pribilofs and Denali; Part II to Nome, Seward, and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow).
ALASKA: NO PLACE LIKE NOME
Status: Waitlisted
Jun 26 - Jul 3, 2021 (Fee TBD) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A chance to spend the better part of a week birding in one of the artic's most famous hotspots!
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
Status: Open
Jul 15 - Aug 2, 2021 (Fee TBD / 2020=$11575) with Doug Gochfeld & Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 10
Birds-of-paradise and bowerbirds are the crown jewels of one of the most remarkable bird faunas, one that exists alongside equally fascinating and varied cultures.
(New Britain Extension to Aug 7, 2021)
SLICE OF CALIFORNIA: SEABIRDS TO SIERRA
Status: Waitlisted
Sep 4-13, 2021 (Fee TBD / 2020=$4250) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A diverse mix of West Coast specialties, montane species, and pelagics in rugged and scenic sites.
SAFARI BRAZIL: THE PANTANAL & MORE
Status: Open
Sep 18 - Oct 3, 2021 (Fee TBD / 2020=$6050) with Marcelo Padua & Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 12
The spectacular wetlands of the Pantanal, with Hyacinth Macaws and Jabirus, combine with the many specialties of Brazil's Planalto Central to make for the perfect first birding trip to Brazil.
(Brazilian Merganser Extension to Oct 7, 2021)
EMPEROR PENGUINS IN THE WEDDELL SEA: IN SEARCH OF ANTARCTICA'S MOST ICONIC BIRD
Status: Open
Nov 12-25, 2021 (Fee TBD) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 15
The ultimate seabird quest for a magnificent species seen by few birders: Emperor Penguin! Variable fee depending on cabin choice.
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO
Status: Open
Dec 30, 2021 - Jan 8, 2022 ($4475) with Tom Johnson & local guide
Tour Limit: 10
Wonderful introductory birding tour to South America's riches, including bellbirds, toucans, manakins, and motmots.
COSTA RICA: BIRDING THE EDGES
Status: Open
Jan 22-31, 2022 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2021=$3350) with Tom Johnson & local guide
Tour Limit: 12
A two-parted tour to this bird-rich country exploring sites and birds not covered on our March or holiday tours.
COSTA RICA: BIRDING THE EDGES
Status: Open
Jan 30 - Feb 8, 2022 - Part Two (Fee TBD / 2021=$3350) with Tom Johnson & local guide
Tour Limit: 12
A two-parted tour to this bird-rich country exploring sites and birds not covered on our March or holiday tours.
PUERTO RICO
Status: Open
Feb 19-25, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$2875) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A week of respite to a very birdy and beautiful Caribbean island, a mix of North American and local culture and cuisine; 17 endemic birds and a number of other Caribbean specialties.
WESTERN PANAMA: CHIRIQUI & BOCAS DEL TORO
Status: Open
Mar 6-15, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$4175) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 8
A tour to two Panamanian destinations located in the Chiriqui highlands and Caribbean lowlands at Bocas del Toro.
COLORADO GROUSE
Status: Open
Apr 14-24, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$3850) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 14
An 11-day tour to seek out the state's prairie-chicken and grouse species.
SPRING IN CAPE MAY
Status: Open
May 8-14, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$2425) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
Spring migration at one of the country's famed birding hotspots.
PENNSYLVANIA'S WARBLERS & MORE: FROM CERULEAN WARBLER TO HENSLOW'S SPARROW
Status: Open
May 17-22, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2021=$2150) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A tour at the peak of eastern spring birding, focusing on a delightful array of warblers as well as other songbirds.
ALASKA
Status: Open
May 28 - Jun 6, 2022 - Part One (Fee TBD / 2020=$6275) with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory
Tour Limit: 14
Survey in two parts: Part I to the Pribilofs and Denali; Part II to Nome, Seward, and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow).
ALASKA
Status: Open
Jun 5-15, 2022 - Part Two (Fee TBD / 2020=$6175) with Tom Johnson & Cory Gregory
Tour Limit: 14
Survey in two parts: Part I to the Pribilofs and Denali; Part II to Nome, Seward, and Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow).
ALASKA: NO PLACE LIKE NOME
Status: Open
Jun 25 - Jul 2, 2022 (Fee TBD) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A chance to spend the better part of a week birding in one of the artic's most famous hotspots!
ARIZONA'S SECOND SPRING
Status: Open
Jul 30 - Aug 8, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2020=$3175) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
An ideal time for visiting one of the best birding regions in North America: great for local specialties and Mexican vagrants.
SLICE OF CALIFORNIA: SEABIRDS TO SIERRA
Status: Open
Sep 8-17, 2022 (Fee TBD / 2020=$4250) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A diverse mix of West Coast specialties, montane species, and pelagics in rugged and scenic sites.
ALASKA FALL GOLDMINE: RARITIES ON THE PRIBILOFS & ROSS'S GULLS IN BARROW
Status: Open
Oct 5-9, 2022 - Part Two (Fee TBD / 2020=$2750) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
A fall adventure in two parts to the far north, Part I to St. Paul Island in the Pribilofs for migrants and vagrants, and Part II to Barrow for the legendary Ross's Gull, loons, eiders, and possibly even Polar Bear and Ivory Gull.
SOUTHERN ARGENTINA: THE PAMPAS, PATAGONIA & TIERRA DEL FUEGO
Status: Waitlisted
Nov 1-17, 2022 (Fee TBD) with Tom Johnson & local guide
Tour Limit: 10
Superb springtime birding tour through southern South America amid stark and spectacular landscapes.
May be combined with Northwestern Argentina
GULF OF CALIFORNIA: MEXICO'S RICH DESERT COAST
Status: Open
Dec 4-10, 2022 (Fee TBD) with Micah Riegner & Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 12
A week-long get-away to explore the islands, estuaries, and cactus forests near Kino Bay.
ARIZONA WINTER SPECIALTIES
Status: Open
Dec 30, 2022 - Jan 5, 2023 (Fee TBD / 2020=$2250) with Tom Johnson
Tour Limit: 7
Exceptional winter birding on a short tour with numerous specialties and potential rarities.