Frequently asked questions
Q. I don’t have any experience looking for birds. Can I still participate?
A. Of course! Looking and listening for birds can be done by anyone, at any time – though it’s often more fun to go birding with others who share the interest.
Q. I don’t have binoculars – can I still be a birder?
A. Absolutely! A big part of birding is learning how to listen and identify bird song. It’s a skill that takes time and it can be easier to learn when you’re not focused on seeing through binoculars. The important part is getting out in nature and appreciating it in whatever way you enjoy.
Q. I am ready to purchase my first set of binoculars. What should I get?
A. Congratulations! By far the best place to purchase binoculars locally is Jay's Bird Barn in Prescott. Their professionals know everything there is to know about binoculars. You will be able to look through their demo binoculars and choose the best one for you!
Also, here is the Audubon Guide to Binoculars you may find helpful. If you do decide to purchase binoculars, here's a current article on affordable. full-size 8X42 binoculars that might help: Binocular review
Q. How fit do you have to be to join a bird count or other excursion?
A. Birding is for everyone! One of the most wonderful things about bird watching is that it can be done almost anywhere. While some hikes may be difficult for some participants, there are many places to go birding that are wheelchair accessible and/or have flat terrain for birders with mobility issues. The Sedona Wetlands is a "Birdability" site. Many of our local National Monuments; such as Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle and Montezuma Well are wheel-chair accessible.
Q. I’m a tourist and don’t live in northern Arizona. Can I still join an excursion?
A. All are welcome, and we would be delighted to have you join us. Have a look at our upcoming events here.
Q. Where are some places in this region I can go birding?
A. Drill down into this map to find birding hotspots Area birding hotspots
Q. I don’t have a lot of outdoors experience. What do I have to know to be safe?
A. Great question! Always let someone know where you will be and when you should be expected back. Bring another person if possible. Always carry sun protection such as a hat and long-sleeves and more water than you think you will need. Some of the backcountry may not have cell service, so some people like to carry an emergency GPS location beacon.
Q. What is a life list? Do I have to keep one?
A. Some people like to make a list of the birds they’ve observed and there are many online contests and ways to capture this data. One of the most popular is eBird – but don’t worry, you don’t have to list your birds. While some birders travel the world to see as many birds as possible, others focus on their backyards. Did you notice a bird yesterday? You did it! That’s birding.
Q. Do I have to be worried about rattlesnakes, mountain lions or bears?
A. The risk of an encounter is low, but not impossible. Wearing snake guards and carrying bear spray are two ways to protect yourself. Keep in mind that both rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears are shy animals that almost always prefer to avoid conflict. Check out these Arizona Game and Fish links on mountain lion and bear awareness. If you encounter a rattlesnake, simply give it a wide berth and snap some photos before you continue on your hike. Did you know that every year people from around the world visit Arizona specifically to look for and photograph our amazing reptile and amphibian diversity?
Q. If I'm a member of NAAS, am I a member of National Audubon as well?
A. No, while NAAS is a Chapter of National Audubon Society, membership in our Chapter does not convey membership in National Audubon.