Santa Rita Lodge is a popular destination for birding enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. We offer a serene getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city. Many visitors ask us about local guides who are experienced in birding and in navigating Southern Arizona's unique desert habitat.

We offer guiding information for your convenience: guides are not affiliated with Santa Rita Lodge; their services are offered independently from and in addition to our lodging.
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Melody, Bird Guide

A long time Tucson resident, Melody is an avid birder and has led hundreds of professional birding and nature tours throughout Arizona since 1991. As an amateur naturalist, she has intimate knowledge about Arizona's flora and fauna and current environmental issues. Southeast Arizona is her backyard – Melody is a truly LOCAL guide who knows how and where to look for the birds. Whether you need one day in the field to locate your nemesis bird or wish to spend several days to enjoy a more comprehensive tour, Melody's Birding Adventures will customize your tour to meet your needs.

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Ken Blankenship, Bird Guide

Ken has been birding across the southern tier of the United States for over a decade, from New Mexico to SoCal, south Texas around the Gulf of Mexico to the Florida Keys. Like many North American birders, for years Ken has been fascinated by the unique birds and habitats of Southeastern Arizona. In 2015, he decided to pursue a dream of living full-time among the "Sky Island" mountains of Cochise, Santa Cruz, and Pima counties. Ken has spent countless hours in the field in all seasons, learning the ebb and flow of our special migrants, breeding birds, and wintering species of the deserts, high elevation canyons, grasslands, and riparian corridors. Ken's other greatest area of expertise is the status and distribution of the birds of the Southeast – particularly Georgia, his native state – where he works for the Department of Natural Resources in early summer performing various types of breeding bird surveys. Ken is a self-admitted "ear-birding addict," and has obsessively studied bird vocalizations for years, both in the field and using CDs; this includes anything from songs, to chips, to flight calls, to scolds, and every "seet " and "tsip" in between.

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Richard Fray, Birding Guide

Originally from England where he grew up in a wildlife-mad household, Richard has been birding all his life. He moved to Southeast Arizona in 2002, and formed Fun Birding Tours in 2010, guiding individuals and groups on a full-time basis ever since, for his own business and other birding tour companies. Richard lives in Rio Rico, 15 miles north of the Mexican border in the Santa Cruz Valley, but guides anywhere in SE Arizona. He's a keen all-round naturalist, specializing in birds but with a knowledge of most wildlife topics. He has provided articles, photos, and illustrations for various books and magazines in Europe and North America. Richard served on the board of directors of Tucson Audubon Society, among many volunteer positions, and is the administrator for the Arizona Birding and Santa Cruz County Wildlife groups on Facebook.

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David Griffin, Bird Guide

David is a wildlife biologist who has observed the flora and fauna of the Desert Southwest for more than 25 years. He has studied the birdlife of Arizona and New Mexico extensively including grassland and riparian birds, raptors, and Sky Island specialties, and has in-depth knowledge of reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and plants. He is an adventurer and loves to explore overlooked areas for birds and wildlife. He has studied the ecology of Yellow-eyed juncos and Aplomado falcons, and for his graduate work wrote a Conservation History of the Peregrine Falcon in New Mexico. David was a field team member on the Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas and he's traveled and studied the birds of Arizona ever since. He lives nearby to Madera Canyon and regularly hikes our local trails. David loves to learn and to share, educate and expose people to the wonders of the natural world. In 2023, he organized the 2023 Green Valley-
Madera Canyon Christmas Bird Count and has led field trips for Tucson Audubon Society and Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge. David is an avid cyclist and he and his wife have volunteered as Race
Marshalls, Children's Bike Safety Course Instructors, and bike mechanics by providing holiday bikes for underprivileged children. Since 2020 they have provided free- or low-cost bicycle service to more than 100 families in southern Arizona.
David operates GBS Borderland Birds, LLC. Contact David for guiding services or 575-640-0029