Welcome to Paradise Birding! Join us for the best bird watching tours in North America and beyond! Let us enhance your appreciation for bird behaviors, habitats, ecology, and conservation. We specialize in leading small groups on carefully crafted birding and natural history tours.
Birding offers us a wonderful opportunity to escape from our over-civilized lives. Whether we are working or shopping, walking or driving, birds are there, somewhere, with the magical ability to help us reconnect with wild Nature. And wherever we find birds, we can enter the magical world of birding.
Paradise Birding celebrates its 19th year of leading bird watching tours in 2016. We offer a handful of carefully crafted itineraries timed for optimal birding at some of the best destinations in the West and beyond. We lead tours to a variety of birding hotspots throughout western North America –Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Alberta, and internationally to Mexico, Costa Rica, the Caribbean, Sicily, Borneo and Peru. In 2016/2017 we are expanding our offerings to include trips to more exotic locales as part of our new woodpecker conservation tours.
We also enjoy designing and leading customized private tours for individuals and groups.
Most tours are led by Paradise Birding owner and lead guide Stephen Shunk with assistance from a handful of highly qualified and dedicated co-leaders.
Over the past 19 years, Paradise Birding has continued to grow and evolve. In 2015, we unveiled a new vision for the company that we hope our birding tour guests will appreciate and embrace.
Read about our New Vision for Paradise Birding.
We specialize in leading woodpecker-themed tours in the East Cascades of Oregon where you can find an astonishing 11 species of woodpeckers within 100 square miles of our home base in Bend, Oregon. We run an annual woodpecker-themed tour and we are also available for private tours (next available tours will run in 2017).
One of the things that sets Paradise Birding apart from other birding tour companies is Steve’s knowledge and experience with woodpeckers, and woodpeckers are keystone organisms—critical ecological components—in forests and woodlands around the world. In 2015 we began developing a series of new tours focused on learning about and supporting conservation work on some of the world’s 20 species of threatened woodpeckers.
"Our favorite birding guide is Steve Shunk from Paradise Birding, who led my husband on his first trip back in 1996. Steve is a very gifted birder, an excellent teacher and naturalist, and a wonderful ambassador for birding".
-Bill Walker and Mary Wiznewski, San Jose CA
Read more accolades from past tour participants.
Paradise Birding prides itself on offering tours that appeal to birders from all walks of life and with a wide range of skills and abilities. We're known for:
Small groups of 4-8 birders per tour with everyone getting a window seat
Two guides per tour plus local experts give you among the highest guide-to-client ratios in the business
A relaxed pace, high quality lodging, excellent meals and a fun atmosphere
We focus not only on identifying birds in the field, but making time to enjoy watching their behaviors as well as sharing our knowledge of the natural and cultural history of the regions we visit.
Read more detailed accounts about the style and pace of our tours on our Tours FAQs page
Stephen started teaching birding as a way to share his enthusiasm for birds and as a vehicle to educate people about conservation. Conservation has always been a part of our birding “message”. Sound ecological systems require conservation of resources in our world of growing human population pressures. Conversely, the cascading degradation of unhealthy ecosystems eventually reaches all organisms in those systems, including humans. We like showcasing healthy ecosystems, but in order for these places to sustainably persist, we need to ensure they are conserved.
Conservation of bird habitats around the world is a gargantuan task. Our small company can only hope to have a small impact on the health of the global ecology. See our conservation page for specific activities we are involved in and the organizations we support.
Stephen was raised with a deep love and respect for nature, and went on to study Meteorology and Environmental Studies in college.
Stephen began birding in 1989 in San Jose, California and began teaching birding classes in 1992. He founded the Paradise Birding tour company in 1997 soon after moving to Oregon. He has led birding tours to birding hot spots throughout western North America as well as internationally.
He co-founded the East Cascades Bird Conservancy and served as its first President. The Conservancy evolved into the East Cascades Audubon Society chapter. Steve has run two Christmas bird counts for the National Aubudon Society for well over a decade. He was also a co-founder of the Oregon Birding Trails program and coordinated its flagship project, the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail.
In addition to leading his Paradise Birding tours, he leads annual tours at two Oregon birding festivals: the Harney CountyMigratory Bird Festival and the Silver Falls Mother's Day Birding & Wildflower Festival.
The book is now available from Amazon.
Steve enjoys writing about birds and birding for such publications as Living Bird, Birding magazine and Bird Watcher's Digest (read some of Steve's articles).
Steve is an engaging and dynamic speaker. He has delivered presentations for the annual meetings of state ornithological societies, numerous annual bird festivals, and many local bird clubs, including nearly 50 local Audubon chapters. Learn more about the public presentations Steve has given and how you could book him to speak for your group or club.
Woodpeckers have fascinated Steve for two decades. His woodpecker research began in 1997 on the east slope of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and quickly expanded across the continent. Steve has coordinated bird surveys for various agencies and organizations in Oregon and California, including research on the Black-backed woodpecker with the Institute for Bird Populations. Steve is in the process of finishing writing the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America. Steve runs Paradise Birding from where he resides in Bend, Oregon – which happens to have the highest concentration of nesting woodpeckers – 11 species – to be found in North America. Steve founded the Woodpecker Wonderland © Festival in Camp Sherman, Oregon to celebrate these many local woodpeckers. The festival has now been adopted by the East Cascades Audubon Society.
Learn more about these fascinating birds on our woodpecker resources page (coming soon).
Steve was born in Indiana and has lived in Virginia, Texas, California and Oregon. He attended San Jose State University where he studied Meteorology and Environmental Studies. Stephen enjoys photography as well. (link to photo galleries)
PHONE: (541) 408-1753
P.O. Box 547
Sisters, OR 97759
1962 SW Knoll Avenue
Bend, Oregon 97702