I. My Birding Background & Services:

(Note: Your health is paramount during the current Covid-19 virus syndrome, so I require compliance with several “social distancing” rules to host a tour. I will explain them upon you contacting me to discuss a potential birding outing.)

a. With a master’s degree in Natural Resources and as a long-time Avian Biologist & Certified Wildlife Biologist Asc., I’ve led birding tours and taught adult birding classes in more than 20 states (details follow, below).

Currently and since 2001, the majority of my birding tours occur as California birding tours and, specifically, guided birdwatching tours in San Francisco, and, in addition, as Marin County birding tours, and as Sonoma County birding tours.

I also conduct multi-day bird watching tours to northern and central California (including Yosemite National Park), with my volunteer birding tours offered annually since the Point Reyes Birding Festival began 13 years ago, in addition to periodic Marin Audubon Society birding outings

b. I work full-time conducting field surveys to identify common and rare bird species, in addition to rare amphibian, reptile, and mammal species while working as a freelance Consulting Biologist with expertises in biological, regulatory, and permitting services (based on 30 years of staff and freelance experience). My federal 10(a)1(A) wildlife survey permits allow me to conduct field surveys for rare, listed species such as Ridgway’s Rail, California Tiger Salamander, and California Red-legged Frog.

c. I also teach periodic adult birding classes as a Birding Instructor 1) for an upcoming August/September, 2023 “Vagrancy in Birds” class for advanced birders associated with Golden Gate Audubon will focus on the ecology of rare bird sightings in N. America; 2) since 2003 in the Biology Department at Merritt College where I have periodically taught  “Fundamentals of Ornithology”; “Raptors of the SF Bay Area,” “Bird Songing: The Ecology of Birds’ Songs  & Learning Them By Ear,” and “Water Birds of the SF Bay Area”; and 3) throughout the USA as an invited speaker and in-service workshop presenter to more than 20 states to give bird presentation and conduct in-service bird tours for professionals and/or lead birding outings. My public bird slide show presentations are highlighted at this web site’s College Classes & Birding Slide Shows section.

Costs for my birding tour services are noted in a separate section below (Roman numeral III).

Note that my veteran birding guide talents are highlighted at

II. BIRDING TOURS — 1) California Birding Tours; 2) Marin County Birding Tours; 3) Sonoma County Birding Tours; & 4) San Francisco Birding Tours:

On weekdays (and, sometimes, on weekends), I enjoy leading individuals and groups on ALL-DAY birding tours in California (e.g., birding tours in San Francisco, birding tours in Marin County, birding tours in Sonoma County, and birding tours in the East Bay). 

As a birding tour guide since 1986, you may appreciate my:

  • interest in tailoring a birding tour to fit your needs; feel free to email me or chat by phone, as you please  
  • flexibility to pre-plan an outing that agrees with your birding style and cost level (see below “Costs” section)
  • 35+ years of birding, bird survey and nest searching experience (i.e., I am Certified Wildlife Biologist Associate who works full-time as a Consulting Biologist/Avian Biologist.)
  • ability to identify 400+ N. American bird species by “ear” (and even more by sight, of course)
  • bird tour and teaching style that has helped thousands of adult birders improve their bird identification skills, both by sight and by “ear.” Related, I’ve taught freelance “Birding By Ear” field classes to park ranger/DNR-like professionals.
  • ability to help you find your target life list bird species. Finding rare California bird species and West Coast endemic bird species are featured abilities of my California bird guiding experience since the 1980s. Many of my birding clients return again to CA and employ me because I know key spots where rare/West Coast bird species are likely to be present. (Please see below in section IV for more details about endemic and near-endemic species and subspecies I’d be glad to pursue with you on a tour.)
  • background in bird song ecology and interpreting bird sonograms, including teaching a college class centered on this theme (“Bird Song Ecology/Birding By Ear,” as well as teaching other college-level bird classes, among them “Introduction to Ornithology” and “Raptors of the Bay Area.”
  • iPhone/portable speaker playback equipment that contains 700+ bird songs and calls Note: I ONLY use playback during the non-breeding season.  During the breeding season, I use headphones to let you hear a bird species so it’s not potentially negatively impacted and, perhaps, stressed (per the findings of some research field studies) during the breeding season.
  • Please feel free to call or email me to discuss your needs and preferences.

(Please note: Sorry, I do NOT offer a half-day birding tour format because travel times to and from birding sites often result in a full-day of my time as a freelance, independent, avian biologist/wildlife biologist.)

III. COSTS — Options for a tour that suits your wishes include my:                               

  • Flexibility with your birding style. For example, I can start a birding tour early or later in the day. Or go birding together for the afternoon, then enjoy an “Owl Prowl” after dark as we pursue West Coast owl specialities/endemic species. I’m adaptable. 
  • Either: a) picking you up in my all-wheel drive Subaru Outback (or driving from my house to meet you at an easy-to-find birding venue); or: b) having you pick me up so your cost is less (see below). (Note: I live 20 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, CA: 12 Kingfisher Court, Novato, CA 94949.) (Please see the next paragraph for your two cost options.)
  • Charging you my standard rate of $250, if you pick me up at my residence and drive for the day’s outing. My residence is easy to find, given it is one minute from Highway 101, the only major freeway that occurs in Marin County — the initial county north of the Golden Gate Bridge/San Francisco.
  • Asking for the following fees, if I drive by picking you up: a) within Marin Co., it’s $350 for the day; b) $375 if I drive within Sonoma Co. (next county north of Marin Co. on the coast); c) $450 for pickup in Berkeley and Oakland; d) and, likewise, $450 for pickup in San Francisco, Napa/Solano County, or south beyond San Francisco into San Mateo County (e.g., Mountain View on the peninsula south of the San Francisco airport and toward Silicon Valley (which includes the Stanford University area) and nearby San Jose). Please note: My costs are based on standard elements for which freelancers like myself must account: travel time, toll costs, gasoline, and normal wear-and-tear on my car. 
  • Reviewing your “target bird” list based on your wish to see avian species specific to the West Coast and/or ensure you are able to expand your “life list” of bird species. In so doing, I’ll be glad to tailor an itinerary that best serves your wishes. I’m always glad to flex into creating a tour itinerary pathway that fits your preferences. We can plan together, so please feel free to contact me (415-382-1827 in CA and danieledelstein at att dot net).
  • Bringing a “Checklist of the Birds of Marin County” (available via the Marin Audubon Society) for you to review. I can share an eBird checklist for one or more of the birding “hotspots” we will visit. Please ask me. Note: The above Checklist is available for purchase from the Marin Audubon Society ( and is a good pre-planning “tool” to obtain. Ask me for any other area eBird checklist: I’ll help you obtain it and review it — given I have a vast collection of birding resources {(e.g., checklists, field guides, Birds Of North America Online subscription (to print information, if you wish).}
  • Supplying you for the day with one or more binoculars, including an extra high-quality pair of Swarovski 10 x 42 binoculars. In addition, my spotting scope is A-1 (Swarovski ATS 80 HD, 25 power zoom through 50 power).
  • Expanding your ability to find more bird species, including rare sightings, by leading you to distant birding locations outside the eight Bay Area counties. The following two are my most popular: a) Pinnacles National Park (to, ostensibly, the closest and MOST LIKELY place near the SF Bay Area to potentially see the federally endangered California Condor; and b) the Sacramento Wildlife Refuge, a two-hour drive from my residence, which hosts diverse, abundant, majestic (!) expressions of several waterfowl species during the “winter,” non-breeding season. Cost for traveling to birding spots outside the SF Bay area?:  $250 for a full day, if you drive after picking me up. I’m glad to drive you at the aforementioned $350 to $450 range options noted in the aforementioned details (please see above bullet point paragraph, plus mileage at a fee you feel will be fair for your budget, as I am always flexible to ensure you feel good about your total tour costs).


  • In advance of your day’s birding tour, please note I require a deposit that is half the total amount of your outing (see above costs in section III, please). For this deposit, I accept either a check made out in my name — Daniel Edelstein — to 12 Kingfisher Court, Novato, CA 94949-6628, USA. Even easier and cheaper, you may send me money via a Venmo or Zelle. (My Venmo deposit email # is: @daniel-edelstein-7 and my Zelle # is Many of my overseas, visiting birders choose Venmo or Zelle for paying a deposit to avoid the extra fees many banks charge for overseas wiring. 
  • Please note: As noted above, your deposit will always be returned 100% in full, if your plans change or if poor weather conditions force cancellation of your planned tour with me.
  • The above birding tour rates apply for one or two people. For a third person, add $50 per day, and likewise, for a fourth in your group. Five to 10 people in a group are charged no more than an additional $100 beyond the total cost for one or two people noted above (i.e., the extra $50 per person relates to my teaching and tour guide style of providing all attendants individual attention throughout the eight-hour tour.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    V. TARGET SPECIES TO PURSUE                                                                          (e.g., ENDEMIC & NEAR-ENDEMIC WEST COAST SPECIES):
  • Target Bird Species You May Wish To Pursue? Visiting birding locations that you desire or suggesting ones to you so your target bird list is addressed. Bird species that are special-status species/rarities in the SF Bay Area (and in California, according to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Special Animals list) include Northern Spotted Owl, California Black Rail, Ridgway’s Rail (formerly California Clapper Rail), Yellow Rail, Marbled Murrelet, Western Snowy Plover, California Condor — among others. Several subspecies in the SF Bay Area — Willet, Marsh Wren, Yellow-rumped Warbler, to name just three — may soon or eventually be their own species, and these birds are common and easy to find in suitable habitat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    As for endemic species, beyond California’s ONLY resident endemic species — the Yellow-billed Magpie — that is restricted year-round to the central valley portion of the state, I’d be pleased to help you detect near-endemic species that have much larger year-round ranges, including Northern Spotted Owl, Northern Pygmy Owl, Western Screech-owl, Oak Titmouse, Wrentit, Tricolored Blackbird, California Thrasher, Lawrence’s Goldfinch, Nuttall’s Woodpecker, and Bushtit. As for subspecies you may wish search for with me, it’s exciting to note there’s approximately 60 accepted endemic subspecies in California and 56 near-endemic subspecies in the state.
  • Spectacular and memorable (and fun) birding is what’s in store for you when we go explore birds capes such as:
    Point Reyes National Seashore (Marin Co.) 
    Bodega Bay (Sonoma Co.) (and the iconic, amazing Bodega Head overlooking  the ocean where several pelagic bird species may be seen if you wish to avoid   an all-day pelagic birding trip)                                                                                                                         
    Muir Woods and nearby (Mill Valley, Marin Co., 25 minutes north of SF)
    Las Gallinas Wildlife Ponds (San Rafael, Marin Co.)
    Tomales Bay State Park (Marin Co.) 
  • Ultimately, my aim is to enjoy the birds with you and, if you wish, and pursue “target,” life-list species. As a tour option, I offer a night-time “owl prowl”  (e.g., to detect Northern Spotted Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Northern Pygmy-owl) for a day-long foray that begins mid-afternoon. Likewise, feel free to suggest combining an “owl prowl” with an ensuing morning’s outing to pursue dawn/day-active avian species (e.g., uncommon to rare rail family members such as Ridgway’s Rail (formerly California Clapper Rail) and California Black Rail that live year-round in salt marsh/brackish marsh adjacent to San Francisco Bay).       
  • Please note that I consider a full-day outing as eight hours of my time beginning from the time I leave my residence, though I’m glad to extend the day’s birding beyond this time length, if we plan for this option beforehand.



“Daniel hears (and identifies) birds that I can’t even see!”
– Ron Felzer, Emeritus Instructor in Biology, Forestry and Environmental Studies, Merritt College, Oakland, California

“Daniel’s enthusiasm for warblers is truly infectious.  His Web site and blog are valuable resources for warbler-watchers everywhere.”
– Ken Burton, Birding Guide and North American Banding Council Education Chairman

 “I thoroughly enjoyed Daniel Edelstein’s birding class and greatly improved my ability to bird by ear!  We definitely plan to have him back to teach again.”
– Gary Knoblock, former Executive Director of the Point Reyes Field Seminars adult school, Point Reyes Station, CA

“Daniel has excellent ears and he expertly knows his birds’ songs and calls — and his teaching experience helps others learn the birds that they hear.”
– The venerable and late Paul G. DuMont, bird tour leader for more than 30 years

“Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the State Parks interpretive naturalists.  Your expertise was impressive and your presentation was enjoyable and filled with information.  I am sure the State Park staff will share this knowledge in public programs.”
– Estelle Ruppert, Program Specialist, Bureau of State Parks, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources