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WINGS Tour Leaders – Jon Dunn

Jon Dunn

Image of Jon Dunn

Jon Dunn has lived much of his life in California, where he became a birder at age eight, an event triggered, he says, by the life-altering appearance of a bright male Hooded Oriole in his garden. Jon has extensive knowledge of the identification and distribution of North American birds, and has published numerous papers in a wide variety of journals. He has also long been interested in Asian avifaunas. Jon co-authored the sixth and seventh editions of National Geographic Society’s Field Guide to the Birds of North America. He was the Chief Consultant/Editor for the first five editions. He is the co-writer and host of the two-video set Large and Small Gulls of North America, as well as co-author (with Kimball Garrett) of Birds of Southern California: Status and Distribution and the Peterson Field Guide to Warblers. Jon is a member of the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists’ Society and has served some 30 years on the California Bird Records Committee. He has also been on the Board of Directors for Western Field Ornithologists for over a decade. In 2012, Jon was the recipient of the ABA’s Roger Tory Peterson Award, given for a lifetime of achievements in promoting the cause of birding. Beyond birds, Jon has a keen interest in politics, history, and the cinema, and a keen appreciation for the poetry and music of Leonard Cohen. Read an interview with Jon on

Photo: Jo Heindel


"Jon was great! He encouraged long looks at the birds and also taught us a lot about aging and molt. It was good hearing historical info on the scientific names of the birds. If you did not learn something on this tour you were not trying!"
David and Susan D. on California: The South

"Jon is a great leader, entertaining, full of stories especially history but also in a broad range of subjects which kept the rides and tour interesting."
Dana L. on California: The South

"I could not imagine a better leader. Outstanding skill locating birds by call and assisting everyone in the group an opportunity to observe. Also, outstanding skill in history of the region. His discussions of historical activities were very interesting and entertaining."
- Evord K. on Georgia & South Carolina

"Jon is the most easy-going tour guide I've met in 28 guided tours. He also found the birds and got us all on them quickly!"
- Charles H. on Cuba

"Jon is just a wonderful leader in every way. He is gracious, patient, so knowledgeable, gives equal time to everyone. For me personally, his eclectic interests (butterflies, history, music, taxonomy, politics) are a real draw. He is also an excellent and safe driver. Two examples - he always meets people he knows or who know him ("I met you 40 years probably don't remember me...." and he is always helpful with birders from outside our group - telling them where to look, patient, etc. Never any sense of competition or "we know something you don't know". Also, at the Willcox ponds, he gave us a 15 minute primer on shorebird ID that was the best I've ever heard - how to approach them - literally and figuratively. And, as usual, when we are looking for rare species, he knows JUST where to pull over the van to spot the bird - usually within 2 minutes!"
- Carolyn G. on Arizona: Second Spring


Updated: May 2019