Past and Future Tours
Choosing a Guide
Field Talk: What Others Are Saying
Custom Designed Trips
Where to Next?
Birding the East Front of the Rockies (Montana)
Montana Dude Ranch Birding
Yellowstone In Winter
Birding the Lewis and Clark Trail in Montana
Mexico's Copper Canyon - Birding the Train Ride to the Sky
Birding Pine Butte Swamp
Camping and Birding - Montana Style
Yellowstone to Glacier
Colorado Grouse and Chickens
Birding the Best of the Pacific Northwest
When traveling, a guide is one of the best investments a person can make. Whether it is a climbing guide, birding guide, river guide, etc., the following tips are worth remembering:
1. Find the most qualified and experienced guide -- this may require doing research. Try to understand the degree of experience the guide actually has in this area in terms of days, months, seasons, years. There is a big difference.
2. Don't always believe what you read. Advertising is deceiving, especially brochures, ads and Web sites. Sometimes locals are in on a deal or favor friends over the most qualified guide.
3. Try to find someone who has gone out with the guide; the best reference is word of mouth. Getting a recommendation from someone with interests similar to your own helps immensely.
4. Oftentimes you get what you pay for. More experienced guides are worth the additional money. Also, the condition of their vehicle tells you a lot about the quality of the business.
5. Work out the financial details in advance so there are no misunderstandings.
6. Hire a local guide, if at all possible. It keeps the local economy going.
7. If your guide does an outstanding job it is OK to give them a tip. There is no company I know of that adequately compensates an employee on tips. Outstanding guides appreciate tips even though they may not admit it. There are hidden costs that good guides absorb which the clients often aren't aware of. Companies typically downplay tips because it adds to the total cost of the trip. How much to tip is personal and depends on several factors including: the local economy, years of experience, personality, length of trip and the role the guide played in your enjoyment of the trip. If you can't figure it out, come up with a % and stay with it. When you employ the services of a guide, the best rule of thumb is to tip them like you would a waitress or waiter.
Anyone who has known me realizes my goals have not changed during the course of my career, i.e. "to remain an ornithologist in the field." Most ornithologists who stop working in the field eventually lose touch with reality. I find that ethics are personal and cannot be taught. They are acquired over time and improve with experience and exposure. The following is a personal philosophy about wildlife and birdwatching that I have developed and maintained over the years:
- Show passion for the resources you work with and the things you do
- Lead by example: think resources first as they are often finite
- Don't give away the farm -- you never find everything and there is always another day
- Make your trips original -- don't copy someone else's itinerary
- Try to make spontaneous discoveries -- make every trip an adventure with purpose, a moment of personal discovery
- Rely on your field skills rather than someone else's information or high tech gadgets
- In high visitation areas -- restrict groups to established roads and trails
- Respect and abide by local rules, customs and regulations
- Keep groups small in size -- large groups impact on the resource
- Realize education has its limits and never compromise conservation for education
- Avoid pointing out vulnerable places (nests, T & E, archaeological, etc.)-- if they are not adequately protected, avoid discussing them
- Know the issues both pro and con, and be leery of those who are one-dimensional or talk the company line
- Emphasize identification, behavior, ecology and conservation over species listing and ticking
- The best source of information and interpretation comes from the person who collects the data in the field
- Use tape recordings only if permitted and as a last resort. Overuse of tapes can be annoying. They should rarely be used except in specific, remote areas of the tropics under special circumstances. Rely on sound skills instead.
- If you change the behavior of an wildlife, you are too close
- Try to incorporate some type of daily exercise into a 12-hour period
- Make your trips unique and fun
These are just a few of the hundreds of letters and notes we have received over the years regarding my unique style of dealing with people. Hopefully, no one will be offended if we use their name.
|"We just returned from an ABA owl workshop in Montana with Terry McEneaney. If Field Guides uses guides of this caliber, we are certainly interested in possible future trips. Thanks."|
|Joe and Marcia Pugh|
|"The week with Terry in his 'playground (YNP)' was extra special and we can't wait to do it again."|
|Wayne and Betty Peterson|
|"I was really lucky to cross your road and you permitted me to follow my dream."|
|skiing across Yellowstone|
|"Here in the raven's haven(the cabin), snug in the wooden arms of history, I slip under the warm and colorful colors of quilted art and begin my sleeping rapture. Thank you for wonderful memories and your kind and generous hospitality."|
|"You have made us so very welcome and spoilt us at every level. Take care now and come see us soon."|
|Chris (and Mary) Perrins|
|HMS Keeper of the Swans|
|"The cabin (the stage coach station) is a great refuge and thanks Terry from Eng-Li for arranging the rainbow. Great birds in the park-spectacular intimate views of Harlequin Duck, my life Trumpeter Swan and much more."|
|Paul and Eng-Li Green|
|"My memories of the hiking, fishing, laughs and late nights will carry me with a smile on my face until the next time we see each other."|
|"Thank you for a most wonderful day in Yellowstone, and a most memorable and enjoyable stay. Not to mention the great company...the bison burgers, the friendship, etc. With warmest good wishes."|
"Another wonderful stay, and a great day in the park, with 15 wolves and a Sabine's Gull, and don't leave it long before you make a reciprocal visit."
|Ian and Halina Newton|
|"We had to go to bed early every night since Terry and Karen don't get the hang of 'bankers hours.' We will have to keep training them...Terry's freezers are emptier now, but I know they will fill up again. We will be back!"|
|Barbara and Dan Williams|
|"Is that what I think it is."|
|In a quiet, whispering reference after expressing an interest in seeing a grizzly bear. Only he wasn't anticipating one so close while searching for Great Gray Owls.|
|"Terry keep fighting the good fight."|
|Rio Blanco National Park, Brazil|
|"Thanks both of you for a great Yellowstone experience. Best of luck in all your endeavors."|
|"We want you both to know what a wonderful experience it was to be with you on our birding expedition. We had so much fun."|
|Sara and Allen Holcolmb|
|"Often, really proficient people are unwilling to teach novices, preferring to mix with near-equals. That you should share with us your knowledge and love for birds is very kind of you."|
|"I am writing primarily to tell you how much I enjoyed your guide (Birding Montana) on a recent visit to Montana."|
|"I am heading towards Yellowstone and the Beartooth Range. I heard you were an extraordinary birder. I have a special interest in raptors and would appreciate any tips on good locations for..."|
|"Thank you for taking the time to meet with Carl and me this summer while we were visiting Yellowstone. We enjoyed getting to know you and seeing where you work...Our trip to Yellowstone was wonderful! The beauty, the wildlife, and the friendliness of people like you made the experience unforgettable."|
|Jackie and Carl Rausch|
|"Thanks very much for helping us on our visit to Yellowstone. As you could probably tell, we found the experience of seeing the Great Gray Owl almost overwhelming. It was noted as the highlight of the trip (world tour), and without your assistance I doubt if we would have seen it."|
|They spent a week and couldn't find one, and were so set on seeing it on their world bird tour. So on the final day they were to contact me if they couldn't locate one. Sworn to secrecy, I showed them one that night and they were on their way around the globe. They were ecstatic.|
|"Thank you very much for the remarkable excursions through the park."|
|"Terry McEneaney Bird Biologist at YNP, gave a wonderful slide show on the birds of Yellowstone. Included in this slide show were some of the best bird shots I have ever seen."|
|Victor Emmanuel Nature Tours|
|"Keep up the fine work and dodge the green bullets. With great admiration of your birding skills and I am looking forward with anticipation to seeing your new book."|
|"Terry do you think they will have any beer in Ireland."|
|On the phone with Terry prior to his trip to Ireland.|
|"Sergey and Mikhail (2 Russian ornithologists) really enjoyed their time with you and were grateful you were their guide. Sergey told me that you took them to all the 'best places' and even managed to spot a merlin attacking a killdeer. What a sight!"|
|National Audubon Society|
|"After watching your segment on Good Morning America, I felt I had to write to you...It is good to know there are people like you taking care of and showing concern for the animals."|
|"Regarding the book 'Birding Montana,' written by Terry McEneaney, the staff ornithologist for Yellowstone National Park, and one of the most respected birders in Montana, this useful and comprehensive guide is loaded with information on Montana specialties, migration paths and seasonal availability."|
Customized trips can easily be arranged. Please contact Terry for details.
Please let Terry know where you would like to travel. If you have a trip, adventure or expedition that may interest Terry, please contact him.