Swallowtail Birding Tours is a custom guide service based in southern Wisconsin.

Swallowtail Birding Tours is owned and run by Chris West

To provide quality professional guide services and custom itineraries for my clients at affordable prices. Because I’m a small tour operator, I have the ability to be highly flexible with pricing and itineraries which gives me the ability to custom design every aspect of the tour so that it is tailored specifically to you

Secondary Mission:
To teach and educate others about the flora and fauna of our natural world and how they all fit together like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle that needs every single piece to complete the picture


Why should you hire me?

Choosing a guide and tour company is a tricky process. It’s a very personal choice and a difficult one, especially if you’ve never met the guide. As a guide, I strive to give my clients the best experience possible. In recent years, bird tours have become more and more diverse due to clients wishes, with a much broader emphasis on entire ecosystems rather than just focusing on birds. I understand this well and I love to give my clients some background knowledge of the area they’re birding and how each species fits into the local ecosystem and how plants and animals benefit from each other. Geology is another of my favorite subjects and I try to paint a picture of how the local land and water features formed and why they are what they are today.  If you know the background and a little history, it gives a much greater understanding than simply ticking another species off a checklist.


About your guide:

I have been birding ever since I can remember, ever since I was old enough to hold a pair of binoculars. I don’t even remember having a spark bird. I’ve been birding since day one.  I have been fortunate enough to be able to spend a lot of time in the field and have been mentored by some of birding’s finest.  I was a casual birder until I was about 8 years old when I started to take off. I really took off a few years later.  I competed in the World Series of Birding twice and attended VENT’s Camp Chiricahua which eventually led to my spending two seasons guiding in southeast Arizona.
I have been fortunate to be able to travel a lot, hence I have extensive experience with different biomes and species groups from all over the USA and much of Central and South America. Between family trips, birding trips and guiding, I have visited 44 states, 6 Canadian provinces and 7 countries in the Americas during my travels.

I live in southern WI and regularly guide birders around my home state, and to northern MN in search of owls and winter finches.  I have spent a considerable amount of time guiding birders and tour groups in Southeastern Arizona in the Sky Islands Region and have led tours to Colorado and Minnesota. I have spent quite a bit of time birding in southern California, the pacific northwest, New England and North Dakota.

I have a strong musical background which helps immensely with my audio abilities. I use my extensive knowledge of bird songs to great effect in detecting and showing birds to my clients.




Swallowtail Birding Tours is not affiliated with, nor should be confused with my friends Michael and Louise over at Swallowtail Studio in Cape May, NJ.