Extraordinary Birding Adventures

Join us for a unique birding adventure!

Upcoming Tour Plans

Merlin Birding and Nature Tours will be offering birding trips to the following outstanding birding/wildlife-watching locations in the next 2 years (please stay tuned for updates on these exciting tours on this website and through regular email updates): Alaska, Colombia, Ecuador, southern Florida, Guatemala, India, Panama, South Texas, Uganda and the Yucatan Peninsula (Mexico).

An Introduction to Costa Rica

23 Apr 2019 – 2 May 2019

On this trip, we're partnering with Holbrook Travel. Birders will explore the diverse habitats of the cloud forest, searching for the endangered Resplendent Quetzal. The tropical lowland rainforest on our itinerary has the largest Christmas bird count in the world, at over 400 species! We'll look for the Great Green Macaw, Snowy Cotinga, Great Curassow and so much more!

Learn More!


Places Remaining

Nepal with Steve Hoffman and Raptours

5 Nov 2018 – 19 Nov 2018

Join Steve Hoffman and Sergio Seipke in Nepal to witness Asia’s amazing eagle and vulture migration!  Steve has teamed up with Raptours LLC to offer this once-in-a-lifetime birding and raptor-watching extravaganza!  Tucked away in the foothills of the Nepali Himalayas, adjacent to the Annapurna Conservation Area, the small mountain village of Thulo Kharka is one of the best places in Asia to see and photograph large raptors up close during the fall migration, and to enjoy stunning views of the Himalayas. An optional 4-day extension is designed to explore a variety of bird and mammal-rich habitats in Nepal's lowlands. Please visit our partner Raptours website for more details and to register for this exciting tour!


Places Remaining

BIrding Cuba Hotspots

1 Mar 2019 – 11 Mar 2019

 We are partnering with Holbrook Travel to offer this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bird Cuba. We'll also learn about Cuban culture and efforts to preserve their land, but this is a birding focused trip. There are 27 enedmics that live on this island, and we'll target as many as possible. From the Bee Hummingbird to the Cuban Trogon, this is a must trip for any birder.

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Places Remaining

Meet our Trip Leaders

Steve Hoffman Tour Leader/ Owner

In January 2017, after 10 years as Executive Director of Montana Audubon, Steve opted for a career change and started Merlin Birding & Nature Tours, LLC. Over the past 20+ years Steve has led or co-led birding tours with the National Audubon Society (Belize, and Copper Canyon, Baja California & Oaxaca Mexico), HawkWatch International (Veracruz, Mexico) and Montana Audubon (Costa Rica and throughout Montana). 

As founder of HawkWatch International, and Co-founder and Science Advisor for the Veracruz River of Raptors Project (VRR), Steve offers VRR tour participants a valuable scientific and historical perspective. Steve currently resides in Bozeman, MT, with his wife Lisa and their 24-year old son Merlin.

Steve "Esh" Eshbaugh Tour Leader and Naturalist

Steve “Esh” Eshbaugh became hooked on birding at the age of eight when he stumbled upon an American Woodcock incubating eggs on her ground nest. Steve led his first international nature-guiding trip to Costa Rica in 1999; over the years has led eight other groups there.

He has birded in 25 countries and very much looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for education and nature with tour participants. He lives in Bozeman with his wife and son.

Merlin Birding Tours:

Extraordinary Birding Adventures

Diverse Global Nature-based Tours

World-class Naturalists and Guides

Support for Local Conservation

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What they're saying about Merlin Birding

Steve Hoffman was phenomenal, as always, and the local guides could not have been better! The whole experience at the shade-grown coffee plantation was my favorite. The tour was well organized, great people, great price. Thanks for all the work you put into organizing this trip.

Nora M.
Veracruz, 2015

The Veracruz trip has it all: enthusiastic and very knowledgeable leaders, great variety of ecosystems explored, spectacular diversity of birdlife, and cultural excursions. Kashmir, our primary local guide, was extraordinary. Mexico was a new country for me and I felt safe and relaxed with him. And I would go anywhere with Steve Hoffman, I love his enthusiasm, knowledge and excitement for a place and the people he loves. I felt he was sharing his Mexican family with us—a real privilege. This is a trip to be enjoyed more than once!

Lila B.
Veracruz, 2015

Steve Eshbaugh is a fantastic guide. I have been fortunate enough to have him as a guide on two different trips. He is extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna of the places we explored together. He is personable, easy to approach with questions, and always quick with a joke. I highly recommend him as a guide for your next destination.

Rebecca F.
Hyde Park, OH

Our group traveled with Steve Eshbaugh to Costa Rica. He is a great guy and makes a special effort to get to know each person. Most importantly, he is very good at spotting birds and other animals, and shares his extensive knowledge of their interactions with the natural surroundings and each other. Steve will make your trip memorable!

Jane Z.
Ripley, OH