Event Details

About the Event

The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua fledged in 2002 as a small festival with a handful of esteemed trip leaders from California. It has since grown to be a popular festival and a yearly pilgrimage for many who have been attending for years. Dozens of field trips, workshops, and evening presentations engage our participants in the physical world of birds, mammals, butterflies, and plants, as well as inspire them with art, music, and food. The Mono Basin is the place to be during the third weekend of June.

The Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua won a Mindful Birding Award in 2015 for adopting ethical birding guidelines and supporting conservation efforts for birds and their habitats. We're proud to practice ethical birding.

Bird Chautauqua Mission: To enhance appreciation and understanding of the Mono Basin's diverse and abundant bird life and to educate the public about this area's value to birds and people.

Chautauqua Etiquette

Life is full of social mores, (Mono Lake has no Morays) laws, government regulations, and tribal taboos. We don't mean to burden you further, but we do consider the following rules essential Chautauqua etiquette:

  1. During the Chautauqua, audio playback devices should not be used by anyone, including field trip leaders.

    The popularity of smart phones and other digital devices has brought about a huge surge in the use of digital playbacks to attract birds and to alter their behavior. These playbacks, though effective at bringing birds into view, can cause unnatural stress on birds and can also be offensive to other birders. We are adopting the policy of the American Birding Association relative to the use of these playback devices: "Individuals [should] limit the use of recordings and other methods of attracting birds, and never use such methods in heavily birded areas, or for attracting any species that is Threatened, Endangered, or of Special Concern, or is rare in your local area." We recognize that the Chautauqua has a large impact on the birds of the basin just by simply existing and we do not want to add anymore stress to the birds than the presence of groups already does.

  2. The Chautauqua is a great place to make new friends and reconnect with old ones but during birding field trips, birds are best heard and appreciated when conversations among birders are minimal and voices are soft (notably on field trips). Please respect the wishes of many participants who have asked us to address this issue by keeping conversations to a minimum during bird walks.

  3. Children attending field trips or workshops must be accompanied by a parent or designated guardian.

  4. No dogs or pets allowed on any Chautauqua event, workshop, or program. Please leave Fido with friends or family and not in the car during a field trip.


What to Bring

June weather in the Mono Basin is typically pleasant but can vary significantly and you need to be prepared for all conditions—including rain, wind, or very warm weather. Cool to cold mornings are guaranteed so dress in warm layers that can be easily shed. Other essentials include: water, sunscreen, bug repellant, hat, rain gear, suitable footwear, daypack, and a lunch for those events that extend through mealtime. Binoculars, scopes, field guides and other birding essentials are advised.

Sun Exposure and Dehydration

The Chautauqua is very close to the Summer Solstice—the longest day of the year. The dry, warm climate of the Mono Basin will be even more amplified because most of the Chautauqua takes place outdoors. Drinking lots of water, using sunscreen, and wearing clothing that keeps you well covered will go a long way toward preventing problems with the sun. Water is critical to bring along and drinking often is advisable, since all activities will be near 7,000 feet in elevation.


All participants are responsible for providing their own transportation to and from workshops and field trips. Carpooling arrangements are encouraged and will be arranged informally at the meeting location. Some field activities will be accessible via dirt roads only.


Your participation in all workshops, field trips, and special events is at your own risk. Of course, reasonable safety precautions have been taken by festival organizers and group leaders.

Recent News
Space available in Chautauqua trips and programs

There is still space available in many of the wonderful trips and programs at the Twenty-first Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua. If you haven’t yet registered, you can still put together a full itinerary of fascinating and fun events. To see which trips and programs still have space, check the available trips page

If you have already registered be sure to take a close look at your confirmation email to make sure everything is as you expected—in particular, be sure to double check field trip selections for each person in your group. If you’d like to make any changes, please reply to this email or call (760) 647-6595. 

T-shirt pre-order deadline is May 15

Don’t miss out on the Twenty-first Annual Chautauqua T-shirt featuring a Calliope Hummingbird by Caro Nilsson. The deadline to pre-order T-shirts is May 15. If you’ve already completed registration but want to add more shirts, reach out to us via email and we can add them to your order.

Payment issues during registration

We are aware of a PayPal issue during registration that has prevented many registrants from paying. Please know that your trip requests are saved. You will receive instructions for how to pay your registration balance in the coming days. Thank you for your patience.

Donate to Experience Ambientalia during registration

We encourage your support for the Experience Ambientalia International Exchange Program during registration this year, an initiative launched by Fundación Líderes de Ansenuza and WSHRN in partnership with the Mono Lake Committee. This program seeks to better connect students to their home ecosystems, introduce them to sister saline lakes across the Western Hemisphere, and cultivate a sense of real-life environmental stewardship. Over the last seven months, students from Mono Lake and Laguna Mar Chiquita in Argentina have engaged in environmental conservation activities, leading up to an international exchange. From June 16th-24th, Argentinean students will visit Mono Lake, followed by Mono Lake students' trip to Laguna Mar Chiquita from July 15th-23rd. Your support would contribute to the educational growth and leadership development of young environmental stewards, and foster connections and understanding across communities.  

The 2024 program is now online

Chautauqua organizers are planning for the 21st Annual Mono Basin Bird Chautauqua for June 21-23, 2024 in Lee Vining and the full program is now available online. Registration opens on April 15, 2024 at 6:30am Pacific.

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