Elegant Trogon, © Photo by Steve Kaye

How to Find an Elegant Trogon | Aug 2016

Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in How to Find an Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon, Male

First, if you want to find an Elegant Trogon, you’ll have to go where they live.

In the United States, one such location is Madera Canyon (in southeast Arizona).

Then, there are two approaches.

For example, the first one (which everybody recommends) is: Wake before sunrise, drive up the canyon to the end of the road, hike about a half mile up the mountain on the Carrie Nation Trail to the bench, then look to the right at a large Cottonwood Tree.

I tried this four times. And I was able to find the bird once, resulting in the above photo. Even though it’s a bad photo, at least you can see enough field marks to tell that I really did find the bird.

Pause for a brief celebration.

Elegant Trogon, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in how to find an Elegant Trogon

Elegant Trogon, Male

Now, the second approach is different.

In this case, you let the bird find you.

I was staying at the Chuparosa Bed & Breakfast in August 2015. While on their patio, I heard the distinctive call of an Elegant Trogon, looked up, and saw the bird.

It was so close I was unable to fit the entire bird in the frame.

So the above photo is sort of a portrait view.

And there’s a point here.

In photography, we talk about “Taking” a photo.

While that may be true in a studio, it’s different with wildlife.

Actually, some of your best photos find you. In that case, you receive the photo. So each special photo is a gift.

And that’s why when I receive a photo like this one, I pause to say, “Thank you.”

Much success,

Steve Kaye

PS: I added this photo to Birds Up Close

Find more photo tips at:

Wet Warblers

How to Be Lucky

The House Finch Project

Help Birds Tip

Join an Audubon Chapter

Why #1: Audubon works to protect birds.

Why #2: You will support their work, learn more about birds, and meet extraordinary people.

How: Start with this page on the Audubon Web Site. Then enter your state, find a local chapter, and sign up.

For info, dues are about $30 for most chapters. And if you join more than one, dues can be as low as $20 for each additional chapter.

Right now I’m a member of four Audubon chapters.

Birding Resources

If you visit Madera Canyon in Arizona, consider the Chuparosa Bed & Breakfast. The hosts are gracious, the rooms are comfortable, and their patio has wonderful photo opportunities.

Before you leave, check the Tucson Audubon web site. This chapter has published an outstanding book: Finding birds in Southeast Arizona. It appears in the bottom left corner on their we site.

Did You Know?

The most effective way to help birds is to buy land.

Here are three organizations that excel at doing this.

1) American Bird Conservancy

2) The Nature Conservancy

3) The Trust for Public Land

Please visit their web sites to learn about the work they do.

Here’s an excellent book: The American Bird Conservancy Guide to Bird Conservation

You can help – Please share this blog with others.
Inspiring Respect for Nature, one bird at a time.

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  • Kathryn Grace
    Posted at 17:08h, 30 August

    What a beautiful bird, Steve! I’d not heard of a trogon, elegant or otherwise, until this. I can almost imagine your excitement at finding that bird so near after trudging up and down the canyon. I’m almost as interested in learning why Carrie Nation has a canyon in Arizona named for her as I am to learn more about this colorful flight master. Something to look up later tonight, eh? Thanks for your gentle reminder, once more, to be thankful for these magnificent gifts we sometimes find right in front of us. Many blessings.

  • Susan Bulger
    Posted at 20:09h, 30 August

    I am so happy this gift came to you. No one deserves it more. Thank you for sharing the story and the terrific photo.

  • Beth Kingsley Hawkins
    Posted at 12:42h, 31 August

    Congrats! We were there all last weekend – loved seeing and hearing and feeling the hummingbirds! I photographed the Painted ‘Redstart at the water feature and was thrilled. (no trogan, but were just relaxing and not hiking.)..

  • Nancy
    Posted at 13:16h, 01 September

    A beautiful bird and one I’ve not heard of before! At least it wasn’t a “Scruffy Trogon”! Nice that s/he cleaned up for you!

  • Jo-AnnColler
    Posted at 13:42h, 01 September

    I saw one of these beautiful birds in Costa Rica a few years ago and did not know they were in the US. Good to know. Beautiful photo.

  • Bob Franz
    Posted at 18:17h, 01 September

    Great work, Steve – and a beautiful bird.. For some unknown reason, your photos reminded me of Bogart’s famous line to Bergman in the movie Casablanca, “Here’s looking at you —-Trogon!

  • Deltat
    Posted at 08:31h, 07 September

    Gorgeous bird! I see the benefit of being silent and in the moment so the Elegant Trogon could make its presence known to you. What a gift to you (being able to capture a beautiful picture of a lovely bird), to us (so we can enjoy the bird, too) and for the bird (bringing awareness and appreciation of nature’s gifts). Thank you

    PS – just visited your Zazzle site and found some highly appropriate (and funny) T-shirts for my workmates and some other great gift ideas.

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