Elegant Trogon

Before our Big Year began, Ingrid and I talked about which bird we were most looking forward to (hopefully) seeing over the course of the year.

I was hoping to see a Great Gray Owl . . . basically for petty reasons  . . . as it was the only species Ingrid had seen that I had not.  This outrage ended on January 17, when we both saw this incredible bird in upstate Minnesota.

Ingrid’s aspirational bird, was the Elegant Trogon . . . a brightly colored and secretive bird found in southern Arizona for a few months each summer.  When Ingrid and I visited Arizona in 2019, we spent several days looking for the Trogon . . . but never found it.  This is a rather common story.  Lots of birders chase the Elegant Trogon and most birders miss it.

This morning we visited the Cave Creek Ranch in Portal, Arizona hoping to see the Trogon that had been reported there over the last week.

We were joined by other birders who had the same dreams and aspirations about the Elegant Trogon.

After an hour of searching and waiting . . . no Trogon.

10:00 arrived . . . two hours no Trogon.

11:00 . . . most of the other birder had given up and gone home.

Noon . . . I was geting hungry.

I was wandering around . . . perhaps the bird was hiding in that tree . . . or that tree . . . or




Ingrid was shouting “Trogon” . . . the bird had landed in a tree right in front of her.  Everyone, including me, rushed to where she was standing.

A few minuted later the Elegant Trogon flew off to parts unknown and there were lots of hugs, handshakes and fist bumps, and some happy tears from Ingrid.

Ingrid and I finally have our Elegant Trogon.  Our Big Year Bird count for the year is now 421 species!!!!


  1. By Mark -

    Congratulations! Never an easy bird to get and they usually don’t arrive until later in April so this was a good stroke of luck but also a reward for your persistence. Thanks for sharing your great adventure.

  2. By Sister Marty Dermody -

    Wow, beautiful bird! Glad it showed up for you! It has been a pleasure joining you both on your journey! Good luck in the months to come!
    Happy birding! Sister Marty-Cincinnati, OH

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