With more than a decade's experience guiding birding, nature, and photography tours around the world, Josh Engel founded Red Hill Birding in 2016. Based in Chicago, we run a limited selection of local and international tours. Most of our trips are custom trips, so get a group of friends together and get in touch with us about the birding trip of a lifetime. 


About our tours

Our tour itineraries are designed with birding as the focus, but what we really go for is the overall experience of birding and traveling wherever you might be. While the daily schedule revolves around birding, we don't ignore cool animals, places, people, photo opportunities. We make sure that you get to sample local foods and we often include the most important local cultural sites in our itineraries. Custom itineraries can be designed to ensure you have the perfect trip--whether it's a hardcore, fast-paced birding trip to see every endemic or a more relaxed trip that combines the best of birding, animal viewing, and culture. 


our staff


Josh Engel

Josh is the founder and chief guide for Red Hill Birding. He grew up birding in the suburbs of Chicago and knew from a young age that birding and travel would factor heavily in his future. After spending a semester studying abroad in Ecuador as an undergrad, he knew he needed to get back there after graduation. He soon found a job guiding in Ecuador for a large international birding tour company, before moving to South Africa where he spent nearly four years as a full time guide, leading trips throughout Southern Africa, Madagascar, Asia, and beyond. He has guided trips on four continents and conducted bird research around the world. When he's not working on Red Hill Birding, he's an ornithologist at The Field Museum in Chicago, where he appears regularly in the local media. He also helps run the Illinois Young Birders.


amanda zeigler

Amanda traces her birding roots to her great-grandmother, making her a fourth generation birder! She has a particular fondness for grassland birds, especially when Bobolink and meadowlark songs ring out over the Midwestern prairie in summer. She is RHB's tour manager and is always happy to help our clients with whatever they need. Amanda's other great passion is architecture and design. Indeed, her day job is working for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. She leads the architecture part of our Chicago Birds & Architecture tours. 

Associate Guides


Adam Sell

Adam doesn't remember a time when a pair of binoculars wasn't around his neck.  He was mentored by his father and other local birders in north Texas, and later by the incredible birding community of the Chicagoland area.  He is currently on the board of the Illinois Ornithological Society and is the lead counter and data compiler for the Fort Sheridan Hawkwatch in Lake Forest, Illinois. A middle school educator, Adam is a natural teacher who loves spending his summers guiding.  He sets out to ensure that both the novice birder and world lister having an incredible experience in the field.  Adam leads our Panama trip and does local guiding around Chicago. When not birding, Adam enjoys the study of all other aspects of nature, fly fishing, and relaxing in the outdoors with his wife, Tiffany.


Jason Weckstein

Jason holds the prestigious position of Curator of Ornithology at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. Both an ornithologist and a birder, Jason's interest in birds was first piqued in college, where he worked for a professor studying the Blue-winged/Golden-winged Warbler hybrid zone. He later studied White-crowned Sparrows, Fox Sparrows, and toucans for his graduate work. Field work has taken him throughout North America, the Neotropics, and Africa. He helps guide our Cape May tours, just an hour-and-a-half drive from his home in Philadelphia, where he lives with his wife and two sons, and tries to get out fishing and birding as much as his schedule permits!