Birder's Guide

JAN 2019

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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11 January 2019 | Birder's Guide to Travel Beaverton, Oregon shawneenfinnegan@gmail.com Shawneen Finnegan ow that the American Birding Association (ABA) Area includes Hawaii, how does one select a mere 20 "best" species from the 1,100+ on the list? The ABA Area is vast, with highly diverse geographical features that range from tropical to Arctic and desert to rainforest. These habitats and all their associated climates make choosing only 20 best birds a daunting task, and even if you live in the ABA Area, you will certainly need to travel afar to see just half of them. Each of us has different criteria, unique experiences, and spark birds that influence our choices. Ask someone to list their top 20 favorite birds, and their slate would prob - ably be far different from mine. I've had the good for- tune of having lived in premier birding locales across the country. My travels have taken me to all the states except Iowa, and I have birded all the southerly Canadian prov - inces. Despite having lived in Cape May, New Jersey, for a number of years, I am a California native, so the species I love the most are largely western. In order to winnow down the options, I included species most easily found in the ABA Area and restricted to the Western Hemisphere, with some exceptions. Excluding vagrants and species like Red-legged Kittiwake, which require a substantial expenditure to see, pares the choices down even further. My fond - ness for skulking, hard-to-see birds is mixed with those that are blatant eye candy. My apologies to all the species dear to my heart that didn't make the cut. My list would otherwise run into the hundreds! N

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