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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Page 25 of 67

remains calm most of the time. Ironically, the travelers who get seasick are often those who don't take medication because they think they can handle it—or the ones who get bored looking at the sea. Birders at least don't have that last issue, because for us the crossing is a highlight. The Furious Fifties and Screaming Sixties, as the most consis- tently windy latitudes on Earth, are the realm of birds that live an almost unimaginable existence. Wandering Al- batross, with their 11-foot wingspan, glide for hours without a single flap. To watch one soar ef- fortlessly into a gale, easily outpacing any ship, is humbling, especially when you consider that it may be old enough to collect Social Security. By the most conservative estimate, an adult Wan- derer covers several million miles dur- ing its lifetime, enough to make a doz- en moon landings, yet it is one of the gentlest species in the avian kingdom. Other albatrosses in these latitudes in- clude the Black-browed, with its subtle mascara and lipstick marks, and the Gray-headed, sporting neat yellow trim lines above and below its beak. Sharp birders may pick out a Royal Albatross, like a Wanderer lightly dusted in pow- dered sugar, which has circled halfway around the globe from New Zealand. Most graceful is the Light-mantled, the Siamese cat of seabirds; it sometimes follows ships for hundreds of miles, hoping for scraps, on impossibly slen- der wings, peering through portholes with the googly eyes of a sock puppet. People can fly to Antarctica—char- tered planes land on King George Is- land, leapfrogging the entire Drake n A kind of cormorant, Antarctic Shag is common throughout the region. Photo © Noah Strycker n King Penguins of all ages form huge colonies on South Georgia Island. Photo © Rich Lindie/ 24 Birder's Guide to Travel | January 2019 Birding Antarctica

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