Birder's Guide

NOV 2013

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 29 of 67

" So when you hear the FITZ-bew of a Willow Flycatcher and the rrrree-BEER of an Alder Flycatcher, you can be assured that no matter how similar they look, they are still genetically distinct. Contributions of Bird Recordists While ornithologists can (and often do) go out and get lots of recordings and information on whatever species they're interested in, birders as a group have been recording a huge number of individual birds of nearly every bird species on the planet. Imagine if all birders carried a recorder when they went birding, and every time they went out, they got a few " recordings. As an aggregate, they would generate an enormous amount of data. The number of birders with recording equipment is rising at a breakneck pace, and it's beginning to be felt in avian taxonomy. A new species of bird just described from Peru, Junín Tapaculo (Scytalopus gettyae), was found not by one of the many ornithologists combing that incredibly biodiverse country, but by a birder, and the species was brought to the attention of the world due to recordings obtained from that frst encounter. Throughout the world, new species are being found by birding tour leaders, their clients, and independent birders who hear something that just doesn't ft—something that tickles their curiosity enough to prompt further investigation. Although the chance that any one of us will fnd something completely new is minuscule, the proliferation of birders with recorders still hugely benefts taxonomy. Proposed splits and lumps that cite vocal differences as justifcation are taking advantage of a burgeoning bird Above, Alder Flycatcher. Photo © Nick Saunders. Right, Willow Flycatcher. Photo © Kelly Colgan Azar. 28 Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | November 2013

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