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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vocalization database. Want an example? Again, visit Xeno-canto, pick a common or widespread species, and look at the map of where recordings of that species originate. Nearly all those recordings are from birders just like you and me. Now imagine you're an ornithologist working on, say, Rufous Antpitta taxonomy. Sure, you'll have a lot of recordings of your own, and likely many from your colleagues. But you'll also have access to more than 150 others, made by birders and amateurs, from throughout the range of the species and involving nearly every described subspecies. Next time you go birding, grab more than just your binoculars and a scope. Pick up a recorder, fnd a bird making some noise, and hit that record button! (See Diana Doyle's "Tools of the Trade" article on p. 52 of the July/August 2013 issue of Birding for tips on taking the plunge.) If you get a decent recording, post it somewhere such as Xeno-canto. You never know what you'll fnd, and if nothing else, you should have a great time and a greater appreciation for what birds say. Glossary Cryptic species. A species that was overlooked by scientists because it appears nearly or completely identical to another in morphology. Instinctual. Describes a behavior that is based on instinct. That is, it is not learned, but innate, and preprogrammed by DNA. Suboscine. One of two widespread subdivisions of the order Passeriformes. The suboscines comprise a group of related passerines which have more "primitive" vocal structures than the other widespread group (the oscines). Another important difference is that song in suboscines is instinctual, but learned in oscines. November 2013 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy 29

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