Birder's Guide

MAY 2014

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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Antpitta Feeding in the Andes Bird Early Gets the Worm! 22 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2014 ho would've thought that some of the hardest-to-see Neotropical birds could be readily habituated to attending feeding stations? Seals at the zoo I get, but the skittish antpittas that skulk through the drippiest, darkest tracts of the forest foor? They sing and call, trilling and hooting, but stay away from your binocu- lars all morning long. In case you're not familiar with them, the antpittas are a group of over 50 species of chunky suboscine passerines ranging in size from the four-inch Ochre-breasted Antpitta to the Giant Antpitta, which exceeds 10 inches. They live exclusively in the Neotropics and are most diverse in the subtropical cloudforests of the Andes, in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. These cloudforests have rough topog- raphy, making it extra hard to see a bird that wants to stay hidden. So the chance to see these birds on schedule and up-close for your easy viewing pleasure can become the highlight of your trip. Or maybe it could even cause some slight misgivings, mak- ing you feel like you've just witnessed something better left secret, something intimately "other". What do I mean by "called in on schedule"? Well, beginning in 2005, one unassuming Ecuadorian farmer named W "María", a very con- fiding Giant Antpitta, is the bird that started it all for Ángel Paz, and, by extension, everyone else who's now in the antpitta- feeding business. Image © Nick Athanas Antpitta Feeding in the Andes Bird Early Gets the Worm! 3-Antpitta2.indd 22 5/22/14 7:37 PM

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