Birder's Guide

OCT 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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Page 29 of 57

26 Birder's Guid e to L is ting & Taxonomy | O ctober 2 014 om Stephenson and I were part of that team, along with Cameron Cox and Sam Galick, and we succeeded. By the time we ended our run the next morning, more than 400 miles away in Uvalde, Texas, we had pho- tographed 208 distinct and identifable species. What follows is an account of our day, what we learned, and what we hope for the future of this exciting new kind of birding challenge. First, a bit of background. I have always used a camera as a tool for birding, and have found that taking photos has rapidly accelerated my learning process. When you photograph a bird, you get to look at it twice—once in the feld and once at home. You also have to ID it twice. That process of attempting to name all your photos can get thorny if you get a photo of, say, just a tail, or an oddly plumaged gull—and so you're often forced to con- sider the more subtle aspects of the identifcation process in order to make sure you put the right name to the bird. Back in the feld, that work pays off when you apply those newly learned (or re- learned!) points to the birds in real life. For me, then, photography created a feedback loop that really moved my skills forward, and also gave me images to enjoy and share. Today, cameras are nearly ubiq- uitous in the birding world. Most of the birding groups Tom and I lead include a high proportion of people with cameras. And why On April 21, 2014, at 9:28 a.m., in Angelina National Forest, Texas, a team of dedicated birder/photographers armed themselves with cameras and headed out to set a new North American record for the number of species of birds photographed in a 24-hour period. T Sam Galick shooting on the fy in Angelina Forest, Texas. Photo © Scott Whittle

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