Birder's Guide

MAR 2015

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 11 of 67

10 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2015 ere in the ABA Area, we have genuinely rare species (Kirtland's Warbler, Florida Scrub-Jay, Gunnison Sage-Grouse), remote species that are hard to get to (McKay's Bunting, Whiskered Auklet), and yet more that are certainly not easy to see (Black Rail, Flammulated Owl). However, if you are determined, plenty of information is available to help you fnd them. You can easily hire a guide to take you to and set up a telescope on each one. Even the lesser-known of these species are still at least somewhat studied, with fairly well-understood ranges and seasonal movements. In comparison, the tropics abound with species that I like to call "avian unicorns". They are poorly known, little studied, and very infrequently seen. I came up with that nickname after I had invested months looking for Gray-headed Piprites in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. People claim to have seen them, but a quick check of the internet shows that there are far more people who have purported to have seen a unicorn than a Gray-headed Piprites. After more than a year birding Middle America, my partner Kathi and I found some rare species with ease, yet struggled with some S e W H

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