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 35 of 67

34 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2015 The Most of Your Tour ting in the seat you are in, others may not!" • Everyone should be looking. If everyone is constantly looking for birds rather than just relying on the leader to fnd them, the group will be more productive. More eyes fnd more birds. • Pay attention to the leader's description of the target bird. For example, "It's about the size of a Swainson's Thrush and will walk on the ground, bobbing its head and tail like a small, dark rail with electric blue skin around the eye." Knowing where to look and what you're looking for will in- crease your chances of getting on the bird. • Lining up to see a bird. Determine early on who the taller and shorter members of the group are; when you line up to see a bird, be thoughtful and take height into account. In the forest, remove a wide- brimmed hat when lining up so you do not block the view of the person behind you. • Let the leader know immediately if you cannot see the bird. Leaders report that one of the most frustrating aspects of bird guiding is trying to help people who wait until after a bird has disappeared to say that they didn't see it. Everyone is some- times embarrassed or shy about speaking up, but rarely can a leader get a bird back into view; so speak up immediately. • Punctuality is not only appreciated--it's mandatory. The rest of the group can quickly become upset if you cut into its birding time by arriving late. If not early, be on time! • Keeping up with the group. It is impor- tant to keep up. You will miss birds, and you will disturb the group (and possibly scare away the bird) if you lag behind and rush up after everyone else is already lined up and seeing a bird. • Finding the bird. There is an art to de- scribing the location of a bird quickly and effciently. How often have you heard someone say, "The bird is over there." or "It's right in front of me!"—and you have no clue? Use a few key cues to communi- cate quickly and softly how to get on the bird. Here are some examples: QUESTIon: "What have you seen?" AnSWEr: "It's a male Lovely Cotinga." Continued from page 32

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