Birder's Guide

OCT 2016

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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47 October 2016 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy their tally worked because the flight oc- curred at night, and after the flight, there were more new species to identify in the dark. Team members had to stop birding for two and a half hours to make the flight from Quito to the coast. During the day, however, there was a two-and-a-half-hour stretch when the team identified 154 spe- cies of birds; so taking a flight during the daytime could have meant missing 150 species. Making up such a deficit would have been difficult, to say the least. The Biggest Day Unfolds Like all serious Big Day attempts, bird- ing began at midnight on October 8. The team spent the next five hours driv- ing from subtropical montane forest at 2,050m (6,800 ft.)—the location of Cabañas San Isidro, where the team had rested in preparation for the day—down to Amazonian lowland rainforest at 450m (1,475 ft.). During this time, the team stopped at precise locations where the participants suspected—from years of experience and from scouting the night before—that they would find spe- cific species of night birds. They broad- cast bird recordings (called playback) and used different kinds of floodlights. Only 16 species of birds were identified during the first five hours, an average of one species for each 19 minutes. These in- cluded eight species of owl, three species of nightjar, and two species of tinamou. Above: n Sword-billed Hummingbird was ticked off the list at 15:42. Photo © Dušan Brinkhuizen Below: n The team birding rainforest in the foothills of the eastern Andes. Photo © George L. Paul

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