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.
Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/753549
40 Birder's Guide to Gear | November 2016 notes with additional information. Bird records committees might want to know exactly where you had a rare bird; GPS waypoints are ideal for documenting where a particular field recording was made; and documenting personal bird sight- ings with waypoints is a good way to ensure that you'll remember exactly where to go the next time an out-of-town guest asks to see a Black-chinned Sparrow or a Henslow's Sparrow. You could take detailed notes with directions to a specific birding location, but having a GPS waypoint that you can easily navigate to with a single click is a much more efficient way to get yourself there quickly. GPS for Safety Some of us are spatially challenged. I know a good number of birders who couldn't navigate their way out of a paper bag, and though I make light of it at times, this can be a serious and life-threatening concern. Taking a waypoint or "dropping a pin" at the car or trailhead before you embark on a hike can spare you from a night out in the woods if trails get complicated and you get turned around. I re- member a particular backpacking trip in the Bob Marshall Wilderness of Montana, where our trip leader was having issues getting us back on the right trail (somehow, U.S. Forest Service trail maps are never totally accurate). After wandering around for a while and climbing hill after hill to get bearings and try to pin down our location, I remembered I had marked the trailhead on my GPS. He had never used a GPS before, so I set it to navigate us back, handed it to him, and told him to follow the arrow. Within a half hour or so, we were back on trail and back on track to make the date I had with a Coke and a juicy hamburger after six days in the backcountry. Having a GPS on hand is not only a good way to navigate yourself to places you want to go, but it can also come in handy if you have to give some- one else your exact location. If you're out on a bird- ing adventure and need emergency medical care, being able to provide your exact position, thanks to GPS, can facilitate help arriving quickly and be- fore it's too late. I've only begun to scratch the surface of the ap- plications, uses, and availability of GPS for better birding. I sincerely hope that if you haven't already started to incorporate waypoint-marking and GPS use into your regular birding adventures, you'll give it a try the next time you're out in the field! Imagine you have just found a rare bird off-trail in the mountains. How would you describe the location to your friend? The article's author, Ashli Gorbet, found a Varied Thrush in Central New Mexico and struggled to do just that. GPS For Better Birding Birding Better For GPS " If you're out on a birding adventure and need emergency medical care, being able to provide your exact position, thanks to GPS, can facilitate help arriving quickly and before it's too late. " " If you're out on a birding adventure and need emergency medical care, being able to provide your exact position, thanks to GPS, can facilitate help arriving quickly and before it's too late. "