Birder's Guide

MAR 2017

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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37 March 2017 | Birder's Guide to Travel number of Old World shorebird species have been recorded here over the years. Laysan Ducks are present year-round. Laysan Duck is Midway's specialty wa- terfowl, and this is one of only three places in the world to see the critically endan- gered bird. Formerly found throughout the Hawaiian chain, the species' range has shrunk to the point of persisting only on Laysan Island, which is several hundred miles east of Midway. The USFWS brought them to Midway, and later to Kure Atoll, to establish a refugia population in case a storm, invasive species, or disease were to wipe out the Laysan birds. The ducks are wary but intensely curious; small flocks flying by may actually go out of their way to land next to you and check you out. In travelling around Sand Island, you will undoubtedly notice Common Mynas and Island Canaries. These are the only passerines you are likely to see, descen- dants of birds brought over a hundred years ago by workers for the Commercial Pacific Cable Company. Aside from the oc- casional Peregrine Falcon or Short-eared Owl, no other landbirds occur at Midway with regularity. Because it is so far from any significant land mass, Midway does not attract num- bers of continental migrants but does get its share of vagrants. Red Phalarope, Po- marine Jaeger, Grey-tailed Tattler, "Sibe- rian" Whimbrel, and Lesser Frigatebird were recorded while I was there. There are n Part of the vast Laysan Albatross colony on Sand Island. Photo © Dan Clark

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