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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Page 73 of 95

72 Birder's Guide to Travel | March 2017 Birding Puerto Rico to be converted into national wildlife refuges (such as Vieques and Culebra). Resources Several field guides are available for Puerto Rico, and some cover the entire West Indies: A Guide to the Birds of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, Herbert A. Raffaele (1989); Birds of the West Indies, Herbert A. Raffaele et al. (2003); Birds of the West Indies, Norman Arlott (2010); and Puerto Rico's Birds in Photographs, Mark W. Oberle (3rd ed. 2010). The Oberle book offers more detailed species information than the others and loca- tions where species might be seen, and it includes a CD of audio recordings and additional photographs. It is also avail- able as an iPhone app. The BirdLife International profile of Puerto Rico is a fine introduction to its birds, geography, Important Bird Areas, and conservation status. Puerto Rico also has an established birding com- munity. Many hotspots are covered well on eBird, where Puerto Rico has its own regional portal; eBird bar charts are an excellent resource. A number of established local bird- ing guides can provide the latest insider information, transportation, and help with the language, as Spanish is the main language of the island. Although driving is easy, and some English is spoken by many Puerto Ricans, birders who are ap- prehensive about those issues—or who have an aggressive target list or limited time—may want to consider a guide. Several major bird tour companies also offer multi-day tours in Puerto Rico. Both local guides and tour companies can be found online via any search engine. Logistics From the mainland, Puerto Rico is the most convenient destination in the Ca- ribbean. No passport is required for U.S. citizens, so it is not necessary to pass customs. There are many direct flights, particularly from New York, Orlando, and Miami, but also from Boston, Atlan- ta, Chicago, and Houston. Puerto Rico's largest airport—Luis Múñoz Marín In- ternational Airport (SJU)—is just out- side San Juan and is the largest aerial transportation hub in the Caribbean. San Juan is also one of the busiest ports of call for cruise ships in the Caribbean, but most birders will want far more time on the island than afforded by a cruise. Rental cars are readily available and driving is similar to the mainland, though signs are in Spanish. Roads, particularly main highways, are in good n Cabo Rojo Salt Flats Photo © U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southeast Region

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