Birder's Guide

OCT 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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19 October 2017 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy The Hague, Netherlands Arjan Dwarshuis 016 was a roller-coaster year for me. I recorded 6,833 different bird species, following the IOC World Bird List tax- onomy (Gill & Donsker 2016), in an insane nonstop round-the-world birding adventure, which took me to 40 countries and all conti- nents except Antarctica. As I'm writing this, the number has already grown to 6,851 species due to recent splitting. For just this reason, I meticu- lously kept track of every distinct subspecies I came across during the year. A world Big Year is the birder's equivalent of playing in the Super Bowl, and I would be lying if I told you that I didn't do it simply for the kick and my love for traveling and birding. However, I also wanted to use this record attempt to give something back to all those amazing birds and the ecosystems they thrive in. For this rea- son, I decided to raise funding and awareness for BirdLife International's ground-breaking Preventing Extinctions conservation program, which aims to counteract the extinction of more than 500 critically endangered bird species. So far, I have raised €31,340, but after ob- serving so many critically endangered birds last year, I feel obliged to keep my fundraiser going. For this reason, I'm donating a percentage of the revenue generated from my talks and work- shops to the BirdLife International Preventing Extinctions. I will do the same with my book, which I hope will be finished before spring 2018. You can donate to the program via my web portal at L et me briefly explain how my idea of doing a world Big Year came about. Birding is my greatest passion; it gives me enormous fulfill- ment, and I could not imagine life without it. When I was a toddler, and other kids drew houses and cars, I drew birds. Since I was nine years old, I have kept track of all my sightings in logbooks, and I watched birds almost every day before school, after school, and often during school. When I was just 14, I traveled to Turkey with a friend to look for Caucasian Grouse and Caspian Snowcock (members of two genera I dipped on completely in 2016), and after finish- ing high school, I embarked on a seven-month birding trip through Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. Over those seven months in 2006, I recorded well over 2,000 species, mostly while hitchhiking, with- out any proper planning, and with zero birding in Africa, Europe, Central, or North America. In 2006, the world Big Year record stood at 3,662 species, set in 1989 by the legendary American ornithologist James Clements. I re- alised that Clements's record was beatable and I promised myself that one day I would do my own world Big Year—on a budget and with limited 2

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