Wednesday, November 21, 2007

10 Birds to See

DC-area birder Gail Mackiernan started this thread on BirdChat a week ago. She asked members each to list ten birds that one should see in one's lifetime, with the goal of building up a list of 100 must-see species. It is difficult to choose just ten species out of the nearly 10,000 species that exist worldwide, or even out of the 900-odd species that have been seen in the ABA area. That said, I will give it a try. I decided to divide the ten into five birds that I have seen and five that I have not seen.

First, five birds that I have seen:

  1. Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) - a truly world-wide species that is emblematic of birds' fragility and resilience
  2. Red Knot (Calidris canutus) - a beautiful species on the brink
  3. Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) - a bizarre-looking bird that demonstrates nature's variety of adaptations
  4. Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca) - one of the most beautiful of the eastern warblers
  5. Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes) - my favorite avian singer
Next, five that I would like to see:
  1. Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica) - has the longest recorded migration
  2. Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) - a beautiful bird with unusual nesting behavior
  3. Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita) - a rare bird with mythological significance
  4. Cuban Tody (Todus multicolor) - a cute bird with a funny nickname
  5. Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) - one of many impressive old world vultures