Can You Top This Birding Experience?


A Canada warbler. Credit Ian Davies

We have wow posts about birds all the time, but this one will have to take the cake, for now:

A River of Warblers: ‘the Greatest Birding Day of My Life’

At an observatory in Quebec, they were hoping for a 50,000-bird day. They saw more than half a million.

By James Gorman

Ian Davies got hooked on birds when he was 12. He went to a site near Plymouth, Mass., where volunteers were putting bands on migrating birds.

“They let me release a Canada warbler,” he said, “and that was just game over.”

On Monday, he saw an estimated 700,000 warblers and set the birding world all atwitter with a posting on the site eBird describing the astonishing event.

The posting begins simply:

“Today was the greatest birding day of my life.”

He may one day top it, because he is 26. But he has a good deal of experience to look back on already. In 14 years of dedicated birding, he has been to 35 countries, and is a project coordinator of eBird, a citizen science project for gathering data from the worldwide community of birders, who contribute data on about 100 million sightings a year.

He and his fellow birders were at the Tadoussac bird observatory in Quebec, on the north bank of the St. Lawrence River. Pascal Côté, the director of the observatory who has been monitoring birds there for 10 years, said “I have never seen anything like this.” His group, at a different location in the same area, saw 200,000 birds in what was only one part of a miles-wide corridor. He said he thought the total was probably closer to 500,000, but could be higher…

Read the whole story here.

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