Sunday, August 13, 2006

Ten Places Every Birder Should Go Before They Die...Continental U.S./Canada only (ie no Hawaii or Alaska for now)

10. Montrose/Magic Hedge (ok, so we're biased)
9. Pt. Pelee
8. Sax-Zim Bog
7. High Island
6. Pt. Reyes
5. Cape May
4. Madera Canyon
3. Ft. De Soto
2. Dry Tortugas
1. Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park

We tried to only include one site from each area--for example, several spots in the LRGV probably deserve to be in the top ten. The list is biased, I suppose, towards migration hotspots, as opposed to breeding hotspots. Also a bit of a Midwest/Florida bias, but that's expected based on the experience of the people who came up with the list.



Bill Pulliam said...

So.. this birder never needs to see a Sage Grouse of any species? Calliope and Rufous Hummingbirds(MALES!! Not those godhelpus fall migrants!) in flower-filled mountain meadows are electives? Take a pass on Ptarmigans and Rosy Finches? Trumpeter Swans need only be seen as vagrants, without the white-capped peaks and cobalt blue skies of their natural backdrop? Juniper Titmouse is just a drab little bird, after all?

I'd say axe some of the repetitive eastern migrant traps and add a few spots from the Square States, places with more elevation than population. I need to sleep on this one...

Bill Pulliam said...

Some suggestions:

Crane Time on the Platte

One of the Intermountain staging grounds where you can stand in thin mile-high air amidst more waterfowl than the mind can comprehend, after having watched lekking Sage Grouse at dawn

Monterey Bay at Petrel Time (honestly, can you really have lived a complete birding life without having gone to sea with Rich Stallcup or Debi Love Shearwater?)

Somewhere in the Rockies/Pacific high country

Mike's Soap Box said...

Glad to see you added Sax Zim Bog! I been to 5 of the spots you mentioned on your list. Bill you need to join me on a Observ Bird Tour of Colorado in April. We saw all the birds you mention except the Trumpeter Swan.

Other places I would add:
1. Gunnella Pass in Colorado for Ptarmigans.
2. Pinery Canyon in the Chirachuas Mts (sp?) in SE Arizona
3. Sabal Palm Sanctuary in LRGV Texas.
4. Pawnee Grasslands Colorado.
5. Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory Duluth, MN

Bill Pulliam said...

Mike -- I was talking about what BINAC's hypothetical birder needs or doesn't need to see, not me specifically. I lived in Fort Collins for 12 years (plus California, Wyoming, ...); need a co-leader? ;)

Heather said...

How about the north end of the Salton Sea, where the Whitewater River channel feeds into the delta? BTW, a blue footed booby has been hanging around there this week.

Birding is NOT a crime!!!! said...

BTW Heather, those pins and patches on your web site are killer! And Asa Wright would probably make my top 10 international destinations list...but that's a list for another day.

There have been some great suggestions, but it's easy to cherry-pick and say "you missed this spot or that spot". Coming up with the actual top ten is the hard part, you have to make some tough choices.

It's been a while since we had a poll here, so I think this will be our next poll question: Top Ten places to go birding before you die. I'll try to set up the poll so that we can get the final results in order. So keep coming for your suggestions for the top 25 or 30 spots, and those places will all be choices in the poll.

I'm also going to make this a separate post.

John B. said...

Bombay Hook NWR in DE is an alternative site for birding in the Mid-Atlantic, as is Hawk Mountain in PA.