Cruising World

BIRDING RESOURCES

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The Cornell Lab of Ornitholog­y is host to ebird (ebird.org), where citizen-scientist birders all over the world log their sightings. Birding Aboard (also called SEABC) used ebird to host its members’ sightings. While birdingabo­ard.org no longer seems to be operationa­l, anyone can create a free account with ebird and log bird sightings. Not only does every contributi­on make a difference for research and conservati­on decisions, but it’s also just a fun way to keep track of your own sightings and look up what bird species live in your area (or any area you visit). My favorite seabird book is Seabirds of the

World by Peter Harrison. It has photograph­ic plates of hundreds of seabirds, which is no mean feat when that includes such rarities as the magenta petrel, of which fewer than 150 still survive, found only on the Chatham Islands off South Island, New Zealand.

Since Harrison’s book covers seabirds exclusivel­y, I turn to other books for landand shore-bird identifica­tion. In the Arctic and Alaska, I love A Complete Guide to

Arctic Wildlife by Richard Sale. More than half the book is devoted to birds, including superb photograph­s, again including hard-to-spot species such as the Mckay’s bunting, endemic to St. Matthew and Hall islands in the central Bering Sea. The other half of Arctic Wildlife is, of course, devoted to the remarkable mammals of the region, everything from iconic species such as polar bears to hares and ground squirrels. In the temperate latitudes, I like both the Audubon Society’s field guides and Sibley’s guides.

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