Saturday, July 12, 2014

Map - How Birders See America

When the average person sees a map of the Lower 48, they may have a few ideas about what's where.  Pizza in New York, surfing in Southern California, jazz in New Orleans, Old Faithful in Yellowstone... you get the idea.  But birding changes your perception of the map.  No longer is South Florida "only" the land of retirees - it's also the place to pick up nearly every introduced exotic species known to man.  We originally wanted to do a map of the entire ABA area, but I have no clue what birding is like in about 80% of Canada (though I could have smacked a giant "Tim Horton's" across the country).  It still proved to be a challenge to fill some of the more under-birded and unknown regions of the United States - but we finished up with (what we think is) a good representation of a Birder's Map of America. Some of the stereotypes are based on recent rarities, while others are based on what we deemed to be the species most representative of the region.

Click to enlarge.

This map is intended to show what birders actually see when they behold the beautiful map of 'Murica.  If you think we nailed it, or if you completely disagree and are disgusted that we even created this, comment below - we'd love to hear from you.

35 comments:

  1. Hmmm, I think Alaska deserves to be mapped, not just indicated with an arrow pointing to a place few birders can even access. Then again, I guess I should be glad Alaska wasn't drawn as a teeny island out in the Pacific. :-)

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    2. Actually, Alaska is a few important islands in the Pacific to birders, except for a few murrelets, the Bristle-thighed Curlew, and the Northwestern crow.

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  2. Lucas, this is a cool idea. Here in Iowa, it appears we are somewhere between Dickcissels and I Don't Really Know. I've had the opportunity to take some top-shelf birders out birding when they visit, for example, to speak at our state bird meetings including Jeff Gordon and George Armistead of the ABA and Alvaro Jaramillo. They always comment on the surprising numbers of Dickcissels so you certainly nailed that one. But the bird they ask about is Henslow's Sparrow which has become a bit of specialty bird here. The other one would be Eurasian Tree Sparrow which used to make St. Louis a must-stop for every ABA lister. Now they are fairly easy to find at many Iowa and Illinois locations.

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    1. Ahhh... I can't believe I forgot Eurasian Tree Sparrow! The one time I birded in the Midwest (albeit in southern Indiana), I did see a Henslow's... but what stuck out for me were the DICKs.

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  3. If you added Canada you could put BREEDING WARBLERS across the top 2/3 and "lapwings" for the Martimes.

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    1. True... I may need a next installment! I could add Ivory Gull over Nunavut and "Attu East" for Newfoundland, too.

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  4. You need a nap that rotates annually. Every few years the top two-thirds of it would say, "Snowy Owls. OMG SNOWY OWLS!!!!!!!1!! I <3 SNOWY OWLS 4EVERRRRR! OMG!!!!"

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    1. ^This is so true. Hell, last year I could've plastered that across the ENTIRE map!

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    2. Being on birding pages was like a continual Justin Bieber concert full of screaming fan-kids.

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  5. Not bad, but you have the Farralones south of S.F., and SoCal is not the land of pelagical birding; Monterey to Bodega Bay and even Mendocino County is.

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    1. I'm aware of that; unfortunately the map I had cut off so close to SF that I could only fit the offshore stuff to the south.

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  6. You've nailed it for most places, but you're completely wrong about barbecue. South Carolina's is much better than that available in North Carolina.

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    1. You are sadly mistaken about barbecue, sir. Sadly, sadly mistaken. Eastern Style kicks ass, end of story.

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    2. Bob Gibson's kicks ass, end of story and argument.

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    3. I'm more of an Allen & Son guy myself.

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  7. Pileateds have been making the rounds here in Michigan the last couple years, &
    last winter was a great time for the Snowy. . . . .
    Though I personally have seen neither.
    I agree with the 'rotating map' a previous poster suggested.

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  8. Guys - I think this is a cute idea. But in some ways I don't get it fully.

    But I'm of the age when Roger Tory Peterson's "Wild America" came out. So when I was your age, I was into researching where real birds really occurred. When I was 16 - I took my first self paid for birding trip out west. I walked a lot of miles to get to refuges, but that worked out fine. Prior to that I had to coerce my family to go to wild areas or refuges. That was harder than just walking at times.

    Plus I was awakened to birding in the "distant land" of Massachussetts when I was young, so again…. I think a bit more factual stuff would have emphasized the "holes". But in the age of the internet there are no "holes" anymore.

    Blogs like 10,000 birds are supposed to be cute but much of that just turns into crap too.

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  9. This is pure gold, sir. PURE GOLD. I'm going to the Chiricahuas in September (honeymoon) and I CAN'T WAIT! I'm spending at least three of the 7 days birding my arse off! (All I could finagle was three days--the rest have to be spent "honeymooning" and going into shops and museums and stuff. Hmph.

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    1. Best of luck to you! I've never been there, so I'm a bit jealous... I hope you have an epic 3 days ;)

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  10. Nelson Briefer is all that WA gets???? Not even "7 grouse", or something like that? Pffooof......easterners.....

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    1. Haha! I feel obligated to make it look like the East Coast is better than the West Coast, even though everyone knows that's not true. A Sooty Grouse from Olympic is the first bird I even remember seeing, believe it or not.

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  11. Awesome---needs to be a t-shirt!

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    1. Yes, we'll unveil our apparel series eventually.

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  12. Can't wait for the t-shirts!

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  13. Cool map! You need to add chickens-greater and lesser

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  14. No love for sage grouse, sage sparrow, Brewer's sparrow in all that desert desert desert?

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  15. Birders do not go there? Eastern Oregon (don't dare say that as Ore "gone")? Never heard of Malheur Nat Wildlife Refuge I see, a true iconic birding spot. BTW Oregon has 5 albatross species on its state list..something to consider..

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  16. Fun stuff and nice work!

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  17. There is a good chance that you two have created the greatest birding website in history. Just so you know.

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  18. St Louis = Eurasian Tree Sparrow!

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  19. Yes t-shirt! But please thin material and not on a white background :)

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  20. I would have loved to see rosy finch in the mountain states.

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  21. Love the map! In Alabama we do have lots of great birds! And lots of us know just what they are, though!!! Good way to get folks talking about birding!

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