Thursday, February 07, 2008

What's Your Dream Bird?

I got American Robin this week! Yeeeeeee-hah! Species #110 for 2008! To anyone with the temerity to attempt a big year in the same year as I (fools!), my best advice is to quit while you're ahead. It's pointless. I just got American Robin, didn't I? You may have a strong lead now, but I'm right behind you. Look over your shoulder. That's me. I'm fast on your heels. Getting nervous yet?

I think most birders have a dream bird, one they want to see more than any other. My dream bird is the Bare-necked Umbrellabird, a rare species of cotinga endemic to the mountains of Panama and Costa Rica. Not only is it rare and exotic, it looks rare and exotic. On my last trip to Costa Rica I made a long hike to a remote hut hoping to see it, but failed to locate the lek (yes, for courtship they gather at leks, sort of like grouse). Since then the umbrellabird has become my personal holy grail. A friend and I planned a trip to Costa Rica last spring, but fate intervened. It may be years before I get another chance, but someday I will go back to Costa Rica, trek deep into the rainiest rainforest, and find this amazing bird at its hidden lek.

Thanks to YouTube we have this stunning video of the closely related Amazonian Umbrellabird. Enjoy.


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