Birding the World with SIB Members: South Pacific to New Zealand & Australia

Many of us love to travel, and when we do, we often enjoy the birds and wildlife of far away places.  Flo Foley and Nancy Brown spent six weeks traveling from Tahiti to New Zealand and Australia.  In this blog, they will share some of their photos and experiences traveling the world “down under.”

If you have taken a trip and enjoyed doing a bit of bird watching, please send us an email as we’d love to share your story and photos!  Thanks!


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Laughing Kookaburra

We left the U.S on November 13, 2018 for a 41 day adventure to the Southern Hemisphere. Besides learning about the natural and cultural histories and experiencing new foods, we looked forward to the new birds we would hear and see along the journey! We started with a world bird life list of 718 birds, mostly North American with some European and African birds from our previous trips to those continents. The question would be, how many species could we see while traveling two weeks on a cruise followed by a three week land tour?

In preparation, I did some research using ebird.org to match up the locations we’d be visiting to hot spots and bird sightings in those areas. Next, I temporarily upgraded an app I use called BirdsEye to the World Edition ($4.99/mo) so our phones would have a world bird identification guide and access to live data from eBird. Finally, I reviewed our daily itinerary to find free time when we could hire private bird guides to best use our time to see the most birds. I picked five locations and through the wonderful world of Google, was able to find and hire experienced bird guides.

When you start to observe birds anywhere in the world, you will start to notice there are similarities. Having even just basic knowledge of birds, the novice birder can begin to recognize the different families of birds: shorebirds, wading birds, birds of prey, kingfishers, parrots, hummingbirds, etc. At this point, you can start to make more specific observations and use the tools to determine which species are found in the location you are in.  We find taking a photograph of the bird is often the best answer when we are in the field and don’t know what it is. Then we can take the time to do the research without having to rely on our memory!

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