Wednesday 18 July 2007

Two One-Species Wonders

Michigan is often referred to as a One-Species Wonder, with the emphasis all too often on the One-species part and not - more deservedly - on the Wonder part.

Of course, I am talking about the Kirtland's Warbler, Michigan's own and the main reason most birders from near or far will consider a visit to this state at some point in their birding career.

This of course is utterly unfair as the regular accidentals and vagrants to my blog (notice the "to", not a typo for "on") are probably well aware of it. Certainly the Kirtland's Warbler is a deservedly sought-after bird not only because of its limited range but also because it is a downright neat bird with a perfect song. But Michigan deserves more credit than it receives just for hosting this specialty. After all, as mentioned before on this blog, the early pioneers named the Great Lakes after the great birding along their shores and that's no exaggeration. And I am sure they were more impressed by the numbers of Passenger Pigeons and other migrants (see e.g. here, here and here, admittedly from nearby Ohio) than Kirtland's Warblers.


"Shared Agony is half the Agony" as we say in Germany and even though we use this in a slightly different context, it is still a bit of a relief for Michigan that it does not stand alone in this injustice.

Of course, I am talking about St. Louis in Missouri.

My wife will attend a meeting at St. Louis from Sunday to Wednesday next week and I am coming with her. Well, not to the meeting but to Missouri.

And the way things are looking (good!) there might be some decent birding coming my way.


Ever tried to find out about good birding spots around St. Louis on the Internet?
You'll surely be quite satisfied when you are a native American as you'll get all you need to find Eurasian Tree Sparrow, but when you come from a region of Germany with an estimated population of 150,000 to 250,000 breeding pairs on an area not even a quarter of the size of Michigan, you might just be more interested in Bell's Vireos, Bewick's Wrens and Least Terns, just to mention a few.

And then things are looking rather bleak.

Of course, a short inquiry on the local "birders" email forum was met with a flood of very good advice and I'm all set and ready to go, but it is remarkable just how much certain areas are only known for one small fraction of their natural wealth.

This is what makes the world such a small place.


Anonymous said...

I hear you...anyone want to come to upstate New York for a Bicknell's Thrush? And we aren't even the only ones who have it!

Anonymous said...

When I was in Michigan, I just had to visit the Kirtland's Warblers! WOW, they really are stunning birds for sure!

Larry said...

Have you ever tried getting info from birding Pal?