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Endangered birds top list of birds birdwatchers want to see most

A California Condor flies over the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS).
A California Condor flies over the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS).

09/06/2013 – A pair of endangered high-flying aerialists — California Condor and Whooping Crane — top the list of birds that birdwatchers in the United States and Canada say they want to see most.

A recent poll by bimonthly BirdWatching Magazine identified the 10 most-wanted bird species on the continent.

California Condor, the largest terrestrial bird in North America and the subject of a successful decades-long captive breeding and reintroduction program, came in No. 1.

In 1982, only 22 condors remained in the world. Today, ten times that number are flying free in California, northern Arizona, Utah, and Mexico, while more than 200 can be viewed in the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, and other institutions.

Watch a public release of California Condors at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, September 28.

Most of the graceful, tall, white Whooping Cranes, the second most-wanted bird, migrate between Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge in Texas. Each fall, pilots at the controls of small ultralight aircraft lead cranes from Wisconsin to winter grounds in Florida in hopes of re-establishing a second, eastern migratory flock.

Two additional species of conservation concern — the endangered Kirtland’s Warbler, North America’s rarest songbird, and the threatened Spotted Owl — also made BirdWatching’s most-wanted list.

“That four of the 10 birds on our most-wanted list are either endangered or threatened demonstrates just how informed BirdWatching readers are, and how much they care about conservation,” said Editor Chuck Hagner.

The magazine conducted its poll in early 2013 and published the results — including descriptions, population info, and lists of viewing locations, tours, and festivals, along with 10 things you probably don’t know about each species — in its August 2013 issue.

Information about the most-wanted birds also appeared on the magazine’s recently redesigned website.

The 10 most-wanted birds in the U.S. and Canada

1. California Condor, the largest flying bird in North America

2. Whooping Crane, the continent’s tallest bird

3. Elf Owl, the world’s smallest owl

4. Gyrfalcon, a large arctic-breeding falcon

5. Atlantic Puffin, a popular clown-faced seabird, found in Maine and eastern Canada

6. Spotted Owl, controversial denizen of old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest and California and canyons of the Southwest

7. Kirtland’s Warbler, a blue and yellow summer resident of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Ontario

8. Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, a tiny, fierce owl of South Texas and southern Arizona

9. Green Jay, the colorful South Texas specialty

10. Blue-footed Booby, a large Pacific coast seabird


For information about BirdWatching, including editorial, subscription, and advertising contacts, visit our contact page.

BirdWatching is published by Massachusetts-based Madavor Media, which owns enthusiast magazines and web channels across several interest areas.

Facebook: BirdWatchingMagazine

Twitter: @BirdWatchDaily

  Originally Published

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