BOOKS: Top 100 Birding Sites of the World

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2009:

Top 100 Birding Sites of the World
by Dominic Couzens
Univ. of Calif. Press (2120 Berkeley Way, Berkeley, CA 94704-1012), 2008.
320 pages, illustrated. $45.00.

Just a year after publication of the first edition of Dominic
Couzens’ Top 100 Birding Sites of the World, now reprinted in an
expanded edition, climatic change has transformed three of the ten I
have been fortunate enough to visit.
Keoladeo Ghana National Park at Bharatpur, India, is badly
depleted by drought, though the Indian government hopes to restore
it by piping in water.
The Florida Everglades, also drying out, are now home to
increasingly abundant feral pythons. The pythons prey upon the
resident alligators, who are the major predators of Everglades
wading birds. Since big snakes have consumed crocodilians in most
crocodilians habitat for the past hundred million years, the only
surprise is that big snakes of some sort didn’t reach the Everglades

The Olympic Peninsula, just a ferry boat ride from here, is
gaining bird species due to global warming. Of 305 North American
bird species, 177 now winter farther north than they did in 1968,
according to the National Audubon Society.
Though habitats evolve, most of Couzens’ top 100 birding
sites are likely to remain spectacular for birders regardless of
changes in the species lists they host.
“My first response after reading Top 100 Birding Sites of the
World,” testifies back cover blurb author John T. Rotenberry, “was
to reach for the phone and start booking tours to go see birds.”
Probably most readers of this wishbook will have a similar
impulse, but most will never in a lifetime save the spare change or
flyer miles to visit more than a few dozen of Couzens’ top 100,
distributed as they are among seven continents and several remote
Pacific islands. Only a few are close enough together to
conveniently visit on the same trip.
Enough are easily accessible, however, to enable almost any
reader to visit a few, enhancing imagination of what the rest must
be like.

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