Monday, June 30, 2008

American Birding Association: Thursday's evening program

After dinner on Thursday during the American Birding Association's convention at the Snowbird resort outside Salt Lake City, Utah, Ted Floyd provided the evening's entertainment: the 10 greatest birds in the world. The editor of Birding magazine, Floyd brings humor and energy to his talks -- a fact that I learned during his keynote speech at the San Diego Bird Festival in February 2005.

With large photos appearing on the wall behind him, Floyd counted down his top 10 greatest birds in the world and related anecdotes about each. I bet you'll be surprised by his choices.

10. European Bee-eater
9. Screaming Piha
8. Three-wattled Bellbird
7. Brown Trembler
6. Pygmy Wren-Babbler
5. Eastern Screech-Owl
4. Common Raven
3. American Robin
2. Chipping Sparrow
1. Swainson's Thrush

Floyd credited the thrush with helping him rediscover the wonder and amazement of nature and birding. Although many birders and nonbirders consider birding an escape from reality, Floyd said otherwise: Birding isn't an escape but a connection to the intensity of reality.

Do you think of birding as an escape? What are your top 10 greatest birds of the world?

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