Ithaca, NY is famous for vegetarian cookbooks, a defunct shotgun company and the truly famous University and the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The bird people are based on Sapsucker Road and I’ve been talking birds with them all day. The staff I’ve met have all been very keen and very proud of Cornell – and I think they have every reason to be proud.
The Cornell Lab is approaching its centenary and that makes it a very well established global centre of ornithological excellence.
One of their big projects is eBird – have a look and see what you think – if you are a birder you’ll be impressed. I was privileged to be talked through eBird by Steve Kelling and Chris Wood – both nice guys, good birders and with a passion for data-gathering, data-sharing, data-analysis and birds.
And Chris is a world record holder! Beat that – I’ve been with a world record holder today.
I can beat that – I had dinner with two world record holders this evening – Chris, and Jessie Barry who also works at Cornell. They were both members of a team who recently beat the North American record for the number of species seen in one day – amassing 264 species (and beating the previous record by 3 clear species). That’s probably more species in one day than I will see in my whole trip!
We ate at Maxie’s Supper Club where I had a delicious jambalaya – and we talked birds – everything from grassland bird declines to the impact of mute swans in marshes (they are seen as a pest), and grouse shooting to the decline in hunting in the USA. And everyone here wants to know the secret of the RSPB having million and more members.
But it’s late, and I am going out birding at 6 tomorrow with a world record holder so I need to get some sleep – if Room 101 will let me…