Peru's winged wonders stir birders' competitive passions
December 13, 2012
By Marie Sanz
Competitive birdwatching might sound like an oxymoron. Try telling that to ornithologists from around the world racing around Peru on a six-day marathon vying to become best birder.
"I am covered in bug bites, my legs are killing me and I got sick and threw up from the altitude," Ryan Terrill, 26, a member of the winning American team, told AFP. "Despite all that, I have been able to see all the birds I have always wanted to see," added Terrill, all smiles. Twenty-four seasoned bird specialists from Britain, South Africa, Brazil, Spain and the United States took part in "Birding Rally Challenge Peru." Decked out in shorts and caps, binoculars and cameras around their necks, these guys could be mistaken for random outdoorsy tourists, maybe on their way to Macchu Picchu. But they are super-specialists, indeed. Some competitors are among the world's best known and most respected authorities on bird life.