By Howard Meyerson
Chilean-born biologist Alvaro Jaramillo thinks bird watchers can get too hung up in their field guides and miss opportunities to really see the birds they are watching. Bird recognition, he says, takes place in a part of the brain, the fusiform gyrus, where face recognition takes place.
Blink. That’s a robin. That’s how it goes.
Improving identification skills requires seeing a bird holistically, not just the field markings highlighted in most birdwatching field guides.
“If you talk to expert bird watchers, they are not thinking about it. They recognize the entire sum of the parts,” said Jaramillo, senior biologist with the San Francisco Bird Observatory, author of the book “Birds of Chile,” and the keynote speaker at the 2013 Tawas Point Birding Festival scheduled for May 16-19 in Iosco County.
“The key is to get more experience, to see birds more and have them become embedded in…
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