Former Minnesota birder hoping for Central American list of 1,100


Mike Mulligan, long an active birder in Minnesota before a move to Calgary, has made many trips to Central American countries in pursuit of birds. He will be back there a year from now, he tells me, hoping to bring his Central American bird list to 1,100. He currently trails only one person, birding guide Kevin Easley. Mike’s 2017 trip will take him to Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama.


Here are his current totals, with number of visits to each country: 

Belize, 330, 2 visits

Guatemala, 482, 8 visits

Honduras, 380, 2 visits

Panama, 737, 10 visits

Costa Rica, 800, 36 visits

Central America, 1,081 species


Mexico, 901 species


His first visit to Central America was in 1990. His fascination with the area has grown since then, he said via email.


“Costa Rica is the country I'm most familiar with,” he said. “I think I know my way around there better than I do in Calgary. 


“I want to say up front that my totals are the results of having the opportunity to bird with several wonderful professional guides, Kevin Easley being a excellent example. (Easley has over 900 species for Coast Rica.)


“Currently, my interest is directed to two numbers, Costa Rica and Central America,” Mike said. “Kevin tells me that the recent splits have given me several new birds for CR, and probably several for CA also. I haven't figured those splits out yet.


“I enjoy immensely the actual trip,” he said. “Even the occasional lousy bed or poor food doesn't disturb me. (Hell, it's a different country!) It's simply not possible for me to watch a Magnificent Quetzal -- or even a Green Heron -- without feeling a kind of happiness, a completeness. 


“I am a lucky person,” Mike said.