LSU Big Day Peru: LSU Award-Winning Birding Team to Travel to Peru for World Big Day Competition

09/18/2014 11:52 AM

BATON ROUGE – Imagine identifying hundreds of birds by sound alone within a 24-hour time frame. That is what LSU’s Tigrisomas – the international award-winning birding team – will be doing on Thursday, Oct. 16, in the north-central Peruvian Andes downslope toward the lowland jungle.


The team – consisting of ornithologists from the LSU Museum of Natural Science, or MNS, and a colleague from Peru – plan to break the world Big Day record of 331 bird species, set in 1982 by LSU ornithologist Ted Parker and then-Princeton graduate student Scott Robinson.


“LSU is known as one of the premier research and graduate training programs in ornithology,” said LSU Museum of Natural Science Director Robb Brumfield. “This world record attempt is special because it emphasizes the initial motivation that drove many of us to a career in research and teaching, the desire to discover and experience firsthand the incredible diversity of tropical birds.”


The Tigrisomas birding journey will begin at midnight on Oct. 16, in the cloud-forest mist at 8,200 feet and will descend to roughly 6,000 feet – providing an opportunity to sample birds in each elevation zone.


For Brumfield and Tigrisomas team members Glenn Seeholzer and Michael Harvey, LSU Big Day Peru extends beyond the world Big Day event – it’s also about raising awareness and support for the biological diversity research underway at MNS.


The museum has maintained a stellar reputation for its ornithological research in the tropics and houses one of the nation’s premier graduate programs for bird study. MNS is also renown for its extensive bird specimen collection – which now numbers more than 180,000 – and for its collection of avian genetics resources.


“Tissues from the LSU MNS genetic resources collection are used by researchers around the globe to study DNA and are playing a key role in the success of major international genomics project,” said Brumfield.


The team will be chronicling their adventure online at http://www.lsubigday.org/, on Facebook at www.facebook/LSUBigDay and on Twitter @lsubigday. They will also blog updates on the American Bird Association, or ABA, website at http://aba.org/birding.


In 2012 and 2013, the team took top honors in the international Birding Rally Challenge in Peru, besting several of the world’s top birding teams. The Tigrisomas also hold the Louisiana State Big Day record of 222 species identified.


Gifts to LSU Big Day Peru raise awareness and support for discovery-based research on biological diversity in the threatened habitats of the Andes Mountains and the Amazon Basin and fund burgeoning research efforts by LSU MNS graduate students. To give to LSU Big Day Peru, go to http://www.lsubigday.org and select “Big Day Research Support Fund.”


For more information about the Museum of Natural Science, visit www.lsu.edu/lsumns or like the museum on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LSUMNS.

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Dawn  Jenkins 
LSU College of Science
225-578-2935
djenkins1@lsu.edu
Tara  Kistler 
LSU Media Relations
225-578-3869
tkistler@lsu.edu

Posted on Thursday, September 18, 2014