Back in 1996, an article titled The "600" Club, published in The Toucan (Panama Audubon Society -PAS- newsletter), caught my attention. Its author, Daniel George, after years of listing and having reached a plateu in his knowledge about panamanian birds, was narrating how he managed to register more than 600 birds in one year in Panama, together with other three respected birdwatchers. Panama has a list of 979 birds approximately (including vagrants and accidental birds), and 600 represents about 61% of it, so it is a very memorable achievement, specially for the casual birder (that is, not the bird guide or scientist who works chasing birds... I know some of them that reach 700 or more birds in a good year!). He proposed that the PAS should recognize somehow those braves able to achieve the prowess, hence the title of "The 600 Club". Well, after almost 14 years, Daniel's dream comes true. During january PAS monthly meeting I had the honor of announcing the birth of The 600 Club to the members who attended. The PAS adopted the idea in commemoration of the International Year of Biodiversity and we signed a symbolic agreement of participation.
What are the requirements to belong to the 600 Club?
1. Sign a symbolic agreement of participation, or simply let us know you are participating.
2. Send me (firstname.lastname@example.org) a digital photograph of yourself and a short biography that will be published in the Audubon web page and in the 600 Club blog page. I will be in charge of checking everyone's list.
3. At the end of March, June, September and December you must submit a partial list of the birds seen. I will publish the "standings" in the blog page.
4. See, or identify by sound, 600 different species of birds while in Panama or in its territorial waters, during a calendar year (now starting from january 1st). All birds on the official PAS checklist, maintained by George Angehr, and naturally arrived vagrants will be eligible for counting. Birds not native to Panama, including escaped cage birds, likely ship assisted vagrants, and domestic fowl cannot be counted.
5. Each january, participants should participate in the PAS monthly meeting for the final determination of who can be considered new members of the "600 Club".
6. If you have already seen 600 birds in a year, you can get the patch by submitting a list of the birds seen and the location (except for those already official members, those who appeared at the 1996 article: Dodge & Lorna Engleman, Daniel George and George Angehr).
7. Participants who have seen 400 or 500 species will receive a certificate of recognition, since seeing even these lesser numbers is a worthy achievement.
This activity is only for fun. There are no prizes, only the recognition that you are one of the few birders in the country to have reached this goal.
I hope that friends and PAS members will help the participants reach their goals by birding with them and enjoying the wonderful biodiversity of Panama!