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2018-12-13 : 10:38 am : +0100

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Dale Forbes

Scarlet Macaws (Ara macao) in Costa Rica. Yup, it is way too hot to take T-shirts seriously.

...likes being outdoors.

To be honest, I started with a more formal introduction to myself but it kinda sounded a little too serious for the birder side of me.

I started really noticing birds at the age of about 10, when my father visited the Okavango Delta (Botswana) for a company meeting/team building experience. He came back fascinated by the amazing diversity of life he encountered there. Very quickly after his return, the fertile minds of his two sons were captivated by this enchanting world. By the time I went to high school, I was way more interested in bird books and the best identification features of pipits than the computer games of my contemporaries.

At the University of Natal (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa), I studied Wildlife Science and Zoology, eventually writing an undergraduate thesis (Diplomarbeit) on the movements and migration of southern Africa’s 900-odd bird species. For an MSc, I studied the biogeography of forest vertebrates in southern Africa; trying to build an understanding of why one forest has such a particular community of frog, bird and mammal species. It turns out that local factors (forest area, isolation, structural heterogeneity…) certainly play a role in the makeup of species assemblages, but the long-term history of the forests was way more important. Since the last hypothermal (mini ice age) about 18000 years ago, forests has spread out through southern Africa and so have their vertebrate species.

I loved the learning opportunities that bird ringing afforded me, and have had the pleasure of handling many thousands of birds, including rare forest Zoothera thrushes, large owls and nestling Cape Parrots (Poicephalus robustus).

In Costa Rica, I worked on the research and conservation of Scarlet Macaws and other large parrots. Living around 50km due South of the Austrian National Jungle (at La Gamba), I was surrounded by hot, wet tropical rainforest on three sides, and the warm Pacific Ocean on the other. I spent three years wandering the jungle-covered hills and had an innumerable number of incredible experiences.

While living on the Caribbean Island of Utila, I studied Whale Sharks (their behaviour, movements and conservation) as well as general reef ecology. Birding highlights included being many, many miles off shore and having small warblers, hummingbirds and peregrine falcons come over the boat on their migration to tropical Latin America. It was also great to have so much intimate time with boobies and terns. I continue to write a blog on my experiences with the sharks of the island.

I moved to Tirol in late 2007 and am loving the discovery of an entirely novel avifauna (well, at least for me). I blog about my experiences here, and if you would like to go out with me and find birds, feel free to contact me through my blog.


Below is a little RSS feed to my alpine birds blog with some recent posts (no photos though):

please feel free to contact me through my blog, or to post comments, ideas and thoughts on the blog. If you live in or have spent time in the Alps and would like to contribute something, then by all means, send me an email

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