Patagonia Picnic Table Effect

Part of Birding Lore

There is a concrete picnic table at a rest stop on State Route 82 just outside of Patagonia, Arizona.  Rumor has it some birders stopped by there about 50 years ago and spotted a rare bird and told their friends.  They stopped at the picnic table and spotted some more rare birds.  They told their friends, who spotted more birds … a 2011 bulletin from the National Wildlife Refuge Association summed it up: “One good bird attracts birders, who often discover yet another good bird, which brings more birders, ad infinitum.”

A recent analysis of rare bird sightings compiled by a researcher at Oregon State University busts this  myth, finding that sighting a rare bird in a new area does not lead to more rare bird sightings by all the birders that flock there.  Nonetheless, it’s now a part of birding lore – and a fun one, at that!

Stay safe.  Go Birding.  Take Pics.  Share here.  Repeat.


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