Saturday, March 16, 2024

10,000 Bird Species Seen …. and Counting!

Retired American diplomate - Mr. Peter G. Kaestner has recently been recognized as the first birder in the world to have seen 10,000 bird species. He achieved that recognition on 9th February, 2024 when he sighted the Orange-tufted Spiderhunter in Eastern Mindanao, the Philippines. This is an unbelievable 90% of all birds recorded in the worldthe latest version (14.1) of the IOC World Bird List lists a total of 11,194 species.

Orange-tufted Spiderhunter - Peter's milestone bird

I sent him the following mail – by way of CONGRATULATIONS:

Hi Peter,
I just read the news that you have become the first person in the world to see 10,000 bird species. I write to offer you my congratulations - This is certainly a rare achievement.

So, your bird count now stands at 10,002 as of today?

Bye and take care .... here is wishing that you will record some more birds .... although I know that your quest will get harder as you climb higher.

Bye and take care


Incredibly, he appears to have further improved his record, since!! In reply to my above congratulatory mail, his reply yesterday (15 March 2024, 11:41) informs me as follows:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful note. My number today is 10,011. And yes, it is getting harder as I see more birds.

What an achievement - this is close to one new bird every two days of his waking life!

I take pride in the fact that Bhutan, and I, have contributed in a small way towards Peter’s phenomenal record. During an official visit to Bhutan in October of 2009 (Peter was than the Deputy Ambassador of the USA in India), the Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Thimphu, requested me to help him sight two of his life birds – the world’s rarest heron: White-bellied Heron and the illusive Fulvous Parrotbill.

The Man and his two lifebirds recorded in Lekithang, Punakha and Dochu-La, Thimphu

In less than two days of his arrival in Bhutan, I guided him to sight both his lifebirds (some birders take a lifetime to sight their life birds - that is why they are called lifebirds - because sighting them is their life's quest). Please read all about it at:

It may not be fair to say that Peter is a lucky fellow to have been able to achieve this level of success …. Saying so would be to undermine his life-long passion, hard work and determination. Then again, an achievement at this level can only be attributed to luck ….. I mean it is an almost impossible achievement! But the fact remains that he did achieve it!

So then, is he a super being? May be not – but certainly he can qualify as super normal!

1 comment:

  1. what an incredible feat! thanks for sharing sir