Leica Birders Without Borders

Logo_COTF_300pxwideA Birdrace is an ideal way of linking our passion, birding, with the conservation of nature. In the Leica Birders without Borders team, four renowned figures from the Swiss birding and ornithology scene have joined to help saving African vultures. When we first travelled to the Indian Subcontinent about 20 years ago, vultures were already rare then, but still rather ubiquitous. The last time we went there, we hardly saw any. We sincerely do not want such a decline in vulture populations to happen in Africa as well, and taking part in the COTF 2019 is one of our humble contributions to prevent this.

In various team combinations, we have won the majority of the 28 past Swiss Birdraces organized by BirdLife Switzerland and hold the record of 141 species in 24 hours (note that Switzerland is a landlocked country and no cars were allowed, i.e. only feet, bikes or public transport). So, we are very curious to find out on how we will perform in an international context away from home and hope to raise a lot of money.

Meet the Team:

Daniel Gebauer

Daniel is a very passionate birder who started birdwatching at an age of 12. He is the proud father of two nearly fledged daughters and works as principal and teacher at primary and secondary level. When not in the office, he´s looking for rare birds at his local patch or helps to maintain some of the local nature reserves. He is fascinated by bird migration and with his fine vision, he is particularly good in spotting migrating raptors. He visited Israel twice in the nineties and is looking forward to returning to this country. Sharp-eyed like an eagle, supports us by finding migrating raptors.

Adrian Jordi

Four decades, Adrian is one of the keenest birders and rarity hunters in Switzerland and has already passed his passion to one of his two sons. He is the founder of www.chclub300.ch, the Swiss birding platform, and the Swiss Bird Alert, an app-based fast rare bird news service. Adrian has travelled widely in Europe, Asia and Africa, but always likes to return to the Middle East and particularly to Israel, where he has birded for more than two months altogether. Beside his main job as a teacher, he is leading birdwatching tours for the Swiss company “Liberty Bird” for more than twenty years. Clever and talented in strategy, supports us by taking the right decisions.

Manuel Schweizer

Manuel is a very keen birder from early childhood and particularly likes to look for rarities at his local patch at Lake Neuchatel, nowadays often accompanied by his little daughter who has “seen” some major rarities before reaching the age of two. As the only non-teacher of the team, he is curator of ornithology at the Natural History Museum of Bern and the President of the Swiss association for ornithology and the protection of birds. He has travelled widely in Asia and is co-author of a field guide to the birds of Central Asia. He particularly likes to watch birds in open habitats and will definitely feel at ease in the Israeli steppes and deserts. He was involved in the resolution of a taxonomic conundrum leading to the naming of the well-known Desert Tawny Owl after the prominent Israeli birder and ornithologist, Hadoram Shirihai. Smart as an encyclopedia, supports us in bird identification.

Paul Walser Schwyzer

As a birder, Paul is rather a late bloomer, but all the more passionate nowadays. He has lived with his family in Thailand for four years, and during this time, he has become an expert in rainforest birding. However, his widely appreciated ability to find rare birds (and mammals) is independent of the habitat. Though originally an agronomist, he now works as high-school biology teacher and regularly guides birdwatching tours for the Swiss company “Liberty Bird” with Borneo and, of course, Thailand as his favourite destinations. Strong as a bear, supports us with his endless endurance and confidence.