1,000 birds by the age of 19!
Julien Amsellem
Julien Amsellem
Julien Amsellem right after he recorded 1,000 birds on ebird

Imagine if you had started birdwatching when you were 6. Julien Amsellem is an enthusiastic 19-year-old New Yorker from Hastings-on-Hudson, who has been birding actually since he was 6 years old. The moment that defined that he wanted to be a birdwatcher was when an impressive Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), the largest extant woodpecker in North America and one of the largest in the world, landed outside his house, as he lived in a green area. The moment was so remarkable that after that, he started a birdwatching club that grew to 40 kids who joined him watching birds.

Ever since that event, Julien never stopped birding. His family has always supported his journey, and one of his parents always joins him on his birding trips, which are usually a combination of birding and other types of touristic activities. In this way, Julien has traveled within the U.S., to Mexico, Costa Rica, Grenada Island, Spain, France, and more recently, he visited Panama to observe some birds with his dad. He defined Panama as a fantastic small area where you can see so many different species, and in which with a hundred meters of difference in elevation you have a whole new assemblage of birds. He visited the Canopy Tower and Canopy Lodge, and the Canopy Camp will remain as a future destination, as one of his dreams is to watch the Harpy Eagle. At such a young age, Julien has photographed around 800 birds, and during his visit to Panama he achieved the milestone of observing 1,000 different species of birds, recording around 120 lifers in Panama. The 1,000 hero: a charming Whooping Motmot. Some birds were a little challenging to spot. For instance, the hawk-eagles, some ant-follower birds, and the White-tipped Sicklebill, which has been visiting the Canopy Lodge gardens and for which Julien waited long periods to spot but didn’t see, will remain for a future trip to Panama. However, Julien usually doesn’t travel with a bird list in mind, as he is willing to see whatever nature wants to show him along the way. During his stay in Panama, Julien spotted 393 birds in total! Julien, we were really happy to be part of the “1,000 birds on eBird” adventure, and we will be waiting for your return visit to Panama soon!


Julien Amsellem, his dad and Alexis Sánchez
Julien Amsellem, his dad, and our Canopy Family guide Alexis Sánchez