Patagonia picnic table effect

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Patagonia picnic table effect (also known as the Patagonia rest area effect or Patagonia rest stop effect) is a phenomenon associated with birding in which an influx of birdwatchers following the discovery of a rare bird at a location results in the discovery of further rare birds at that location, and so on, with the end result being that the locality becomes well known for rare birds, even though in itself it may be little or no better than other similar localities.[1] This is due to an increase in attendance leading to increased potential for rare birds to be viewed there.[2]

The name arises from the Patagonia Rest Stop in Arizona, where the phenomenon was first noted.[3] As of June, 2020, more than 220 species have been recorded there.[4]

Research from Oregon State University suggests that the phenomenon may be a myth; no significant difference was found between a period surrounding rare-bird events at a site and a baseline in the findings of rare birds. As well, it suggests that much of the draw is due to increased use of online sources such as eBird.[5]


  1. ^ Kaufman, Kenn (2006-04-11). Kingbird Highway: The Biggest Year in the Life of an Extreme Birder. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 196–197. ISBN 9780618709403. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  2. ^ Wilson, Herb. "The Patagonia Picnic Table Effect – Maine Birds". Retrieved 2021-05-10.
  3. ^ Burns, Jim (9 May 2008). "Patagonia is perfect place for birding". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  4. ^ "Patagonia Roadside Rest Area". eBird. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  5. ^ Laney, Jesse A.; Hallman, Tyler A.; Curtis, Jenna R.; Robinson, W. Douglas (2021-01-21). "The influence of rare birds on observer effort and subsequent rarity discovery in the American birdwatching community". PeerJ. 9: e10713. doi:10.7717/peerj.10713. ISSN 2167-8359. PMC 7827972. PMID 33552730.