Thursday, December 6, 2012

Birders and their Lists

Most birders are listers. Some wanna-be-zen birders claim not to have a list, but I bet they secretly do...even if it's just a note in an old tattered field guide indicating that they've seen that species. Bird photographers unwittingly have a list simply because they try to organize their images on their computer. Listing is an almost essential part of the enjoyment of birding. We should all just admit it and embrace it. Perhaps the penchant for keeping lists is what separates birders from the common folks who just like birds.

Anyway, I figured I'd make a list of lists for birders.

Common Lists

Life List
Yard List
Feeder List
Patch List
County List
State/Province List
Country List
Regional List
Continent List
Hemisphere List
Lower 48 States List
Pelagic List
ABA Area Life List
AOU Area Life List
World Life List
Trip Lists
Project FeederWatch List
Great Backyard Bird Count List
Christmas Bird Count List
Big Day List
Big Week List
Big Month List
Big Year List
Heard-only List
Photographed Life List
eBird Life List
Better-View-Desired (BVD) List

Less Frequent Lists (I'm not making these up. I've actually heard of people that have them.)

Birds I've seen/heard in parking lots List
Birds I've seen while birding with (spouse, child, friend, etc) List
Birds I've seen/heard while in prison List
Birds I've seen at the dump (landfill) List
Birds I've tatooed on my body List
Nemesis/Jinx Bird List
Birds I've Dipped on List
Birds I hope/expect to see when I travel to (     ) List
Birds mentioned in music List
Birds seen/heard in movies List
Birds seen/heard on television List
Birds I've seen/heard in a dream List
Birds that flew over my yard, but did not land List
Birds I've seen pooh List
Birds I've seen/heard while I was going potty in the woods List
Birds I've heard while sitting on the throne List
Birds I've seen copulating List
Birds I've seen/heard while I was copulating List

So what are your personal birding lists that you keep? Have you heard of any other weird lists that "other" birders keep? This is a safe place, so feel free to open up about any of those quirky birding lists you keep. I'll start: I've added six life birds to my list while peeing in the woods. Your turn!


  1. Birds I've seen when not looking for birds list.
    Birds I hit with my car list.
    Birds I have seen while tossing a tennis ball for serve list.
    Double faults I have had because birds interrupted my toss list.
    List of number of people who ask: "What are you looking for?" at the Hawkwatch.
    List of answers to aforementioned question such as: "The Irani Air Force."

    1. Good stuff Bill!

      Jeff Gordon's reply to an anti-lister on the ABA FB page just reminded me that there are Lists of birds seen while doing "green" Big years and such!

  2. I've considered starting a beer list (e.g. from outdoor bars or bars with scenic windows), a cumulative yard list (from any place I've ever lived in), and a dream list - of birds I've seen and identified in dreams, whether real or not. I'll probably be the only one with Red-rumped Storm-Petrel on any list!

    1. All great lists Ryan! You're a birding academic and a blasphemous lister. Cool!

  3. I've heard of a Texas birder who keeps a birds seen on a wire list. He's got some interesting birds on it too!

    1. Ah, yes. I've heard of that one two. Thanks for reminding me Laurie.

  4. I have a birds I've seen in Ornithology list (117, record) and a list of birds I've seen with/because of my boyfriend. We just added a pink-footed goose to that list!

    1. Congrats on the Pink-footed Goose! Happy listing to you and your boyfriend.

  5. Poop list - birds that have pooped on me (cleaned up version of the real name of the list)
    Touch list - birds that have landed on me
    Rescued list - birds I have rescued
    Oiled list - birds I have been unable to rescue but have oiled feathers
    IHNIBCYHMID list - I have no idea but can you help me ID from this horrible picture list

  6. I just started a birds I have missed in the outhouse list. Cave Swallow, a great northern Illinois bird anytime of year, AND American Avocet, a very excellent mid state bird anytime of year, but exceptionally good in November. Nice start to that list, huh?

  7. "Bird's I've seen while I was copulating list"

  8. List of different kinds of birds my cat has killed list (very sad, we have her corralled with a bell collar now)

    1. A sad list indeed. I suppose I could compile of window strike list too for one home I lived in previously.

  9. Birds I've seen while running:) I was thinking of maybe keeping my first list of bird seen during a race, since my next 1/2 marathon is in Key West!

  10. How about birds I've seen in Google street view or satellite images? You're not going to find any LBJ's that way, but there are some images for Colorado where American White Pelicans stick out like a sore thumb.

  11. The one about going potty is really true. That's the single most dangerous thing you can do while birding with a group of birders -- leave the group and go potty. 1) It's dangerous because you can miss out on their birds, and 2) It's dangerous because they can miss out on your birds...

  12. I would add the "Birds I've Seen from Airplanes" list. I have an amazing 50+ on that list.

  13. Those are great fun lists, Robert.
    Other lists we have jokingly thought about keeping,
    Birds seen from a swimming pool, preferably a swimming pool with a swim up pool bar
    Birds seen/heard during a wedding
    Birds seen/heard and identified at 55 mph (preferably not by the driver)
    Birds in movies or TV with the wrong song attached to them by the editors. Inevitably, every bird has a Red-tailed Hawk call.
    Birds that would be a first sighting that are most likely to next show up at your patch, yard, state, etc. We do keep a wish list for
    what will show up next on our NH property. Our current property list is 199 species.