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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Birding Goals (1 Viewer)

kb57

Well-known member
Europe
My first goal is just to get out birding more often than I do at present, even if it is just in my local area. I couldn't tell you without interrogating Scythebill how many species were on my UK list, and my world list suffered from being cobbled together from random notes made in my non-birding years travelling in India and places - its around 850, and a relatively modest target of exceeding 1000 would be good. I do like keeping a year list as a sort of surrogate index of birding activity though.

In terms of longer-term goals, I think in terms of birding experiences and 'special' species, and have been lucky enough to tick off a few in recent years. I fear I won't have either the time left in my life or the money to pay for all my 'bucket list' goals, but hopefully post-Covid I can have a go at fulfilling some of them.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
It's all good, after all, this is the special moments where you question why is speciation de way it is for some very similar species that look similar, live in similar places, but just sound different! I love birding, but these little details make me question how much patience we have for the groups that have so many species that it just feels like ornithologists just want to name a species (which is kind of the issue happening in paleontology with dinosaurs).
Well, species in ornithology are usually defined by the ability to interbreed. As far as I know there is no evidence of these two forms interbreeding, and the differences in call in night birds is genetic, and plays a major role in species distinguishing one another. Just because we think they seem the same, doesn't mean the birds themselves would agree.

As a paleontologist, while there is debate over how much material is needed to describe a new species and how different they are, it can't really be appreciated enough the millions of vertebrate species that had to have existed over the course of evolutionary history. That we are describing new critters more regularly says more about increased effort than taxonomic bias. I've helped describe several new fossil taxa, and I could pop into any museum with a decent fossil marine mammal collection and easily find several new undescribed, and perhaps significant, new species. Hell, I am working with collaborators right now on two separate papers describing two new species of walrus. There is a huge backlog of undescribed material, some of it sitting on museum shelves for decades, still to work on.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
On a budget: Thailand, India, Malaysia. If you have more money: whole Europe, Morocco, South Africa, USA, Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand. Of course, every one of these has some regions difficult or impossible or dangerous to visit, but you can do a good circuit on your own.



I agree that having logistic taken out of you is good. My preference is with local company in the country I visit. However, it can be very tricky with an organized tour from Europe or the USA. They are necessary in places challenging logistically, like Antarctica. But elsewhere, shyer birds are becoming difficult or challenging, because normally these tours are 5-8 persons. If these is only two or three of you, it is often rather straightforward to see some skulking birds. You simply make less noise. And participants can be also a challenge - especially ones not fit and not really friendly. And it is not that a guide will conjure you every species possible. If a bird is not there, you will not see one. And of course, a group is inflexible. On your own you can detour to some non-bird attraction or stay longer for a special bird.
Yep...all valid points. Whether you want to bird alone or with close friends, get a guide, or join a tour is very much a matter of personal preference, and these are all points to consider. I will say one other factor for me is I have poor hearing, and in the tropics earbirding is so important. Definitely being around someone good with calls was a huge boon for me in Panama.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
Winter is rare for vagrants, but anything is possible, last year we had an overwintering Cuban Pewee and Black-faced Grassquit in the same place in the Keys.

White-crowned Pigeon is easy if you drive in the afternoon around some streets in Miami or take an early morning drive through the Everglades National Park (I had over a dozen of them by the road last year for the CBC). It seems like the harder ones left would be Munia and Bulbul (which tend to have a park they prefer, though less stable for Bulbuls these days), Common Hill Myna (which we only have 2-4 birds left and they mostly disappear after breeding season) and the other parrots and macaws (thankfully most of those along with the Mynas can be seen around Matheson Hammock Park and surrounding Coral Gables area).
Last winter was especially good in Florida for rare birds, as I recall a Red-legged Thrush was also a short distance away overwintering. La Sagra's Flycatcher seem to sometimes overwinter, although I don't recall a reliable bird last winter.

Thankfully I have the Munia from San Diego (Munias are doing very well in Socal), and the trip I am taking in California targets Bulbul, which is much easier there.
 

pbjosh

missing the neotropics
Switzerland
Getting back to the original question - I don't have a number goal or a families goal or a rarest birds goal or anything like that. But I'm somehow a really driven birder. For me the challenge of learning new birds and new birdsong, of really understanding ecosystems is mega. Then also I love adventurous trips and hard to access birds and sorting my own logistics and things like that. So in the end I end up traveling to cool places, looking for rare birds, and also spending large amounts of time in places whenever possible to really learn the birds and ecosystems. I just find it all fascinating and feel fortunate to be able to revel in a really cool world :)
 

qwerty5

Well-known member
United States
I miss those days, when a casual local birding trip held the promise of lifers. I'm down to hoping for vagrants and monitoring ebird and hoping for a Buff-breasted Sandpiper to pop up...they pass through every fall but don't tend to linger
Yep, I figure I still have around 100 species reasonably possible in my home area. I have 90 songbirds on my life list, and I can reasonably expect 30 more in my area. I have seen very few water or shorebird species, so I am planning to get out and find some this fall. I've never birded at lakes or other water much, so I should be able to rack up several lifers pretty quick.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Well, species in ornithology are usually defined by the ability to interbreed. As far as I know there is no evidence of these two forms interbreeding, and the differences in call in night birds is genetic, and plays a major role in species distinguishing one another. Just because we think they seem the same, doesn't mean the birds themselves would agree.

As a paleontologist, while there is debate over how much material is needed to describe a new species and how different they are, it can't really be appreciated enough the millions of vertebrate species that had to have existed over the course of evolutionary history. That we are describing new critters more regularly says more about increased effort than taxonomic bias. I've helped describe several new fossil taxa, and I could pop into any museum with a decent fossil marine mammal collection and easily find several new undescribed, and perhaps significant, new species. Hell, I am working with collaborators right now on two separate papers describing two new species of walrus. There is a huge backlog of undescribed material, some of it sitting on museum shelves for decades, still to work on.
True, it would be an unfair assumption, though that line seems very odd when dealing with properly split species that have high levels of interbreeding like Blue-winged and Golden-winged Warbler in the Appalachians or Townsend's and Hermit Warbler in the Cascades.

The fact that there's so much material in museum shelves sometimes makes me wonder how many species were lost whenever a museum is destroyed beyond human control (like the fires in the Brazilian museums). The example I was thinking of was mostly from how certain dinosaur genera from the Hell Creek formation seem to have been the same species but at different ages (like Tyrannosaurus and "Nanotyrannus"), I'm sure there's still hundreds if not thousands of species that have miraculously been preserved waiting to be described, but sometimes, it feels like it might be best to wait a bit before naming a new species/genera.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Last winter was especially good in Florida for rare birds, as I recall a Red-legged Thrush was also a short distance away overwintering. La Sagra's Flycatcher seem to sometimes overwinter, although I don't recall a reliable bird last winter.

Thankfully I have the Munia from San Diego (Munias are doing very well in Socal), and the trip I am taking in California targets Bulbul, which is much easier there.
La Sagra's has partially become a guaranteed bird in one of our CBCs (whether its in the Everglades or Homestead region), problem is that they tend to be found by call and usually on private areas so access is closed to most. I think the only "gettable" La Sagra's last year was in the Keys at Tavernier Key.

The Thrush was definitely gettable when it showed, though the drive down to Key West takes a lot out of you, especially in a weekend with all of the bikers and fishermen. If nothing else, you can go for the Red Junglefowl that's apperantly ABA countable if you see it only in Key West; I've seen them before they were countable walking between my feet at a restaurant, definitely not a lifer I want to count that way...
 

foresttwitcher

Virtually unknown member
United Kingdom
Japan is an expensive place to be, everything is expensive so the tours will be too.
Apart from a couple of specific locations for specialities I did not find car hire, budget hotel rooms, ferries, trains or food too expensive (compared to UK or northern Europe - but not compared to Span) but I tend to try to go cheap where I can.
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
What's in Singapore Michael, it's tiny, nothing that you can't get elsewhere?
I would imagine it's a great spot for a long layover or a business trip, especially for someone who hasn't birded that part of the world. I would imagine most independent birding is associated with those reasons.
 

Lerxst

Well-known member
What's in Singapore Michael, it's tiny, nothing that you can't get elsewhere?
Ease of birding for a lone traveler, especially if first time in Asia. Plenty of green places, great transit system, taxi cabs are everywhere and they won't try to cheat you, everyone speaks English, zero crime, and a nice mix of three cuisines from China, India, and Malaysia.

It would be a great hub / home base for birding all of Asia as well. Either here, or Bangkok, or KL are perfect locations with tons of flights.

It has gotten a lot more expensive than it used to be, which is a shame. We lived there for three months in 2002 and loved it.
 
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Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
Ease of birding for a lone traveler, especially if first time in Asia. Plenty of green places, great transit system, taxi cabs are everywhere and they won't try to cheat you, everyone speaks English, zero crime, and a nice mix of three cuisines from China, India, and Malaysia.

It would be a great hub / home base for birding all of Asia as well. Either here, or Bangkok, or KL are perfect locations with tons of flights.

It has gotten a lot more expensive than it used to be, which is a shame. We lived there for three months in 2002 and loved it.
I've done the Botanical Gardens a couple of times, Sime Forest and Pulau Ubin where the day was ruined by a cycle ralley event, complete with marshalls and megaphones. The only highlight was falling down a storm drain as I looked skyward at a Goffins Cockatoo in the Bot Gdns!
 
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sicklebill

well-known Cretaceous relic
Australia
My goals these days are to get 6000 species, or likely half of the eventual total bird species once all the splits are done
I'd also like to see all the Old World families, still missing Ibisbill and Przewalski's Rosefinch.
Long aimed for 2000 species in Africa, which I have now got if i include the Mascarenes, be nice to do it on the mainland and nearby islands alone. Cameroon and Angola would help a lot
See all the Australian breeding species, been going backwards due to quail-thrush splits (Western, Copper-backed and Nullarbor) and of course Night Parrot and Western Ground Parrot are very tough, and i am still after Princess Parrot, Naretha Parrot (and Coxen's Fig-Parrot if you split that one). A trip to South Australia beckons at some point, but with all the lockdowns who knows when.....
Most wanted bird now- Hawk Owl
 

dandsblair

David and Sarah
Supporter
Our goals were 5000 birds but now targeting 6000 and 100 countries (on 94 and if lockdown ends might make the 6 needed before year end) trip from Romania, Serbia and on to Hungary (Oct) and a quick Caribbean jaunt in December.
Also loads of mammals still as targets.
Specific bird targets - bogey bird I must have missed 12 times now is Egyptian Plover ( floods, low water, roads closed, birds scared off etc i don't know anyone who missed this on multiple Gambia, Ghana and Ethiopia trips) plus trip to Western Papua for Wilson's BoP and few more families we are missing.
 

Patudo

Well-known member
Reading this thread makes me recall the line from the Dire Straits song: "we have just one world, but we live in different ones..."

I'd like to see things like Eleonora's falcons and northern goshawks someday, both of which are not too far away (I don't have any great desire to travel beyond Europe just to go birding - Greta would be delighted, I'm sure); and I guess that, as most birders would probably agree, to see a gyrfalcon, the closest reliable destination to me probably being Iceland, would be fantastic. But my main goals are to see the birds I follow locally - peregrines, and hobbies when they're here - doing cool things. It's easy to see a peregrine in London; to see a hobby maybe a little more difficult depending where you are, but by no means impossible. But to see either of those species putting forth their powers of flight isn't always that easy. In the relatively short time I've been seriously birding, I've been lucky enough to have been rewarded by a few of those Rutger Hauer moments; I'm glad that I need neither to travel great distances, nor subject myself to any hardship beyond early morning starts in summer, to keep adding to my treasure trove of birding memories.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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