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Life List : which birds do you count? (1 Viewer)

I've recently started volunteering at an avian wildlife rescue, and have encountered several would-be 'lifers' among the wildlife patients there. However I'm torn as to whether or not to count them on my life list. They are wild birds, temporarily being held in captivity due to illness/injury with the mandate of being rehabilitated and released back into the wild. They are not domesticated, educational, falconry or zoo birds. But of course, I am not seeing them in their natural habitat.
Since this is my own private life list, which is personal and not (as far as I know anyway) beholden to the same rules as official lists, birding competitions, etc I feel like there isn't a "wrong answer" but I am curious what others do for their own lists.
SO: which birds count for your life list? Do you use strict ABA/IO C definitions, ie. only wild birds in a 'wild' setting? Any exceptions to the rule?
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I go by the wild birds in a wild setting rule, but extension I follow eBird standard, so while ABA doesn't count certain breeding parakeets and macaws in Florida, eBird does.

Finally, if the bird is a lifer, I need to see it, heard onlys don't count (have about 20 species I've only heard so far that I'd love to move to my life list in the future).

On a similar note, I know birders who volunteer in a banding station and they count those birds when they release them. So as long as you confirm the bird is back in the wild, it should be fine to count it if you want.
As you say, it's a personal choice and birders differ in what they will include. I've ticked several species for my local list that were mist-netted for ringing (banding), my stipulation being that I count them when they are released and fly off. I can understand birders who wouldn't tick such birds.

While I think rehab releases are clearly similar, I'm not sure how I would feel if it was a bird that had been in captivity for weeks before release. It would probably depend on how rare it was!
I wouldn't personally count rehabilitated birds, and I'd be a bit cautious with eBird, because it encourages you to record feral species on your lists (a good thing, since it allows their range expansion to be monitored) without making any judgement about whether their population is self-sustaining or not. In such circumstances, your eBird list might differ from your life list.
As a young birder some decades ago (!), neither I or my friends counted feral pigeons on our life or year lists, which makes no sense to me now as there are clearly self-sustaining populations of pigeons in most urban areas. I have no problem counting established exotic parakeets with self-sustaining populations, but worry more about game birds whose populations are supplemented by releases. I also feel like I'm cheating when I count feral geese like barnacle geese in England, even though they are established as a resident breeding population - I should be making the effort to see the much more spectacular flocks of migratory birds wintering in western Scotland.
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Hmmmm, so I guess I'll just have to volunteer to do more releases then? haha.

But for real, nothing compares to seeing a bird in its element in the wild. It's very rewarding to help a sick/injured bird and play a part in its recovery, but the best feeling is experiencing a wild, independent bird living its life freely. It feels like a gift from the universe to cross paths with a life bird in the wild, and as fleeting as those moments generally are they stay with you forever. That's what makes us birders ;)
I only record wild birds that I've seen (no heard-onlys). I wouldn't count rehab birds as eve if they were wild they are temporarily in captivity. I don't count escapees, but I do count established populations of introduced species, including ones that the ABA doesn't consider to be established but clearly are.
I keep more than one list. Each bird or tick is "graded" according to the circumstances. For example a rehabilitated bird would possibly get put down as a tick but only as a low grade tick, if you understand what I mean. Other similar negative issues around sightings also diminish the "grade" of the tick. Accordingly my list that includes 'low grade' ticks is 393, whereas my 'stringent' list is only 233. The rehabilitated bird obviously would not get into the 233 but might well make it to the 393 list. Other similar negative issues around a sighting might include :
  1. incomplete id characteristics seen or recorded;
  2. birds of possible ship - assisted migration,
  3. taxonomic splits that I am not comfortable with or which are not recognised by the most authoritative of bodies;
  4. feral birds of introduced or possible introduced ancestry/origin;
  5. birds in the hand or that have been in the hand in regard to ringing of birds:
  6. I even downgrade a bird I see in the wild if it has a ring on it; injured birds seen in the wild out of usual habitat;
  7. birds that seem 'too' tame, leading to suspicion of illness or injury
  8. free-flying birds the population of which is artificially maintained by humans eg some birds associated loosely with zoos.
  9. a bird seen on a photograph I took that I only notice it upon examining the photo
  10. some sightings that I had in the past that I didnt make notes about properly at the time or take a photo are now downgraded because of nagging doubts after all that time.
Best wishes
The only additions to my life list are wild birds in the wild that I see (no heard-onlys). I personally wouldn't count a bird being released from rehab or banding. Birds that were in rehab or captured for banding wouldn't have been there had humans not brought them there. To me, I wouldn't feel any sort of accomplishment ticking off a banded bird just after release. To me, it's no different than seeing birds at a zoo. But this is just my opinion and the way I do it. It's your list so you can do whatever you want.
I would count a rehabilitated bird that was released back into the wild, but definitely not while in actual rehab, as I don't see that as much different from counting a bird in an aviary in the zoo.
Another addition to my list of 10 above (just my idiosyncrasy) is that I don't allow a bird if it has been called in by tape. I don't mind a bird that has been seen on a feeder or attracted by food (just as long as it is a wild bird). But I don't allow birds of domesticated species eg mallards. And what about birds that for all we know might have been captive bred but are now roaming in the wild eg Pheasants. I dont have these in my stringent list either.
I do count heard onlys. I am disabled so can no longer race through the woods off trail trying to locate the sound. It frustrating knowing at one time I could locate and see the bird calling but now I just have to be content with a heard only. I do note which birds are heard only and possibly include a song confidence ID note. An example of a heard only ID going bad was a trip to Big Ben National Park, I was awoke at 2:00 am by a bird song. I rushed outside, grabbed my CD player and headphones and found the Buff-collared Nightjar was a perfect match- perfect, perfect. I was so excited. Later that morning I checked my field guide and the park checklist, no nightjar listed. Just not the right location by over 500 miles- wrong state even. Then it dawned on me it was very likely a mockingbird so I completely removed the nightjar off my list. If listing heard onlys always beware of a mockingbird calling in the might.
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