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Newbie Questions (1 Viewer)

Milkquasy

Active member
United States
Most of these are probably answered with opinions, and that's okay, just wanting to get some ideas of how to do this birding thing 'right'.

1. When creating a life list, do you add birds you know you have seen in the past, or do you start with an clean slate and only claim those since starting?
2. Do you claim birds seen in captivity, but mark them as such? (penguin, at this zoo, on this day...)
3. How sure are you before you claim a bird for your life list? As a newbie I am so worried that I will claim a bird by accident that I have not actually touched my bird list book, just making notes of birds, even when I am 99.9999% sure it is the species. Am I being too worried? Am I too uptight?

Thanks!
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Hi there and a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)
We're glad you found us and thanks for taking a moment to say hello. Please join in wherever you like ;)
1. Yes I would. Like a Robin ;)
2. No I don't, but that's just my thought.
3. That's why our Bird I D section is good for getting confirmation as long as you can get a pic of it ;)

Have fun
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
Hi again

Generally, the answer is, it's your list and you can put on it what you like. This is fine, unless you're getting competitive with other people, then you need to set some rules.

1: If you know you've seen them and want them on your list, by all means.
2: Mostly, people only record birds that have been seen in the wild
3: Yes, I'm sure before I add. If someone tells me what it is, I always try to work out the relevant ID features for myself. But as KC has said... the ID forum here is excellent. A picture is often best but a good description and they'll still work hard to narrow down the possibilites for you.
 

Gronk08

Well-known member
1 = Yeah no problem adding birds you have already seen as long as you are certain about the identity such as Puffin etc why chase after it if you have already seen it, but to be honest unless you have spent times at reserves before you became a birder you will get them anyway.
2 = Don't ever tick captive birds, but I have heard some do a TV list of what they can identify off non wild life shows just for fun.
3 = Unless I am sure it does not get added I do not even add heard only birds which makes Quail tricky heard them twice this year. But that's a personnel decision, in the end of the day have fun and enjoy the birds.
All the best
Tim
 

Julie50

Mostly in the Midlands :)
Supporter
United Kingdom
Hi,

I started birding about 4years ago. So am quite new still.
1. I started from scratch with my life list - but looks like most would not!
2. Agree never add captive birds.
3. I did not feel confident with many birds at the start, but the members of this forum were, and indeed still are, very forgiving with IDs. I also did not count birds heard - still not confident enough with a new bird!

Good luck and I hope you find it as enjoyable a hobby as I do :)
 

Sangahyando

Well-known member
Most of these are probably answered with opinions, and that's okay, just wanting to get some ideas of how to do this birding thing 'right'.

1. When creating a life list, do you add birds you know you have seen in the past, or do you start with an clean slate and only claim those since starting?
2. Do you claim birds seen in captivity, but mark them as such? (penguin, at this zoo, on this day...)
3. How sure are you before you claim a bird for your life list? As a newbie I am so worried that I will claim a bird by accident that I have not actually touched my bird list book, just making notes of birds, even when I am 99.9999% sure it is the species. Am I being too worried? Am I too uptight?

Thanks!
Regarding 2), I would recommend keeping a separate "zoo list" for species seen in captivity, if you're interested in listing them (personally I don't keep a list of those, but understand it if other people do). Oftentimes, birders will refine their methods as they become more experienced, and change their own standards regarding lists (particularly if they start out at a young age), which is why it's a good idea IMO to establish a suitable "standard of proof" and keep captive birds or those of doubtful origin separate from your list of genuinely wild birds. Otherwise you might end up with confusing data at a later point in life.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
United States
Most of these are probably answered with opinions, and that's okay, just wanting to get some ideas of how to do this birding thing 'right'.

1. When creating a life list, do you add birds you know you have seen in the past, or do you start with an clean slate and only claim those since starting?
2. Do you claim birds seen in captivity, but mark them as such? (penguin, at this zoo, on this day...)
3. How sure are you before you claim a bird for your life list? As a newbie I am so worried that I will claim a bird by accident that I have not actually touched my bird list book, just making notes of birds, even when I am 99.9999% sure it is the species. Am I being too worried? Am I too uptight?

Thanks!
Already late to this input, but just as a standard I do the following:

1. If I saw it, I'm 100% sure I saw it, I include it, so even though I started birding in the US, I still have 8 species that I saw in the wild while in Cuba that I haven't seen elsewhere and I count these species.

2. If it's not wild, I don't count it, zoo specimens and escaped birds don't count in my eyes, but established exotics do. Example, in Miami, birds like Red-whiskered Bulbul and Mitred Parakeet have bred and flourish in parts of the city for years if not decades now, so those are countable; however, I would never count that Eastern Rosella I found on the wires in one of the quiet neighborhoods I drove by. Extra note, wild birds that come to feeders do count, just because they added these feeders to their route does not mean they are not still surviving without human assistance for the most part.

3. I always try to be 100% sure of my life ID, I take a picture if possible, but if that's missing, I try to remember all of the field markings so when I have better time and a clear head, I can ID the bird or ask for input. My lifer Cerulean Warbler was like that thanks to me taking notes and asking around instead of just writing it off as a Northern Parula seen in bad lighting (hard to believe but it happens to many of us). Also, some people count heard only species, which is fine, personally I don't since I like to do birdwatching and I suck at birding by ear, but after you see the bird, if you hear it later, it's fine to count it in my eyes since you have already seen the bird.

Probably being a bit restrictive here, but that's how I've birded for years now and it has led me to find over 550 species around my home state and some parts of the world.

So welcome to the world of birding and hope you can hit your first big milestone soon enough!
 

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