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Listing

Many (but by no means all) birders are inveterate list keepers. Some settle for a world life list… a list of all the species of birds they have seen at home and abroad, others will also keep a list of their home country (see the UK 400 club website) and separate lists for each country they have visited. Still others will keep a list of every state or county and one just for their patch. Others keep year lists; a list of all the species seen in any one year -–usually in the home country.

Some indulge their need for lists in almost bizarre ways keeping lists of birds seen in non-birding TV programmes; birds seen from toilet windows or even birds seen whilst caught short! (see discussions on UK Birdnet).

Perhaps it is all about competing with other birders – wanting to be champion birder of the world or your own backyard. Maybe, and I think this is more likely the case, it is a form of collecting. From my point of view it is far better to collect records of sightings than follow the collectors of the Victorian era by collecting specimens of the birds themselves or, and some evil morons still do this, collecting their unborn young!

For some this is not sufficient record and they must take photographs of every species they see… I am glad someone does as it adds to my enjoyment greatly to see portraits of my favourite birds (well any birds really). It is still only done by a minority of birders… something non-birders find hard to believe. I have lost count of the number of times when I have revealed my obsession to a non-birder that I have been asked if I take pictures of them. It seems that people who don't bird-watch assume that their must be some sort of end product or the pursuit cannot be rationally explained. I usually counter by asking them if they take pictures of whatever pastime they indulge in… such as do you take pictures of the little ball falling down the hole after you have hit it with that stick when talking to golfers.

In the UK 400 species seen is regarded as the goal [the Fat Birder is stuck at 375) and less than this figure means you will not even make the league tables. In most English counties a target of 250 is set for the ambitious (Fatbirder's Home County (Kent) list is 301]. We would love to hear from other countries what the target is.

I do not know what the target is for a world list. I believe that there are around 10,000 species and that at least one birder (from the US) notched up 8500+ ticks.

Phoebe Snetsinger had seen 85% of the world's birds. Most list recognise 9800-9950 species these days. Phoebe had a working list of about 10270. It didn't matter whether she worked on this list, Clements 9800 or the 1976 Gruson list of 8600, the percentage still came out as 85%. It was of course an incredible acheivement and one, which looked unlikely to be exceeded as she continues to collect ticks post mortem as various sub-species are elevated. However, at September 2016 at least ten people have passed that total with Jon Hornbuckle way ahead on an incredible 9,414 species seen from the Clements list! Unsurprisingly a number of the world listers in the top twenty are full time bird tour guides.

Surfbirds have put up a league table of the top World listers that anyone can add oneself to and wikipedia's list is HERE. For anyone new to our pastime (obsession) please bear in mind that a long list of species seen is only one motivation for taking up birding, and this is only the case for some birders. Many leading ornithologists do not keep lists of any sort!

Dutch Listers …feedback from Pim A. Wolf (P.Wolf@rikz.rws.minvenw.nl) submitted on Friday, February 4, 2000

Holland has it's listers too, birders lists with less than 350 species in NL are seen as unremarkable despite the small size of the country and shorter national list than the UK. The ranking is sorted out by Leo Heemskerk and regularly updated on the Dutch Birding Association Website. Some more statistics, highest scoring woman is Anja Nusse at 417 (45 in the total ranking). There are 104 Dutch Birders with over 400 species in the Netherlands. Remember the Netherlands are roughly the size of southeast England. This is almost as large as the chunk from Norwich via Northampton through Reading south to Portsmouth. The only serious competition for the British are the French but I have no idea what number their top listers are at. - Pim Wolf (no 109 at a rather low 398 in 23 years of birding). Our top listers at the time of writing were:

1: Klaas Eigenhuis 436; 2: Gerard Steinhaus 435; 3: Aart Vink 434; 4: Hans ter Haar 433; Jan van der Laan 433; Alexander Buhr 433; 7: Cock Reijnders 432; *: Wim Wiegant 431; 9: Enno Ebels 430; 10: Edward van IJzendoorn 429

Useful Reading

Birding on Borrowed Time

by Phoebe Snetsinger, American Birding Association (ABA), 2003 $19.95, paperback, 305 pages (including 45 illustrations by H.Douglas Pratt and a map of the author?s travel destinations Both a lively chronicle of birding adventures and a profoundly moving human document, Birding on Borrowed Time is the memoir of a truly extraordinary woman.

ISBN: 1878788418

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Birds New to Britain 1980-2004

A quarter century of firsts by Adrian Pitches & Tim Cleeves T&AD Poyser August 2005 ?35
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 0713670223

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Chasing Birds Across Texas

A Birding Big Year Mark T Adams 254 pages, 15 Col photos, line drawings & Maps. Texas A & M University Press 2003

ISBN: 158544295X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Kingbird Highway

by Kenn Kaufman - Paperback, 336 pages - Houghton Mifflin 2000

ISBN: 0618062351

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Big Twitch

by Sean Dooley, Allen & Unwin [Australia] 2005
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 1741145287

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Big Year

by Mark Obmascik Hardcover 288 pages Doubleday 2004

ISBN: 0385605323

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Biggest Twitch: Around the World in 4,000 Birds

By Alan Davies and Ruth Miller | 301 pages, 32 pages colour photography | Christopher Helm | Softcover | 2010
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781408123874

Buy this book from NHBS.com

The Jewel Hunter

By Chris Gooddie | 424 pages | 136 photos & 20 maps | Wild Guides Softcover | 2010
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 9781903657164

Buy this book from NHBS.com

To See Every Bird on Earth

by Dan Koeppel Penguin 2005
See Fatbirder Review

ISBN: 071814760X

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Kent Big Year 1999

PDF Article

Dylan Wrathall's big year in Kent, UK 1999... After my efforts of 1998, when I achieved a year total of 247 in Kent, it was my intention to take it easy. Get back to the Ash Levels and normality. However, a phone call from Jerry Warne on 10th January, and what followed, set in motion a chain of events which were to become as manic as any I have experienced. The subject of the call was the news of a Ring-necked Duck at Seaton Gravel Pits. I was in bed at the time, having finished a twelve-hour night shift, but Seaton is just down the road from me and the duck was a Kent tick so the decision to go was an easy one. A veritable who’s who of Kent Listing was already assembled at the site when I arrived...

Other Links

Bird A Day

Website

Bird A Day offers a personal challenge that will cause you to see and enjoy more birds this year than you might if you don't participate. The challenge is to see how many days in a row you can see/hear a different species to add to your personal list. This website helps you track your effort and allows you to share how you are doing with others as they do the same...

Bird@x

Website

Bird@x is a website specifically designed for UK Bird Watchers. It enables you to record and share your sightings of UK bird species. Bird@x automatically tracks your Life and Year Lists as you record each new sighting…

Birdfolio

Website

Birdfolio was born out of a simple need for list keeping. Birdwatchers with good memories may not require such a tool but obsessive twitcher types (like us) with less skill at managing life lists may find it useful…

BIRDLIST.ORG

Website

Checklists of birds…

British Birds Rarities Committee

Website

The BBRC is the official adjudicator of rare bird records in Britain. It publishes its annual report in the monthly journal British Birds.…

Bubo Listing

Website

BUBO Listing is a new approach to an old activity; comparing birding lists. Whilst frowned upon by the more serious-minded, bird listing in Britain is as vibrant, active and exciting as ever. Put two birders in a room together and before too long they'll know if the other saw the Long-billed Murrelet! There have been a number of attempts to enable comparison of lists on the internet, some local and others at the national level or wider. Whilst all have positive sides, they all have disadvantages too. BUBO Listing is an attempt to provide a free, flexible and widely used site for the comparison of birding lists, initially in Britain but later abroad too. The more people that use BUBO Listing, the better it will become for all users…

Changes to the ABAs Recording Rules

Webpage

A few days ago the ABA quietly announced updates from its revived Recording Standards & Ethics Committee to the ABA Recording Rules - the guidelines for when a birder can and can't "count" a bird on his or her lists. The updates are the first since 2004, and several important changes were made along with many minor ones....

Checklists

Website

Country, region, state and county printable lsist…

Club 4500

Website

World Class Twitchers (website in Dutch)

eBird

Website

eBird, a project developed by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society, provides a simple way for you to keep track of the birds you see anywhere in North America. You can retrieve information on your bird observations, from your backyard to your neighborhood to your favorite bird-watching locations, at any time for your personal use. You can also access the entire historical database to find out what other eBirders are reporting from across North America. In addition, the cumulative eBird database is used by birdwatchers, scientists, and conservationists who want to know more about the distributions and movement patterns of birds across the continent…

EcoRegistros - Community Ecological Records

Website

Community wildlife watchers, reports, species sheets and maps…..

iGoTerra

Website

iGoTerra is simply the most powerful tool in the world to manage all the lists you want to keep track of: Birds, mammals, plants, butterflies; we have them all and you can keep lists for each and every country, state and even your backyard!

List Reports

Website

This is the ABA official lists - list world birders as well as by all regions and US etc… here is where you can see how your rivals are faring…

Patchwork Challenge

Website

The Hub of the Patchwork Challenge Competition - British & Irish Patch birding competition….

Planet of Birds

Website

This resource is growing all the time, to become the definitive source for birders. We are a couple of birders from the Netherlands trying to do the one thing that has never been done before. Bring all birds together. Our major resource for knowledge is the Web and many books on birds, including HBW…

Printable Bird Checklists

Website

A very useful service this with a growing number of printable checklists for many countries around the world. The only free and easily accessible site for checklists that I know of.

Spotter Jotter

Website

spotterjotter.co.uk is the only site you need to record, search for, and upload pictures of your UK wildlife sightings. If you are visiting a Wildlife Trust, RSPB, or any other natural location, then you can use Spotterjotter to record your sightings and search for everything that has been seen there already.

The Birdist

Website

A website about birding...

The Life List

Website

Most serious birders compile a Life List. It's a list of all the bird species they've identified with absolute certainty during their whole lifetime of serious birding. Being "serious" implies knowing about look-alike species and subspecies, the various plumage states, and having a systematic-enough mind to not be sloppy and haphazard when it comes to making the lists…

UK 400 Club Rare Bird Alert

Website

This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert highlighting all records of avian interest and published in association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers and utilising additional information gleaned from the Regional Birdlines, BirdGuides, local email groups and individual observers…

UK 400 Club Rare Bird Alert

Website

This is the UK400 Club Rare Bird Alert highlighting all records of avian interest and published in association with Rare Bird Alert Pagers and utilising additional information gleaned from the Regional Birdlines, BirdGuides, local email groups and individual observers…

WebBirder

Website

WebBirder is the ONLY system endorsed by Fatbirder. Here at Fatbirder we have been pretty resistant to listing programmes because they just haven’t met birders needs. We wanted flexibility, transferability and ease of use free from platform restrictions. Now we have it, we want to share...

Western Palearctic Birds

Website

This website gives you all the pdf information about the occurrence of Western Palearctic birds…

World Bird Calculator

Website

A time-saving birding accessory that calculates your state, country, world totals, and wish lists for future birding trips with every tick… Subscription site - $9.99 to sign up for a year.

Year and Life List Rankings

Website

Welcome to a new and fun program on Surfbirds. Enter yourself into any or all of the Year and Life List Rankings below and share your milestones with others and maybe even enjoy some friendly competition. As we add more and more regions, this will become the largest database of its kind and a great way to share your milestones with the rest of the birding world. Even if you`re a casual birder who isn`t that list obsessive, this is still a great way to share, with others, some of the more exciting new birds you`ve just seen. If you`re a keen lister, get the worldwide recognition you deserve for your achievements. It only takes a minute, updating is instant, so enter yourself today and keep updating your entry as often as you want!

Zest for Birds

Website

Twitching is increasing in popularity in Southern Africa and there is now a dedicated group of people who try to see as many birds as they can within the sub-region. It is not uncommon these days to hear of a group that travel from one end of the country to the other to chase after a rare bird and with the advent of cell phones and the SA Rare Bird Alert list server, this is becoming reasonably commonplace. Southern Africa currently has a list of just over 930 species recorded within its boundaries and the group of people listed below have all seen at least 700 of these.