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Making a life list


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#1 dancingbear860

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:19 PM

So, Ive started birding about 6-7 months ago...Ive got a list from the ABA of all the birds out there..but what Im wondering is how people make up there life list...Ive been checking off as I go, but I feel like I dont have a list that narrowed down, but should I even be narrowing down? Is this all a dumb question? Ive got birds Id LOVE to see and check off, but I suppose i want to see all the birds on the ABA list, so wouldnt that just constitute a life list? Am I over thinking? :huh:

#2 cwj2323

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:01 PM

It sounds like that is life list enough. Do you happen to make note of the date you first see it? I don't have a copy of the ABA list, I think that would be overwhelming. I just type up new birds on a document I have on the computer. Every so often I print it out and place in the album of all birds I've gotten photos of.

About narrowing it down, I am not sure I understand, but along with our (It's a family thing) life list, we have a yard and now a 2012 list.

Life list (non ABA)- 233

Latest: Blackburnian Warbler
Coolest: Audubon's Warbler and the ABA will not take that away from me!  :)

2014 year list-180
Yard list- 128

Latest: Carolina Wren

Pizza list-  2

Latest: House Sparrow   :huh:


#3 NatureLady

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:36 PM

I have an ABA list that I mark off for this years birds; but me and my hubby are doing our own big year. We also have both life list and 2012 list on a document file in the computer. I think its best to have a copy on the computer just in case your ABA list gets ruined somehow.

I guess I'm not really understanding ur narrowing down part either. I guess when you mark off/see a bird I guess thats narrowing down.

Life List~444
Latest Lifer~Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bobolink, Groove-billed Ani, Cerelean Warbler, Ovenbird, Veery, Northern Bobwhite, Golden-winged Warbler
2012 Big Year List~351
2013 Year List~ 299
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#4 dancingbear860

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:43 PM

what I mean by narrowing down, there are 12 pages of birds on the ABA list..for a life list should I just pic birds in my region/or birds I just really want to see...I think im going to keep the aba, and put a spare list on the comp for back up!

#5 NatureLady

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:52 PM

Well I wouldn't rule out any birds you might go on vacation somewhere and see some birds that you may not see in your area or there might be a rare sighting somewhere near you. I would just start a list list on the computer and not worry about all those birds on the ABA list that you may not ever see. Like ABA code 4, 5, and 6 you probably won't see. Right now I've been birding for almost a year and I don't think we have anything over a 3. Hope that helps.

Life List~444
Latest Lifer~Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Bobolink, Groove-billed Ani, Cerelean Warbler, Ovenbird, Veery, Northern Bobwhite, Golden-winged Warbler
2012 Big Year List~351
2013 Year List~ 299
BirdingBlog | www.facebook.com/naturalbeautybyedens


#6 Limpkin

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:56 PM

I just use eBird to keep track of my sightings. Tedious at first, when you don't have data for everything that you've seen, but after you get past that it can be very convenient, because it lays out all of your lists for you, like county lists, year lists, month lists, etc. Here's a screenshot of the list page:

Posted Image

Plus, everything you enter helps scientists come up with range and population information for species, and helps other birders find birds! It's pretty cool.

#7 dklucius

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 02:58 PM

most people consider a life list as the list of birds that they have seen in their life. i never kept a list until i retired. My list is a backyard and list that i see in the area i live in. the biggest part of it is the birds i have seen and photograped in my backyard.
You can search on the web for lists of birds seen or listed in any area or state ect. I live in Colorado but also have some property in Utah
so i searched Utah and Colorado and printed off lists of birds that have been recorded in these two states and i check off and keep a record of the birds i have seen and confirmed or are sure of identity. but a life list is your personal list and you can do it anyway you want to do it. I do have a fantasy list of birds that i know are in my area and want to see

#8 dancingbear860

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:46 PM

thanks everyone!! Glad to know there isnt a "set" way to make one, Im just going to keep checking off the ABA and then keeping a list of favorite birds that I would realllly like to see (ex. kestrel, snow owl)

#9 Carolina

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 04:28 PM

I use eBird too.Totally agree with everything that Limpkin said about it.

I just got started. Have never kept a list/or real record other than photos so am having to use my photos info for when I first got started. Really like eBird because I can keep track of dates each year when certain birds arrive/leave along with other really interesting to me things. My biggest thing is finding the time to a year's worth of info listed. Still working on it.

Life list total~183


One heard only (Eastern Screech-Owl)
Yard list ~ 68

Work list ~ 115 (Office with a view)

Many Many Many Thanks to all here at Whatbird for your help extraordinaire...


#10 ColoTomo

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Posted 26 May 2012 - 02:28 AM

Dancingbear- if I understand you correctly, you are having the exact same misunderstanding that I did as a new birder. I thought that "life list" meant all the birds you wanted to see but hadn't seen yet.

In fact a "Life list" is *only* birds you have seen. That's why people here are confused on what you mean by "narrowing down". As for birds you want to see, probably a better term would be "target birds" ....or my preferred term - "Bucket List" (i.e. birds you want to see before kicking the bucket :) )
"I'm not a Colonel"




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