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Bird a Day

January 7, 2010

Especially astute or click-happy readers of this here blog may have noticed a new addition up in the page options just under the header.  Even since my North Carolina Big Year went down in flames, and little baby birder limiting my birding time and efforts I’ve been looking for something to appeal to my still-flowing competitive juice.  So inspired by an awesome bird game I randomly came upon on the internet, I’m tackling the Bird-A-Day Challenge for 2010.  And it’s not too late in the year that you all can participate too, if you look back to your bird lists from the week before.  The rules are stated on the website and are as follows.

Every day you add a new bird that you see or hear (not on the television, in a book or on the internet) to your list of birds for that date. You may not repeat the same bird or skip a day. Any non-caged, non-captive, free flying bird is allowed; that is except for a chicken. We’re not sure why chickens aren’t allowed, but we accept the rule and live by it!

At some point during the year “you will be unable to see or hear a new bird” to add to your list. When this happens you have completed the race and have established for yourself a mark to try and better next year. During your attempt to go deep into the year you will undoubtedly see many more birds than you would have if you hadn’t attempted the challenge. Pat yourself on the back and know you did your best.

Obviously, the goal is to get 365 species, one for each day, but as that’s nearly impossible (although someone did it last year) I’ll be happy to get through May, but as I’ve already started using up my everyday birds even that may be a tall order.  Anyway, you can follow my thus far feeble progress at the tab.

Do you have any new bird games to challenge yourself for 2010?

  1. January 7, 2010 9:01 am

    Looks fun…but burning HOSP on day 4 is going to make this very difficult for you…

  2. Nate permalink*
    January 7, 2010 9:20 am

    @Corey- Probably, but I don’t seen House Sparrows nearly as often as other people. It was by far the rarest bird I saw that day. Now when I burn off Rock Pigeon you’ll know I’m in really dire straits.

  3. January 7, 2010 11:31 am

    Forgive me, but I’m slow this morning.*

    If you go birding on Jan 01 and wrack up 20 species, did you just blow 20 potential date-extending sightings? Or do you only use one species from that first list (e.g., cardinal), then count a different bird the next day (titmouse), even though it was part of your previous day’s 20 species (but didn’t use it as your bird-a-day)?

    *I use that caveat most mornings, I suppose I’m just slow.

  4. Nate permalink*
    January 7, 2010 11:43 am

    @Mike- Yes. I have to see the bird on the day. So if I have a phenomenal day out east (like I’m planning next weekend) and rack up 80+ species on a winter day, I can choose only one. So it’s my best interest to use the rarest bird I see on any given day, the one I’m least likely to see on any subsequent days and save my common species (the ones I see every day) for when I’m in a bind.

    And since I’ve already used Eastern Towhee and House Sparrow, you can see how well this plan is working out for me.

  5. January 7, 2010 12:11 pm

    Ah, so just because you saw a species on one day you can count it later, assuming it’s not your bird-of-the-day from an earlier date. I thought this was a weird bird-game, encouraging you not to see a species until you needed it.

    Anyway, my bird-game for the year, which I started back in November, is to collect and submit at least one eBird checklist every day. And it has to be a checklist with effort information attached – no casual “Red-tail flying over the road during my commute,” but one where I track time spent watching and distance traveled.

    My real goal is to make sure I don’t skip my 15-minute “site survey” and dog-walk in the mornings before work, but I’m anxious to see what the yard list looks like next January.

  6. January 7, 2010 1:03 pm

    That sounds like a fun bird challenge, though I think I’ll wait until next year to take a stab at it. This year I am promoting a challenge on my blog site called “210 in 2010: eBird Idaho”. Idaho birders have been a little slower to jump on the eBird bandwagon, but I am hoping to change that. The race is to be the first Idaho birder to see 210 species in Idaho; challenging but achievable. We have a second part of the challenge: Who can submit the most eBird checklists by July 29th, the 210th day of the year?

  7. January 7, 2010 4:50 pm

    Hey that sounds fun. I need something new to try, maybe I’ll give it a go.

  8. January 10, 2010 2:19 pm

    Great idea. I’d already be out of it almost immediately though as there are days pretty early on where I see nothing but nuthatches and woodpeckers. Making games of birding makes it even more enjoyable. I like simply keeping a year list and see what I find/miss. At work we printed up a bird check list on a 42 inch wide plotter and hung it up. This is year 3. We’re putting down the first date we see each species and then looking for trends. Really fun and interesting. So far some birds are showing up within hours of when they showed up the year before. Sometimes weather delays birds months.

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