Last year I had a goal to see 175 birds in my home county. My goal for 2013 was to see 150 and I got up to 174. The 175 goal was simply to surpass that 174. By December 31 I had encountered 194. At one point in October I thought I might be able to get to 200, a lofty goal for one county in Vermont. I had seen three new birds for the year in one day and thought I only needed to find a few more to reach the 200 mark. In the last two months of the year, however, I found only one new one–a snowy owl by Lake Champlain, just inside the county line. Still, 194 ain’t bad.
I could have simply increased my goal to 200 for the county. That would, perhaps, seem logical. I wanted, however, to try something new, something broader. Staying in the county is fairly easy, as I live year and it means I do not travel far. But I will travel a few times in any case. In 2014 I encountered 177 different birds. I traveled to Florida and to California, plus looked on the Connecticut and Maine coasts. I was happy with that. I have no California trip planned but I do have a trip to Wyoming planned. Wyoming does not have quite the diversity that California offers but will offer some great birding I am sure.
My birding goal for 2015 is simply to find 250 birds, anywhere. I know this is less than 2014 but I will not be in California. I saw 88 species there. Half of those I saw nowhere else. It can be tempting to just up the ante and go for more, but attempting to find 250 unique bird species is a reasonable goal for me. If I could take all the time I wanted and travel all over I could try to find twice that number but that is not in the cards, not this year.
Noah Strycker is one man trying to find as many birds as he can in one year by traveling all over the world. He is now in Antarctica, where he started two days ago. There are about 10,000 bird species in the world and he is hoping to see half that many. That is a lofty goal. You can check out his progress on his blog, Birding Without Borders, on the Audubon website. If you want to follow my progress you will have to check back here. It won’t be nearly as exciting, but I hope to get a few interesting species and maybe some photos. So far I am at 28 species for the year, including the Snow Goose that eluded me all last year. Not a bad way to start a new year, goal or no.