Saturday, January 19, 2008

Bird Lists

White-breasted Nuthatch
January 19, 2008
I was not able to get out this weekend due to illness, so I will write something about listing. I am not a hardcore lister, but I do keep lists of birds that I see in certain places. Everyone has their own rules and ways of listing.

Generally, a list may be birds seen in or from a certain location such as a park, yard, official birding circle, or a city. My lists include places where I see a significant number of birds. I do keep a yard list here in Wallaceburg, and it currently stands at 151. That includes birds seen in the yard, anything flying over, or birds seen in the distance while I am on the property. Obviously there are many things that fly over in migration that I have not seen.

I have some good birds, and the Sage Thrasher tops the list by a longshot. I spotted this creature on March 16, 1997 in a yard on the next block. I never actually saw the bird in my yard, but I did see it as close to the middle of the road one morning.

Other birds include Osprey (flyover), Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Cerulean Warbler, Connecticut Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, and White-winged Crossbill (2x). Although a poor photo, the Worm-eating is shown as well as the crossbill. Ironically, the Worm-eating was here when I arrived home from birding at Rondeau one May day where I had also seen one there.

It is interesting to see what comes to the yard in a May fallout. I remember a huge fallout May 10, 1995 when I counted 40 species in the yard (and I went to work for eight hours!). I guess I should have called in sick that day! The number of birds at one time was just incredible. It was the same all over southwestern Ontario that morning.

I also keep a list for the Rondeau birding area. I have seen 306 species of the 352 recorded in that circle. The best was probably the Swainson's Warbler that I found on May 13, 1995. It was likely a result of that aforementioned fallout. In two days that particular weekend, I saw 34 species of warblers at Rondeau.
Another list is at Brander Park, Port Lambton. It tends to be a migrant trap with the woodlot, and the variety of habitat. That list stands at 194 with the best being a White-winged Tern in 1991.

I do not keep a list for Point Pelee, as I an not there enough to make it worthwhile.

Other types of lists include 24h type, especially in May. These are usually the Baillie Birdathon ones. I always do mine at Rondeau. The highest number I have found is 148. Some people go all over the province for their Baillie trying to rack up a big number. However, I find that doing one in a birding hotspot such as Rondeau can bring a higher number. And you do not do all that driving!

Just by coincidence, an unofficial Ontario Winter List came out today, and is being kept at this site. It lists all the species recorded in Ontario from December 1 to February 29 this winter.


  1. Out of curiosity, do you remember how many species of warbler you had each of those 2 days?

    My record as it stands is 26 species in one day at Pelee during May, but that took getting a Kirtland's to achieve that number (the last warbler species I saw was a late Canada Warbler on Tilden's Trail around 7pm). I tried for a while after that but with no success. I should try to dig that day up out of my records and see what the list consisted of.

  2. It is kind of interesting to look back, since I do keep records. On May 13, 1995 I had 25 species of warblers. The next day I had 29 species of warblers. I did write down the less common and rare ones, but not a complete list, so I don't know the combination.
    The next year on May 18, 1996 I saw 31 species of warblers at Rondeau (nice day!!). May 18through20 I spent three days at Rondeau (plus a side trip to Pelee on the 20th!) and saw 34 warblers total. I don't think I added anything new at Pelee though.

  3. 31 in one day! Do you happen to have the list for that day on hand? I'd love to see it. I haven't dug mine up yet (you've made my 26 look like child's play!).

  4. Looking at my records, 1996 was one of the best birding years for the month of May. I remember a large number of Clay-colored Sparrows and Kentucky Warblers. On May 18 I didn't keep a specific list, but we probably had five Kentucky among the 31 species of warblers. Add to that a "Brewster's"! We had Worm-eating, Chat (several), Prairie, both waterthrushes among the usuals. Not sure if I had Connecticut, but we had one on the 20th. Add to that list all the other passerines inc. Acadian Flycatcher. We'll probably never see a time like that again!