Where to Bird?

This past weekend was the last weekend for the IAS Summer Count.  And I spent it looking for species not yet seen in Johnson County in June or July.  But with the storms I didn’t have much luck.

Knowing where I had to bird this past weekend got me wondering, once again, how birders decide where to go birding? Especially people who work during the week and can only get out on the weekends. I assume people with more free time can cover more places during the week so the decision isn’t as hard. But for people like me it is tough.

If you have been following this blog then you know I spend my limited weekend time birding southern Johnson County – the Driftwood, Atterbury, Johnson County Park area. Not really a large area, but when I have to decide where to bird, it is.  Atterbury has 6 or 7 distinct areas that take a couple of hours each to bird thoroughly.  Throw in Driftwood, Johnson County Park, and Irwin Park in Edinburgh and now we are at 10 areas.  And there are a lot of other smaller areas to check also.  So how to choose since I would like to spend time in each area weekly?

"Paris 2010 - Le Penseur" by Daniel Stockman - Flickr: Paris 2010 Day 3 - 9. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Paris_2010_-_Le_Penseur.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Paris_2010_-_Le_Penseur.jpg
Where to bird? Hmm? *

I sometimes wish I was a twitcher, chaser, whatever you want to call someone who chases rarities or a bird needed for a list. Then the choice would be easier on many weekends. Or if I didn’t mind driving more to see birds it would be easier.  Then I could go where I think I would have a chance of seeing more species, Goose Pond or the Lake Michigan shoreline for example.

So how do people decide where to bird?  My basic assumption is they use status and distribution and go to the correct habitats where they have the best chance of seeing what might be migrating.  Or if they are lucky enough to bird daily maybe they census the best habitats in their areas over and over.

I would be interested to hear how others decide.

* “The Thinker” “Paris 2010 – Le Penseur” by Daniel Stockman – Flickr: Paris 2010 Day 3 – 9. Licensed under Creative Commons – From Wikimedia Commons

One Reply to “Where to Bird?”

  1. Since I’m either busy with school or work, I tend to visit well-known locations during migration that have a large species diversity or a target group (e.g., shorebirds). Usually, these areas are no more than a hour and a half’s drive and have alternative places in the vicinity. Ideally, I would love to drive to places like Miller Beach to add new lifers, but there is always that chance that you may not see them that day or miss them entirely.

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