Birding Goals 2014

Around the first of December I make my birding goals for the next year. I know I don’t need any goals to go birding, but having a few goals always seem to help motivate me to get out and go. Plus I have always been a goal oriented person.

Moving to Indiana at the start of 2013 I wasn’t sure what my goals would be. Somewhere around mid-February I decided on birding mainly Johnson County with a goal of 200 species. I am going to be short unless a miracle happens, since I am currently at 195. So another year of trying for 200 in Johnson County is a possibility.

Another possibility is a big green year birding (BIGBY) either in Johnson County or include all the surrounding counties.  A  BIGBY means that you use no motorized vehicles – just walking or biking from your residence.  This appeals to me since I have limited time and I miss regular exercise. Yes, I could exercise more but I would love to combine it with birding. The problem with a BIGBY is that living in Indiana the months of November to February are basically non-biking months. But I only live a mile from the country.  And 2-1/2 miles from the Walmart–Lowe’s retention pond that usually has decent waterfall all winter. So I could walk to them on a weekend.  But I wouldn’t see most of Atterbury FWA in the winter, since it is 9 miles away.

And I miss watching goals and terns. In other words I need to go to a big lake or river on a regular basis. And that would take away time from other birding goals. But since most gulls are seen in winter, I wouldn’t miss many of the local birds.

And there are a couple of things from Kenn Kaufman’s Kingbird Highway that I think about when I am debating with myself what to do the following year. First, he did his big year on less than $1000. How much do the current participants spend? $100,000? Something doesn’t seem right about that to me. Or even driving a lot of miles just to bird you local state.  And on page 6 he talks about when he was younger having big days of 100+ species by bike. If you have been following my blog you probably know this appeals to me.  Imagine knowing his local area so well he could pull off a hundred-plus species in a town like Wichita, Kansas. If only I had a large lake or reservoir nearby I’d be set. But I don’t.

So it comes down to what I picture myself doing on Saturday mornings in 2014. Getting up and walking/biking an area withe the limit set by my physical ability? But getting into better shape. Or getting to more habitats quicker and getting more birding in?

I still have a few weeks to decide.

Anyone have goals they would like to comment about?

4 Replies to “Birding Goals 2014”

  1. I just counted and I have only 123 this year. I’m not sure if I’ve told you where I live., but live in Shelby county. I bird farm fields and the Flat Rock River every day on my way to and from work. I see the same birds. This year on the river I saw less than I usually do. I’m not sure what made the difference.

    I’ve been watching for the Lapland Longspur in every flock of Horned Larks I see. So far no Laps. I didn’t even see Larks this morning, it must have been too cold for them. There were a lot of them out yesterday though.

    You are inspireing me to do a count in 2014 again. Lauren and I did one a few years ago. It was fun. We do the Great Backyard Bird Count every Feburary. Have you ever participated in it? It’s with Cornel University.

    I enjoy your blog and feel like I’m learning from your posts.

    Thank you!

    1. A count of 123 in Shelby County isn’t bad if you really aren’t out constantly looking for the harder to find species. There really isn’t much varied habitat on public land there unless I have missed it. Like you’ve caught on from my thoughts they are there but not easy to find.

      I did the GBBC when I lived in Illinois. Not sure if I will this year since the place we live now isn’t conducive to birds. When we moved in Mike commented that my yard total would be lucky to be 10. I think I am at 12 but I might put out a feeder over the holidays and see what happens.

      Let us know if you are going to try to do some kind of total for 2014.


  2. A couple of my goals are finding time to get out more and being more productive when I’m birding. I’m not so concerned with reaching a certain number of lifers, but, rather, I want to observe the ones I’ve briefly seen and maybe get a few photographic opportunities.

    1. I’m with you on the getting out more. That will be one of several goals. And really “looking at birds” is probably the best goal anyone can have. Besides the times I am actually doing counts like a CBC, days I see small numbers but get good looks are always the best days. But seeing a new bird in my local area always helps!


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