Birding Goals 2014 – Finalized

So what did you think the birding goal would be for a blog whose main point is to help birders find uncommon birds in their local area?  To recap the point, I believe all birds that should be in an area, are in that area. They just haven’t been found yet. And the list of birds that I’m pretty sure that are in  Johnson County, Indiana – my local area – that haven’t been found, or found rarely, is a good list that can keep me busy for some time. So for 2014 my goal is finding as many species in Johnson County, Indiana, with a target of 200.

Broad-winged Hawk - A bird that can easily be missed unless you are out consistently at the right time of year. LaSalle County - April 2011

Broad-winged Hawk – A bird that can easily be missed unless you are out consistently at the right time of year.  So it’s on my “B” list – birds that take some effort to see.
LaSalle County, IL – April 2011

My list of possible birds in Johnson County contains 161 species that should be found with normal, consistent birding. An “A “group if you will.  The list also contains 42 species, the “B” group,  that my experience shows a person has a 75-25 chance of finding by more intense, directed searching. And the bulk of my time and effort will go to finding those 42 species because they are the ones that will dictate if I make my goal.  And there are an additional 53 species, the “C” group, I’m sure pass through or live in the county, just not every year. My personal experience says I will run into about 10% of those species per year by being out in the field consistently. I could see more of group “C” but I don’t have unlimited time and the time versus success ratio on those birds is very high as compared to the B group.  I will do some directed searching for birds in this group but mainly I will just come across them.

Greater White-fronted Goose with Canada Goose.  A species I thought would be easier to see in Central Indiana but migrates farther west than I originally thought.  I will scan all geese flocks just in case but since it will be difficult in Johnson County, it is on my "C" list. LaSalle County, IL - November 2011

Greater White-fronted Goose with Canada Goose. A species I thought would be easier to see in Central Indiana but migrates farther west than I originally thought. I will scan all geese flocks just in case but since it will be difficult in Johnson County, it is on my “C” list.
LaSalle County, IL – November 2011

Adding up the three groups works out to a little shy of 200 species that I have a chance of seeing in Johnson County if I bird wisely.

161 + (42 X 75%) + (53 x 10%) = 198

So that list includes the easiest to find birds like chickadees and jays to the hard to find birds like Long-eared Owls and Black Vultures. Both birds I’m sure pass through Johnson County if I’m out at the right time and right place.

Carolina Wren - Common in Indiana - Not so common in North-Central Illinois

Carolina Wren – Common in Central Indiana – Not so common in North-Central Illinois.  It is on my “A” list since I should easily see it, probably every trip out.  LaSalle County, IL – December 2011

So the plan for 2014 is to do the bulk of my birding in the 11 mile radius circle that surrounds my residence.  Doesn’t seem like such a large area when put like that, does it?  But it’s basically all of Johnson County. Which sounds much larger when stated like that.

The only change I can see is that I might include Eagle Creek west of Indianapolis in my “local” area so I can see gulls and terns.  These were easily seen when I lived in Illinois but species that are very uncommon in Johnson County.  And I miss watching them.  Other goals are to bird more often and take a birding trip out of the Midwest. Plus fill in the eBird bar chart for Johnson County. But that last one is a topic for another post.

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