Bird of the Day Listing

From article in Tropical Audubon Bulletin 2010 Trey Mitchell

My first bird a day list began Jan 1, 2008. I had just come off a Big Florida Year attempt. No record,but 312 species. I was happy with my effort. Birding in 2007 was a learning experience. Planning birding outings, learning to make the best use time, I gained knowledge about habitats, bird habits and movements were all critical to the effort. It was an intense year but worth it. Once finished, I was worn out but very happy. After my Big Florida Year I desired a break from extreme bird watching and take on something new.

Bill Boeringer had introduced me to bird of the day listing in 2006. I would find Bill at AD Barnes, a Hot Spot in Miami, early in the morning, day after day, birding for just a few minute before work, searching for his bird of the day. I asked Bill about bird of the day concept and as he spoke, I knew it was something I wanted to try.

Tom Wetmore

Robin Diaz had been listing bird of the day for several years. I spoke with Robin inquiring about the origin of the list. Robin told me about Tom Wetmore, an avid Massachusetts birder who birds Plum Island and has been recording bird life found there for many years. Tom's "bird of the day list" consists of a different avian species every day for as many days as possible throughout the year.

Robin and Bill added a few rules for their efforts. List a different avian species everyday continuously beginning on Jan. 1st. Any free flying, none caged bird is countable, that is except for chickens. I don't know why chickens aren't countable, but that's the rule and we follow it. No chickens, but Florida exotics can be counted on your list.

Strategy is the key to success when making a bird of the day attempt. Know your wintering birds and when they move north. Focus on them first and be aware of those that leave early in the year. As spring migration arrives you have new opportunity and a wide variety of birds to choose from as they pass through. Then comes summer, that's when you take advantage of all of our exotics and the year round residents.

Traveling helps, but only if you're away several days. A two day trip can only produce two opportunities. If somehow you make it through the summer please let us know what strategy works best for you. I've yet to make it into September.

Birders create all kinds of list and it seems almost necessary to list if you going to call yourself a birder. Life list, year list, county list, state list, ABA list, yard list, etc. You name it and someone has it created it. I believe listing is a good thing because observations are made and records are kept. Some birders lists and observations from many years ago are used today by researchers to fill in where official counts and observations are unavailable. Some of us are good about taking detailed notes in the field every time out. That may not be for you, but keeping some kind of list, I believe is beneficial.

The first half of the year, bird of the day gets me out observing almost every day. As time passes patterns become clear as observations from one year to another are compared. I have begun to expect to see birds based upon habitat and day of the year which makes my birding experience more enjoyable.

I've created this website to record and share our bird of the day efforts. We welcome you to participate. The competition is friendly and we encourage each other as we all do our best within our own set of circumstances. The bird of the day challenge is just another listing method, but it will provoke you to spend time every day searching for birds and will heighten your awareness of avian life that otherwise may be overlooked.

Trey Mitchell
Miami, Florida

Live Life to the Fullest with Fine Feathered Friends - by Meredith Mullins on January 30, 2014
An article that talks about birding Bird A Day.

Bird A Day Rules
- Start Jan 1

  1. Every day you add a new bird that you see or hear (not on the television, in a book or on the internet) to your list of birds for that date. You don't have to enter your observation each day, but in a timely manner post your observations for the rest of us to see.
  2. You may not repeat the same bird or skip a day. (Although there is nothing stopping you from doing so. Tom Wetmore continues through the end of the year even after he misses a day; to see how many days he can record a different species.)
  3. Any non-caged, non-captive, free flying bird is allowed; that is except for a chicken. We're not sure why chickens aren't allowed, but we accept the rule and live by it!
  4. We operate by the honor system, just like any other bird list, it is your own. The competition is more with yourself than with others. Unless you live next door to someone who is participating, there is really no way make circumstances equal.
  5. When your time to end is near do your best and consider what you can do to improve next year. Don't break the bank flying around the country chasing the next bird.... that is unless you own the bank.
  6. Encourage others who are participating and keep others up to date about the great birds you will ultimately find throughout the year
  7. Have Fun! Enjoy getting outside and watching the birds.

The Prize

At some point during the year "you will be unable to see or hear a new bird" to add to your list. When this happens you have completed the race and have established for yourself a mark to try and better next year.

During your attempt to go deep into the year you will undoubtedly see many more birds than you would have if you hadn't attempted the challenge. Pat yourself on the back and know you did your best.

Top Efforts

Congrats to the 2014 Champion

Brian Johnson - 365 Days
Queensland Australia

Congrats to the 2013 Champions

Brennan Mulrooney - 365 Days + 366 Days in 2012
San Diego County, California
Wildlife and fisheries biology major at UC Davis
Guide for VENT Birding Tours

Tom Rauch -365 Days
St. Louis Count, Missouri
Great Job from what would seem a difficult location.

Susan Foster - 365 Days
Aransas County Texas
High School English Teacher
Aransas Bird and Nature Club

David M. Taggart aka. - Mark Catesby - 365 Days
Monterey, Califonia
Awesome Job!

Alan Gillanders - 352 Days
Queensland, Australia
Alans Wildlife Tours

305 Days - Roberto Torres - Florida
294 Days - John Kooistra  -QLD-Australia Blog
282 Days - Chris Takacs - New Jersey
261 Days - Rob Fanning - New Jersey
254 Days - Stephen Murray -QLD-Australia
253 Days - Nina Rach -Texas
240 Days - Todd Frantz - New Jersey


Congrats to the 2012 Champions
For the first time several finished the entire year.
Leap Year at that.

Nina Rach - 366 Days
from Houston, Texas
University of Houston Law Center 
Editor at Offshore Engineer

Vincent Lucas - 366 Days
Naples, Florida - Moved to Washington State
I think it was part of the BAD plan... 
Bird guide and amateur nature photographer.

Brennan Mulrooney - 366 Days
San Diego County, California
Wildlife and fisheries biology major at UC Davis
Guide for VENT Birding Tours
WOW, what an exceptional year!

Congrats to the 2011 Champion
Carlos Sanchez
from Miami-Dade County, Florida
Made it to December 12th - 346 Days
Carlos is a University of Miami graduate and has been doing field research counting and monitoring birds. He traveled a little in 2011 - Puerto Rico, Louisiana and the Carolinas. Excellent Effort!

Congrats to the 2010 Champion
Andy Bankert
From Brevard County, Florida
Made it to October 4th- 277 Days
Way to go. Andy spent most of the year in Florida, but the summer in Alaska. Way to Go!

Congrats to the 2009 Champion
Tad Finnell
of Lake Jackson, Texas
Made it to December 31- 365 Days
You can't do any better than that!  Amazing!!!

Congrats to the 2008 Champion
Susan A. Heath, Ph.D.
Avian Conservation Biologist
Gulf Coast Bird Observatory
Made it to November 12th - 317 Days WOW!!!!