What do people mean when they say they have spotted a lifer bird? ~ Lansing, Michigan
Some bird watchers compile a list of every bird they see. Common birds at the feeders make the list first. Eventually a list of all the bird species they see and identify with absolute certainty in their lifetime is compiled. And there may be some excitement when a rarer bird is added to someone’s personal list.
Some birdwatchers will also increase their life lists in competitions for the most birds spotted when they create a national list, state list, county list, or year list. Typically, the list is kept in a journal that notes the bird species, the date, location and any notes you want to add. Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing has a Birding Journal that helps you keep track of the birds you’ll see throughout the seasons. It also has tips, trivia and blank pages for notes and sketches.
If you are interested in creating your own life list, you can get a list of all the birds sighted in Michigan from the Michigan Audubon website or Wikipedia’s List of birds of Michigan.
Finally, for a list of the almost 10,000 bird species in the world go to http://www.birdlist.org/index.htm or check out the American Birding Association’s official list at http://www.aba.org/checklist/abachecklist.pdf.