Monday, December 17, 2012

When Does It Count?

Counting birds is a very important thing.  It tells us about healthy populations, where a bird is seen, or if a bird is threatened or dropping in numbers.  It's also fun to do.  Every bird has a specific behavior and personality.  And it makes observation so much fun.
But there are times when you see a bird that is a hybrid, domestic waterfowl, or exotic invasive  the Monk or Lovebird species found in and around the Phoenix areas. Only recently have the Rosy faced Lovebirds been added to the ABA list as birds that you can count(and add to your lifelist:)  Could it be that the populations have been expanding and growing since their discovery in 1987?  However, you can only count this bird in Phoenix,AZ.  Many people will be flying from all over the country to get this "tick" on their birdlists:)

On EBIRD or Audubon, you can't always count these birds.  They are wild.  They fly free.  So where do they belong? There are categories for birds like the Coopers or Sharp-shinned that can sometimes blur if the bird is far far away and you can't distinguish the various field markings.  My issue happened when I found Muscovy ducks in Tucson.  They are considered wild domestic waterfowl....and yet they fly free.  Muscovy are found in Mexico but when I brought up the topic with birders, I hadn't expected a firestorm of responses.  Several counties in Texas and Florida allow you to count them but they are clearly found all over the States.  Some birders said, "Count them!"  while others said, " can't count them."  I found it all fascinating.
Do we count?
Here are some things I've asked myself while observing birders out in the field. The questions are not only technical but philosophical.  If they don't count on a lifelist, where do they belong? And do they even matter?  I'll leave you with that parting thought.  More tomorrow....  


  1. If i am the one to go out, i will be taking photos of anything that moves or is fascinating! I wouldn't care less if they are domestic or wild. We have lots of Muscovy ducks here, in the wild and domestic. But if some people will see them in the wild they will end up in their frying pan!

  2. Goodness, birding rules? If I saw it, I'd count it. For myself anyway. Those are some wild looking ducks. Think I'll put them on my life list now that I've seen your photo. Only kidding.

  3. They are interesting birds with the cool markings. Great shots. I hope you are having a great Christmas count. Happy Birding!

  4. I'm not a birder, so wouldn't count them, but would photograph this bird, or any other that I thought looked interesting or beautiful, and try to find out their names.

    Your photos are great!!

    Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year:)

  5. Very interesting birds. Great photos Chris!

  6. interesting debate. i miss having muscovies here. they were quite lively.

  7. oh dear....count saw them
    they are birds....what the heck
    rules details...nuts

  8. Nie liczyłabym ich, tylko je podziwiała i zdjęcia robiła . Pozdrawiam.
    Not count them, but it did admired and photos. Yours.

  9. Good shot of the head rohrerbot. These birds are quite attractive.

  10. Very interesting birds, Chris.... I would count anything and everything... ha ha ... Hope your Christmas count is going well...


  11. I think counting is important....done in a systematic way for gathering data. I only do the Great Backyard Bird Count once a year. I always learn a lot, and feel good contributing a part to the whole.
    Should do more, but no time!!!!! Sadly.
    Have a great day!


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