To: ("Tom Johnson"),
Subject: Lists
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2005 09:25:55 -0500
Well obviously the first question one should ask in devising an official "list" 
is what is its purpose.  The ABA was formed by a group of people interested in 
fostering the "sport" of competitive birding.  So it was important that there 
be a uniform set of ground rules.  In defining areas, it seemed to make the 
most sense to consider biogeographic lines as well as political lines.  Thus, 
for U.S. birders, there is a list for each state, and there is a list for the 
lower 48 (excluding Hawaii and Alaska), and there is a list for the ABA area 
(more or less U.S. and Canada, other than Hawaii), but if I am not mistaken 
there is no 50 states list.  Thhere is also no list that would include with the 
U.S. territories that are geographically distinct such as Puerto Rico and Guam. 
 Those would be included within the appropriate regional lists of the world.

Again, this list was devised for a specific purpose, to set the rules of a 
game.  Anyone who does not want to play in that game is free to keep their own 
lists for their own purposes under their own rules -- or to keep two sets of 
lists, one under the ABA rules and one under another set.  However, even many 
birders who do not submit their lists to the ABA follow the ABA rules, at least 
pretty closely, in keeping their own lists.

In sum, the real touchstone is what makes sense for a particular purpose, a 
matter that you can probably debate ad nauseum, though I agree that territories 
with little geographical connection to the mainland probably don't belong on at 
least the basic list.

Eric Jeffrey
Falls church, VA
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