RE: Birding Bucket List

Subject: RE: Birding Bucket List
From: Don Roberson <>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 09:20:33 -0700
Living in California, I haven't read Birding Aus much, but in posting a note on our recent trip, I noticed the commentary on the Birding Bucket List [presumably named about the 2007 movie with Jack Nicholson & Morgan Freeman on things to do before you 'kick the bucket']. Someone mentioned an upcoming book on 100 birds to see before you die.

I created my first "bucket list" for world birding back in 1975, while in college, and have adapted it over time. I used the title "The 50 Best Birds in the World" and posted it on my web site in '99. It continues to be revised as time goes by, but essentially it was and is my choice for the 50 birds I most wanted to see in my lifetime. I have actually structured a lot of my world birding around it. As explained on the first page of the 6+ page web project, it is based on an evaluation of not only what is "rare" but what is "impressive" and "unique," among other attributes.

The list begins at
And yes, Gurney's Pitta made the list, as did Plains Wanderer and several other Australian species. I do not include birds that are almost surely extinct (Paradise Parrot, Eskimo Curlew, Ivory-billed Woodpecker) although I did so in my initial 1975 effort. It now seems better to me to focus on birds that are still possible to see, although some of them are very difficult, and I will never find (e.g., Western Tragopan). [Night Parrot would qualify for my list, and was considered, but didn't make it.]

In recent years I have also become very interested in mammal, and have created a similar project about them. It is at
That project includes a page of choices by other noted mammal- watchers. On our just completed Australia visit, we were very happy to finally locate and photograph one of those great mammals [Numbat in Dryandra Forest]. Both projects have been a lot of fun to create and discuss with birders and naturalists over the years, and I welcome any comments.

Don Roberson
Pacific Grove CA, USA


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