Why do birders create State lists?

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Why do birders create State lists?
From: Gary Davidson <>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 06:25:27 -0800 (PST)

I do keep a few lists, but I also keep detailed notes and maintain databases of 
all my sightings.  I have often wondered what is the different motivation to 
two quite different interests; valuable scientific data on the one hand, verses 
a fairly useless list of species!  It is my opinion that listing is a form of 
collecting.  Lots of people are driven to "collect": stamps, coins, bird eggs, 
sports cards, antiques, ........ Listing is collecting.  Since it has no basis 
in science, there is no need for the lists to be scientifically based.  Lists 
are based on what is clear and convenient in our lives; like state borders, or 
international borders.  Australia is fairly isolated so international borders 
generally aren't an issue, but is there really any difference between the bird 
fauna of France and Germany?  or Portugal and Spain? or Canada and the USA?  
Not really, but all lists are kept separately.  State divisions are the same; 
 divisions to allow us to differentiate between our various "collections".  
Well, that's my theory!
Gary Davidson

--- On Tue, 2/3/09, L&L Knight <> wrote:

From: L&L Knight <>
Subject: Why do birders create State lists?
To: "Birding Aus" <>
Received: Tuesday, February 3, 2009, 4:05 AM

Being a geographer, I have an interest in regionalisations.  As a birdwatcher, I
also have an interest in bird observations and records.

The question I have is why do birders bother creating State lists?  States are
colonial anachronisms.  Very few of their boundaries have any connection to the
affairs of birds.

Do birders create State lists because they are brought up in cultural
straight-jackets or because the boundaries are clearly marked?  One of the key
problem for list aficionados is that there are only 8 States and Territories to
create lists for ...

Why don't birders create Bioregion lists?  There are 85 recognised
bioregions in Australia, so there are potentially 10 times as many lists to
create.  What is more, bioregionalisation has far more relevance for birding
observations than State boundaries.  It doesn't matter much whether a
species breeds on one side of a border fence or the other.  It does matter,
however, if that species ceases to breed in a particular bioregion.

It seems logical to me that we should connect our bird observations to the
environment in which we see them.  I would be interested to hear from birders
who have created bioregional lists ...

Regards, Laurie.

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