Why do birders create State lists?

To: <>, <>
Subject: Why do birders create State lists?
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2009 18:16:40 +1100
Firstly apologies if this is hard to read - for some reason Internet Explorer 
is appending the previous message straight after my text (and I would prefer to 
keep the thread intact for this one).

Firstly, on Laurie's original question - I think the state lists probably 
evolved from County lists in England (which still seem to be fairly important 
if you look at some of the british bird sites). Plenty of birders still have 
County lists and I am certain some would have LGA lists. The smaller 
subdivisions probably only appear strange as we are lucky to have the whole 
continent as one country - if we were like Europe or Africa there probably 
would be no question of keeping "national" lists if each state was indeed a 

Why we don't also keep bioregional lists is probably two reasons - Firstly 
people don't know really what they are (they are greater than habitats) and 
secondly it would be almost impossible without access to GIS (or the actual 
descriptions of the bioregions) it is difficult to know where the boundaries 
are and so what Bioregion you are in (though boundaries are very fuzzy). Two 
explain the first point, look at these websites for information on IBRA 
 & One 
of the most interesting things is that they are still Interim (hence the I) 
even though I think they were first proposed in 1995. NSW has subdivided these 
into subregions as many of the Bioregions are very large or cover very 
differing areas of habitat (say the Blue Mountains versus the Cumberland Plain 
are both part of the Sydney Basin Bioregion.

Government certainly does use Bioregions for assessing things, though we 
usually use GIS on existing records to work out where they are. Some examples 
of where NSW government uses Bioregions are:

Assessment of Biodiversity/Reservation across NSW (see the 2nd link above) 
related to the NSW Biodiversity strategy (unfortunately the next one looks like 
introducing another regionalisation based on basic land-use which is really 
Threatened species distributions for such things as land clearing applications 
(PVPs) and BioBanking are now based on known and predicted occurence in 
Bioregion subregions (split then again on CMA boundaries).
Reports (such as some of the modelling I did of threatened species distribution 
in southern Sydney) looked at the reservetion status of these species across 
the Bioregions we were working on.

They are a useful tool, but in many cases are not practical to use in the field 
and be used for listing.

> Date: Wed, 4 Feb 2009 15:04:14 +1000> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Why do 
> birders create State lists?> From: > To: 
> > CC: > > I'm not sure how 
> flippant your comment is Andy. Each State has its own> environmental laws and 
> its own threatened species, so as far as real> conservation outcomes are 
> concerned, State lists are probably> (unfortunately) more important than 
> bioregional ones. There is certainly a> move amongst these departments to 
> work more closely together on conservation> but the fact is once you cross a 
> political border there are different laws> and priorities, whereas 
> biogeograpical borders don't really mean that much> politically.> > Regards,> 
> Chris> > On Wed, Feb 4, 2009 at 1:14 PM, Andy Burton <> 
> wrote:> > >> > Laurie,> >> > Creating a list, any list, is a a great 
> reinforcer for the memory and> > therefore an educational tool. I have learnt 
> vast amounts about birds by> > keeping lists in the form of a database.> >> > 
> And yes I have State lists. I also have nearly 2600 catchment lists as well> 
> > as rudimentary bioregion lists.> >> > And paradoxically I have little idea 
> how many species I have for each> > list..........its probably not important 
> but easy to find out if I wish to..> >> > I might flippantly add that 
> presumably State authorities maintain lists,> > perhaps partly sourced from 
> birdwatchers.> >> > Regards, Andy> >> >> >> >> >> > 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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