Why do birders create State lists?

Subject: Why do birders create State lists?
From: Katrina Knight <>
Date: Wed, 04 Feb 2009 17:30:33 -0500
At 04:51 PM 02/04/2009 Denise Goodfellow wrote:
Phoebe Snetsinger had the longest bird list in the world, and some of the women I guide also keep lists. All I'm saying is that women are far less
likely to do so than men.

I agree. My experience is that women often keep lists for somewhat different reasons then men. Men tend to be more into competition and collecting tick marks on their lists. Almost all the people I know who somewhat obsessively run hither and yon to add new birds to their lists are men. Women seem to make lists more out of curiosity than competitiveness - they tend to collect data as opposed to tick marks. There are exceptions though. I've definitely known some women for whom the ticks on the list were the point of looking for birds, or in some cases, being shown birds by others.

Personally, I keep track of what I see and where I see it on a daily basis. I do that by political borders because that's the easiest well-defined way to do it. At home, the regions I use are counties - the smaller government subdivisions that each state is divided into. I'm not sure what I'm going to do when I get to Australia later this month. Your states are too big a unit to use for record keeping for my purposes. If there were well-defined lines telling me which birds were in which of the bioregions mentioned at the start of this discussion, I'd be happy to use them for record-keeping. I rarely turn my records into actual lists of all the birds I've seen within certain boundaries. I sometimes do it when I've been travelled to a new place, but more because I'm curious about how much I've seen rather than because I feel any particular urge to compare the number to anyone else's number. I think it is safe to say that I will keep track of how many species I see in Australia just because my upcoming trip is likely to be the only time I'm ever there and I want to see as many birds as I can. I don't know how many species I've seen in my own country because that exact number just doesn't interest me much.

Katrina Knight

Reading, PA, USA


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