Everybody's list is a personal thing and from that point an individual can only
go with those guidelines that feel right from your own personal standard point
of view. Equally though, there is that comparative (to other folks lists)
aspect to ones list and therefore a more universal set of listing guidelines is
adopted by many across the board.
The memory aspect that Nathan brings up is an interesting one that we all have
had to contend with within our lists. Here i think Belinda makes a valid point,
there are going to be those times when you cannot remember a particular bird
you have undeniably seen.
Spare a thought for those folk who have lists not approaching our Australian
tallies but world lists beyond 5,000. In the discussion below we are broaching
the early years of birding, in regard to what we should add to our list at the
beginning of becoming bird aware (how many of us wish that we could recollect
the first time we actually became aware of knowing what that bird before us
was). I can get back to about the 200's in my life list, but beyond that it
will be groupings of birds from holidays in the not dependable order (wish I
had be more methodical in my notes
What happens at the other end of life though?. Do we lose birds off our lists
as our memories fade? Many of the records we have made, whether we remember
them or not will, will be recorded for all and put in print or some other
records medium - if we forget those, should they be erased - surely not. The
mind is not infallible, that's why we write things down.
I remember when I first got serious about putting my list together, there were
birds I couldn't remember and then I found old field notes that had them noted
carefully. Funny thing is that they were common species for that area, not the
local icons, so they didn't stand out as the most memorable parts of the
holiday years later. However my notes were evidence that I'd seen and
identified them. The event was a fact that I could not deny despite the
inadequacy of memory. I couldn't really erase the records, because of memory
The key here is perhaps not so much the memory, but the event in the beginning.
Were you able to identify the bird for yourself at the time?(if that is your
standard), or is there a clear record that you were aware of what the bird
before you was, if identified by your parents? Maybe this could be a possible
early threshold of listing? Were you aware of the identity of the bird before
you and it was recorded as such? Others of course will not be happy unless they
identify the bird for themselves.
If however you take good records of what you see - they are certainly an
undeniable fact, to the greater birding world, so why not yourself?
If there's at least one lesson in this - I guess it's teach the up and coming
generations to take good field notes and observe the lesson ourselves.
On 10/04/2011, at 4:38 PM, Gemfyre wrote:
> I didn't begin properly birding until I was 24, but had an interest in all
> things nature for many years, so I could put a lot of common and memorable
> birds straight onto my life list when I made one up.
> When I was a kid my family used to go on a road trip/holiday every mid-year
> break. We went from Perth to Broome when I was 7 and when I was 10 and both
> times mum insisted I keep a diary (although I just thought it was a hassle at
> the time). Some time in 1990 we stayed overnight in Newman and in my diary
> entry for that day is a badly drawn bird and the comment in the diary "I saw
> a robin redbreast". I've coloured in this bird and the way I've coloured it
> in it could only be a Red-capped Robin! So even though I didn't even know
> that particular species existed until another 14 years passed, there was an
> undisputable sighting of it when I was 10.
> Belinda Forbes
> Stirling W.A.