Tag Archives: Bird Watching

What is a Nemesis Bird?

In the world of birding, there are certain terms used to describe birds and the relation that we as individuals have with them. Phrases such as life bird, first of year, and state bird are all thrown around often and understood by others in the community. Another term that is well-known by birders and can sometimes hit them right in the heart is “nemesis bird.”

A nemesis bird is a particular species of bird that for whatever reason continues to elude you. The nemesis bird moniker usually comes about due to having taken many trips to try and see the same species only to come up empty each time. This inevitably causes frustration and even the feeling of being cursed when searching for that particular species. Its worth noting that a nemesis bird doesn’t even have to be a rare bird, it can simply be a common species that for whatever reason you have not had an encounter with ,yet even though you’ve put in the work.

Bohemian Waxwing

If you’ve been birding long enough chances are extremely high that you’ve acquired a nemesis bird or two. For us, the Yellow-breasted Chat was a nemesis bird for a while until we finally saw one after numerous attempts.

For an example of a nemesis bird in media, look no further than the most well-known birding movie the big year. In this film, big year record holder Kenny bostic played by Owen Wilson just can’t seem to find a Snowy Owl, making multiple trips and even skipping out on an important event with his wife to try and spot this elusive species. 

While bostic does eventually get his snowy owl in the movie, in real life, the nemesis bird chase often remains ongoing. A nemesis of ours that still continues to vex us is the Tropical Parula. We chased reports of this beautiful bird in south texas, spending way more hours than we’d care to admit in multiple locations only to never get a conclusive look at one.

Hopefully someday we will get to check the Tropical Parula off of our nemesis bird list, but when we do, another species is sure to have added its name to that same list. 

What are your nemesis birds? Let us know in the comments below and as always, thanks for watching, we’ll see you next time, on Badgerland Birding.

Birders and Bird Watchers Are Crazy People: Here’s Why

Different hobbies attract different types of people. Some of the communities built around pastimes can be categorized or stereotyped as all sorts of different things.  Let me tell you this right now, it’s fair to label birders and bird watchers, as absolute crazy people. The term “crazy” can have a lot of different meanings. I’m not talking about the mentally unstable kind of crazy, but rather the kind of crazy more in line with fanantical passion that other people not involved in the hobby may mistake for mental instability. Before you get too upset about this declaration, I know a thing or two about the craziness of birders, because I in fact am one. This will not be a post chastising birders and bird watchers but rather a celebration of all the weird and wacky things that birding can drive you to do. Here are five reasons birders and bird watchers are crazy people.

They Wake Up Early

In this video Badgerland Birding starts birding before sunrise on the first of the year

If you’re anything like me, you aren’t a big fan of getting up early, and few things can persuade you to do so. One of those things is birding. While birds are active throughout most of the day, the early part of the morning is when they are most energetic and vocal; meaning that morning is usually the best time to go birding. This often means maximizing your day will require getting up before sunrise to make sure you arrive at your destination in time to catch the bird songs ringing in the first light. Furthermore, sometimes the days start even earlier than near sunrise if your destination is farther away, more on that in just a minute. The fact of the matter is that to get the most out of birding, a lot of times it will mean waking up extremely early, which people usually only do voluntarily when they are extremely passionate about something. Dare I say, crazy about something.

They Take Long Trips

Badgerland Birding goes on an extremely long road trip to see a Tundra Bean-goose

Another wild thing that hardcore birders routinely do is travel great distances in the pursuit of birds. This can be going to a particular hotspot or on a journey to see a particular bird that happens to be far away. This is especially the case for rarities both locally, and even on the national level. One of the longest trips I ever went on to see a bird was driving from eastern Wisconsin to Iowa to try and find an extremely rare Tundra Bean-goose. It’s not just driving long distances though that make birders a bit crazy, its’ that they also take planes just to see rare birds. A Stellers Sea Eagle on the East coast, and a Small-billed Elaenia in Illinois are just two examples of birds that people took flights from across the country just to check off their list. For rare birds, it’s not uncommon at all for people to travel exceptional distances, and I think that’s pretty crazy, but admittedly, a long road trip to see a bird makes for a great time, especially when you find the one you’re looking for.

They Go on Birding Vacations

A video from when Badgerland Birding took a trip to Oklahoma to go birding

In the same vein as road trips and flights to see a bird are what we at badgerland birding call “birdcations.” These are vacations specifically for the purpose of going birding. This is actually way more common than you might think as certain regions of the United States and different countries are major meccas for ecotourism. One such area in the United States in the Rio Grande Valley were birders flock from all over the country to explore the area and view some of the many rare bird species that call South Texas home. Other hot spots for birders to vacation to are Arizona, Costa Rica, and Columbia. You have to be pretty passionate  about a hobby to center your entire vacation around it, and that’s exactly what many birders do.

They Go to Weird Places

Ryan from Badgerland Birding goes birding at a sod farm in Wisconsin

Undoubtedly one of the most peculiar things about birders is the places that they are willing to go to find birds. Of course some of these places are beautiful and picturesque. Others however, are well let’s just say, not so majestic. One of the most hilarious places birders find themselves going are landfills. Landfills are goldmines for different scavenging species such as gulls and birds of prey, but telling people you’re spending the day at the dump will definitely get you some weird looks. Other odd places birders go looking for birds are flooded fields, roadsides, sod farms, and even other people’s houses for rarities that show up at home bird feeders. To non-birders, going to these places is a very weird thing, but in my opinion the strange places birding takes you is actually one of the most enjoyable things about it. What other reason would you possibly have to go to a sod farm or a landfill? The strangeness of it, is what makes it fun.

They Do Whatever it Takes to Find Birds

A video of Badgerland Birding searching a weedy field for sparrows

Probably the most crazy thing about birders and bird watchers is the way they do whatever it takes to find the bird they’re looking for. While this is a broad statement, I can think of several examples of birders doing things normal human beings would consider to be too much for the sake of just seeing a bird. This can range from going into difficult terrain such as steep grades, to having to hike for miles on trails. One particular instance I remember in which I did something a little crazy to see a bird was when I walked through fields filled with burs and other weedy plants to find a Nelson’s Sparrow. Was it worth it? Absolutely!

Another way in which birders do whatever it takes to find birds is braving the weather. Not only is it rain and snow that birders are often willing to go out in but also bitter cold and sweltering heat. We have experienced both ends of the spectrum. I distinctly remember the sub zero temperatures of the Sax-zim Bog as we searched for Great Gray Owls and other boreal birds. In spite of the cold, that was an awesome trip and really goes to show that birders will brave some awful weather and venture into some wild places to find birds.


In all, birders really do some crazy things. From the early mornings, to the long trips, it’s an extremely adventurous hobby and the most “out there” things about it are what make for the most fun. Of course not all birders and bird watchers are hard core enough to do these types of things, but as a whole, to get the most out of birding, I think you have to be at least a little bit crazy. 

Are their any other crazy things birders do that we missed? Let us know in the comments below and as always, thanks for reading!

5 Ways to Get Better at Birding

Birding is like anything else in life, the more you do it, the better at it you get. While practice and time in the field will certainly help, there some specific things that you can focus on that will improve your skills quickly and efficiently. If you want to know what to work on and how become the best birder you can be, this is the video for you  Here are five things you can do to make yourself a better birder.

Get Used to Range Maps

Black Vulture Range Map created by sdakotabirds.com

One of the first things to do to improve your birding abilities is to understand which birds are most likely to be in the area you’re searching in. Having a good baseline knowledge of what species will be expected to be around while you’re birding can make it easier to identify birds since you will know what the most probably species are. 

For example, if you were to see a shrike in Canada during the winter, the assumption would be that it would be a Northern Shrike since the Loggerhead Shrikes winter range doesn’t typically extend that far into the north. Another example would be a meadowlark seen in Virginia, based on range maps, it’s fairy safe to assume it would be an Eastern Meadowlark since the very similar looking Western Meadowlark isn’t normally found that dar east.

While birds do show up outside of their normal range, and therefore range alone shouldn’t be used to identify birds, it can go a long way in getting you on the right track to a postive identification.

Upgrade Equipment

Video about the benefits of birding with the Panasonic Lumix FZ 80

It’s totally possible to go birding without any equipment at all or go with a simple pair of cheap binoculars. However, some more advanced gear can make things a lot easier. Getting a better pair of binoculars can be a big advantage because of increased zoom potential and clarity. Other items can also be a major boost to your birding efforts such as spotting scopes that will allow you to get an up close look at distant birds, especially when there are big groups of them together and you want to pick through each individual. Also extremely helpful to have is a camera. It doesn’t need to have a massive lens, but something that at least allows for doc shots to be taken to reveiw birds you couldn’t identify in the field or prove to others that the rare bird you found was correctly identified. In all, getting even just slightly better optics and camera equipment can go a long way in helping you hone your birding skills.

Consider the Habitat

Marsh Wren

Habitat plays an extremely imprtant role in determining which species will be in a certain area. Knowing the preferred plants or terrain of a particular bird can make finding it much easier. Furthermore, having a good understanding of the habitat birds prefer during different times of the year can provide clues about which species to look and listen for when visiting a new place. For example, as their name would suggest, marsh wrens thrive in areas with shallow water and thick vegetation, so if you are in a marsh in their native range, it would pay to keep an eye and an ear out for this species. However, it wouldn’t make sense to be looking for a rock wren at the same location. Birds certainly show up in weird places from time to time that don’t fit with the habitat they usually prefer, but for the most part, knowing the habitat a bird is most likely found in can make any biridng trip much more efficient.

Learn the Field Marks

Cooper's hawk vs Sharp-shinned Hawk
Graphic displaying diagnostics of Cooper’s Hawk vs Sharp-shinned Hawk

Knowing what specific physical traits to look for such as shape, proportions, and colors can be instrumental in identifying birds and streamlining the identification process. For example, a small group of birds flush from the side of road and into some brush. White marks are visibile on the tails of these birds. Knowing that Dark-eyed Juncos show these white flashes, it’s easy to determine with only a seconds glance that these birds were in fact juncos. There are many similar markings and colorations that can be used to identify birds even with just a quick look, but in addition to these things, behaviors can also be quite telling. For instance, in the world of warblers, only a few of them that live in north America bob their tails frequently including palm warblers and waterthrushes. Seeing this behavior can easily elimenate most other warblers as possibilities for the bird in question, thus maknig things much easier. These sorts of things come with time in the field but can also be learned from eperienced birders and even sometimes mentioned in online or print resrouces.

Know Your Calls

YouTube Video going over how to identify common backyard bird calls

In my opinion, the single best way to improve your birding skills is to learn the calls of birds in your area. Birding by ear is an extremely valuable skill for a variety of reasons. First, it can save valuable time as instead of chasing down birds making calls only to find that they are something common that you’ve already seen, you can decide what they are without even having to look at them. Another reason knowing bird calls can be extremely useful is because it makes it much easier to identify flying birds. Often times you may not even realize a bird s flying over, but hearing the call and identifying the bird from that instead of sight can add birds to your list that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to correctly identify or maybe even wouldn’t have know were there. In general, knowing bird calls can also help pinpoint birds of interest to get a better looks at them. When searching for a specific species, it always helps to know what it sounds like and can truly make the difference between an awesome sighting and going home without spotting your target bird.


It’s extremely rewarding to improve your birding skills. While simply going out and birding more will certainly help, focusing on these things will help dramatically elevate you to the next level. Are there any other things you found helped you to improve your birding skills? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you next time, on Badgerland Birding.

What’s the Difference Between Birding and Bird Watching?

Around the world there is a large community of people who share a fascination for birds. In fact, there are entire subcultures around the various hobbies that stem from this fascination. Words such as twitching, lifers, foys, birders, and bird watchers are all terms that are firmly integrated into the bird community. However, two of these terms are intriguing, because to those that aren’t terribly familiar with them, they appear to be the same thing. The two in question are birder and bird watcher. A quandary posed by many is whether or not they are actually the same thing or if they are in fact different. If they are different, than in what ways are they separate from one another? While this can certainly be debated, we’re here to help answer the question, what is the difference between a bird watcher and a birder?

To those not indoctrinated into the bird world, the common term for describing someone who has an interest in birds would be “bird watcher.” It is the term most known by the general public, but what does that actually describe? And is it accurate as a broad term to describe anyone interested in birds? To answer this, we turn to the Merriam Webster dictionary. This dictionary describes a bird watcher as…well “a birder.” And it describes a birder as “a person who observes or identifies wild birds in their natural habitat.” So it would seem that according to the dictionary, the terms could be used interchangeably, case closed, right? Not quite.

White-breasted Nuthatch

For the whole answer we must look inward to the bird community. One of the first mentions in pop culture of a difference between the terms comes from the movie “The Big Year,” in which a character refers to the hobby of searching out birds in their natural habitat as “bird watching” only to be met with a stern retort from one of the main characters named Stu (played by Steve Martin) that it is in fact called Birding. This is the first evidence that indicates there is a difference between a birder and a bird watcher, even though the dictionary doesn’t seem to think so. So, there may in fact be a difference, but what is it?

Based on discussions with others in the bird community the definitions could be as follows.

A bird watcher is someone who has a fascination for birds and typically views and notices them but does not actively search for them

Whereas a birder is sometone who actively seeks out birds.

In general, a birder would be a more specialized stage of bird watching in which more knowledge is gained and the hobby becomes more focused and driven. Birders may take vacations specifically to see birds and keep tallies of all of the birds they’ve seen in a competitive manner.

Spotted Towhee

A good comparison would be the hobby of cave exploring. Spelunking and caving are two terms that both describe the same activity, but caving has more of an emphasis on exploring for sport whereas spelunking in considered to be exploring as a light hobby.

In sum, both bird watching and birding are very similar, and the terms generally describe the same hobby, but there are some subtle differences with birders being more active in their pursuit of seeing birds. In the end, does it really matter? Probably not, but as the hobby of birding continues to grow, there will undoubtedly be more subgroups that pop up, and maybe someday people will even petition the Merriam Webster dictionary to more distinctly define the two terms. Until then, thanks for watching we’ll see you next time, on Badgerland Birding.

Birding is an Awesome Hobby: Here are 5 Reasons Why

You may be surprised to learn that one of the fastest growing outdoor hobbies is birding. Birding is defined as the observation of birds in their natural habitats as a hobby. Once thought of as an activity reserved for retirees, birding is starting to catch on with a whole new generation, because as it turns out, birding is awesome, and these are the top five reasons why.

Birding takes you to unique places

Something great about birding is that it can take you to a variety of places. Birds live in pretty much every environment and location imaginable, so there’s no shortage of locations to visit. Many of them are beautiful and scenic, while others are urban and populous. State parks, natural areas, large cities and backyard bird feeders are all places people go to find birds. Sometimes the most memorable birding trips can be the ones involving the most ecclectic places that you woudn’t have gone to if not for the birds. Birding is essentially a scavenger hunt that takes place in every corner of the world so who knows what strange and wonderful place you will end up visisting because of it.

Horicon Marsh
Horicon Marsh

Birding can be low cost

In terms of cost effective hobbies, birding can be at the top of the list. It’s totally free to go outside and take a walk, or stay inside and look out the window. Otherwise a state park sticker and the cost of gasoline can open up a lot of possibilities on a small budget. That being said, there can be some aspects of birding that are more on the pricey side. Buying gear like cameras, scopes, and binoculars can certainly be expensive, but those types of items are typically one time or infrequent purchases and while helpful, they are not necessary to be a birder. The good news is that to participate in birding, the costs can be minimal to non existent depending on what you want to do.

Birding can be social

While some people love the solitutde of birding by themselvs, there are also many who love the social aspect of birding. Just like any community, the birding community has many forums, message boards and groups, both online and in person to participate in. Chances are, there is some sort of bird club or ornithological society nearby and even if there isn’t there are almost certainly other birders nearby that can be found via facebook or other social media sites. Whether you’re looking for a tight knit group to go birding with our a larger community to share ideas with, you can certainly find it.

Birding can be competitive

While many people think of birding as a leisurly activity, it can actually be quite competitive. The Big Year is a birding competition in which people try to find as many bird species as they can in a calendar year. While this type of bird competition can be a long grind, others are more fast paced such as big day competitions where birders try and find as many species as they can in a single day. There are also birding records that include the first person to see a bird in a particular county or state as well as life list totals. If there is something that can be quantified in birding, chances are that someone has started a competition around it. For people that are competitive and love nature, birding can be an incredible hobby.

Fox Sparrow
Fox Sparrow

Birding can be what you want it to be

Undoubtedly one of the best things about birding is that it is what you make it. Since there are so many different fascets to the hobby, there is something for everyone and each individual can find a niche that suits them. Since there are no firm rules governing the hobby it really is up to each person to make birding what they want it to be. If they want to be a competitive lister, bird photographer, or casual feeder watcher it’s all under the umbrella of birding.

Although birding is starting to gain traction as a main stream hobby, some people have predicted that birding is about to get much more popular, and It makes sense that it would. There are so many things about birding that make it an incredibly fun hobby for people of all ages and skill levels that it’s only a matter of time before the secret gets out. Do you know people who would enjoy birding? Send them this article and get them started on their journey.

Birding Joyce WMA (Louisiana)

March 14th, 2021.

My friend Claire and I decided to go birding early Saturday morning on March 14th in Louisiana. We left early, since I wanted to look for a Barn Owl that had been seen flying in and out of a boat house near the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station in Akers, LA. It was daylight savings time and we were tired from the change but got there just before sunrise. We walked around and heard a lot of bird activity but didn’t see any large shapes perched or flying. The spot was interesting. It was right off of the highway, over a train track and situated next to a channel. As we walked we noticed a few Spotted Gar swimming near the water’s edge, but didn’t see any sign of the Barn Owl. With the sun now up, we headed to our main spot for the day, Joyce WMA. There had been reports of Norther Parulas, Yellow-throated Warblers, and Winter Wrens, all of which I was excited to see. We pulled into the parking lot at Joyce and saw a sign about being “Bear Safe”. I’ve never seen a Louisiana Black Bear, but I’ve heard that they can occasionally be spotted. I definitely wasn’t expecting to see warnings about them though.

We got out of the car and immediately heard the zipper-like call of the Northern Parula, and located two in the bushes. Also present was a Gray Catbird.

Northern Parula.

We crossed train tracks and looked at the boardwalk, which is the main point of access at Joyce. It looked like something out of a book I read as a kid. The path faded into the cypress swamp and made us feel like we were venturing into the great unknown. I said to Claire “this is so cool”.

The boardwalk at Joyce WMA.

We scanned the lower branches of the trees for Green Herons, but didn’t see any. We traversed the walkway and spotted Great Egrets, Wood Ducks, Carolina Chickadees, and heard several Fish Crows calling from above. Suddenly, I saw two small shapes fly out from under the boardwalk. One seemed slightly smaller and more round than the other and I thought they both looked like Wrens (both House and Winter Wrens had been reported). I scanned the ground but neither reappeared. We continued on, enchanted by the environment and spotted a bright yellow blob to the left of us, a Prothonotary Warbler!

Prothonotary Warbler.

This was a bit of a surprise, but definitely a welcomed one. We eventually made it to the end of the boardwalk and saw a few Cricket Frogs and heard a calling Carolina Wren.

We decided to walk the boardwalk back and forth until we located all of our target species. On our first trip back we heard more Northern Parulas calling from above and we also heard a slightly different call. Tracking the call we were able to pick out a Yellow-throated Warbler flitting around, high up in the Spanish moss.

Yellow-throated Warbler. Screenshot from video.

After enjoying our brief views we met a lady named Christie who was looking to locate one of the Parulas. We pointed out the calls to her and she kept on down the trail to get some views. She mentioned that she saw a Wren earlier and had a photo. I took a look at it and it was the Winter Wren! She told us where she saw it (which was the spot where we saw the small birds earlier) and then she headed back down the boardwalk to look for the Parulas. While we staked out the Winter Wren spot we met Brittany, who was also birding, and turned out to be a graduate student as well, most interested in herpetology. We talked about birds and herps for a bit as we waited for the Wren to pop up. We decided to continue walking and found a small bird hopping around in the weeds. After a bit of searching it popped out and turned out to be a House Wren.

Close, but not what we were looking for. We stopped to talk and wait for a bit and eventually Brittany said “Hey, there’s a Wren”. I zoomed in on it and it was really scruffy, but sure enough, it was the Winter Wren! It was a little weird seeing it in a swamp, but the little brown ball of fluff seemed right at home.

Winter Wren.

We went down to the end of the boardwalk and spotted a Broad-banded Watersnake before calling it a day.

Later on, on Facebook I saw that Christie got some great Northern Parula pictures! Overall, it was an awesome day of birding, where we located all of our target species in a unique and enchanting location. It also made me excited for more spring migrants!


What Kind of Birder are You?

There are many different ways in which birding can appeal to an individual. Some like the thrill of chasing rare birds, some like observing birds from the comfort of their own home, and others enjoy the nuances of bird behavior. While all birders find something fascinating about the hobby, it means something different to each person. For most, there is a certain category that can be used to describe their primary interests. No one distinction is better or worse than another, but each attracts people with different goals in mind. Which one best describes you?

The Beginner

You just recently became interesting in birding. You’ve definitely seen birds before, but you never gave them much attention until that one time the light shimmered off of a Northern Cardinal in just the right way. Then, when you realized there was a whole community of birders out there you were hooked. You don’t necessarily know the finer points of identifying some species, but you are eager to learn as much as you can. You long for the day when you can easily distinguish between a Short-billed and Long-billed Dowitcher with ease, but until then your enthusiasm for your new hobby will keep things exciting.

The Feeder Watcher

You don’t do a whole lot of birding away from your house. Why would you need to when all of the birds come to you. Plus, you can watch them from the window without ever having to venture out into the elements. You started with just one feeder and now you have many (of all different varieties). You know what time of year the Juncos come and go as well as when the first and last hummingbirds arrive and depart. You love your brief visits from White-breasted Nuthatches and Downy Woodpeckers and dream of the day when a rarity decides to stop at your platform feeder.

White-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch

The Photographer

You go birding a lot. You also bird in a variety of locations. You may keep a life list and you definitely enjoy being outside. However, the thing you enjoy the most is that perfect shot. You have a nice camera with a very big lens and you absolutely love displaying your photos on social media. Your curse is that you are always striving for an even better picture, but your aesthetic eye will never let you be satisfied with your work. On more than one occasion you have passed on social activities with friends because you “need to go home and edit.” Your happiest moment came when a Snowy Owl perched up on a fence post in perfect light with small snowflakes glistening in the background.

Mr. One Spot

You absolutely love birding but you only do it in one or two locations. Maybe you live next to a birding hotspot or one is on your way home from work, either way, that place has become your go-to. You frequently post reports from this location and know it inside and out. You have a bigger bird list at this one spot than most do in an entire state. You suspect you’ve become this person when people personally message you to ask if you know whether or not a certain species can currently be found there. You know for sure you have become this person when you do, and can give them an extremely detailed answer about where to find it.

The County Birder

You are a serious birder who has a real affinity for the county you live in. Maybe it’s the habitat diversity, or fact that you know it well that keeps you around. Either way, you rarely travel outside of your county. You know all the best places to bird near you and would much rather stay close to home than venture out and chase birds. As opposed to going to known locations in the state to find particular species, you search out similar habitat within the county lines and continue searching until you find it there. At least 90 percent of the birds you’ve found this year are in your county and the ones outside of your county were either extreme rarities or accidental.

The Lister

You are known for one thing: your extremely long list of birds. When you first started getting interested in birding the idea of keeping track of all of the species you’ve seen appealed to your collector side. Your competitive spirit relishes the chance to accumulate a higher total than others even though you’d never admit to it. You may keep any number of lists ranging from county, ABA area, for the day, the month, the year, and so on. Although you say you just bird as a light hobby, you can be found at every rarity reported throughout the year in hopes of adding to your life list.

Fork-tailed Flycatcher
Fork-tailed Flycatcher

The Specialist

Listing and photography is great, but for you, it has somewhat lost its luster. You are interested in a new sort of challenge. For some, it’s birding without the use of fossil fuels, for others its documenting specific bird behavior. You have gone to extreme lengths to locate birds for your particular niche, whether it be hiking through dense brush to document breeding of Red Crossbills, or biking seven miles to relocate a bird for your BIGBY that you found earlier in the day when driving in your car. Some of your closest family and friends think you’re crazy but you don’t care as long as you confirm Hooded Warblers nesting in your breeding bird atlas section.

Hooded Warbler
Hooded Warbler

The Finder

When everything is quiet on the rare bird front you are out scouring your favorite haunts for vagrants. While others see a flock of American Coots and don’t dare think about looking through them all, you’re grinding away checking each of them one by one to make sure their isn’t a Eurasian Coot mixed in. You are consistently the first to find a needle in a haystack type bird and enjoy the challenge. 1,000 Lapland Longspurs in a field? You walk every inch of that field in search of a Smiths. Flock of 600 Greater Scaup? There must be a Tufted Duck mixed in somewhere. Others thank you for your intense focus and supreme effort.

Though some of these categories may sound more familiar than others, a birder may not fit into just one category but rather many at one time. Others may transition from one category to another as they become more seasoned. That’s part of the beauty of birding, no matter the skill level or interest, there is something for everyone to enjoy.