I woke up at 5 this morning to the hooting of Great Horned Owls in my sister’s yard. This is the 87th species I’ve seen or heard on her property this year according to eBird. Yes, I keep a list for her yard, my yard, Collier County(FL), Prince William County(VA), every State, the lower 48, the ABA region and the World. I have year lists, life lists, Big Day lists, and most importantly, my ABA Big Year list for 2017.
This is w…hat “listers” do. Listers use sentences like “I need that bird!” and “That’s a lifer!” For extreme birders like me, who travel from one end of the country to the other at the drop of a hat, chasing birds is an obsession. Extreme birding, a cross between a sport and a passion, can ruin marriages, friendships, even your health.
I have taken risks that my rational self cannot justify in order to “twitch” a rare bird.
I have always been obsessive. All of my hobbies have been performed at an extreme level. It’s just the way I’m made. I love the adrenaline that comes from a successful chase. I’m not apologetic about it.
It doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy birding just for the love of it.
My sister is at the other end of the birding spectrum. She has a gazillion feeders, knows bird I.D. and photographs birds. She is more typical of what birding is all about. She’s even seen a bird that I don’t have, a White-tailed Ptarmigan! Naturally, it really pisses me off. She is not a lister. Yet.
For all of the listers that do follow me, the Ruff was number 680 for 2017 in the ABA region.