Day 275

Posted on

Day 275 – …”Every now and then I get down to the end of the day/ And I have to stop and ask myself why I’ve done it/ It just seems so useless to have to work so hard/And nothin’ ever really seems to come from it.”

In honor of Tom Petty, I had to use one of my favorite songs for today’s intro.

I have not found a Philadelphia Vireo. I cannot chase it. I will continue to visit my local migrant traps in Northern Virginia until I leave for Barrow, Alaska on Saturday. This is the last Code 1 bird I need in the ABA Region.

Many of my non-birding friends have asked me to explain what the numbers in a Big Year mean. I will try to elaborate without boring everyone to death.

The American Birding Association (ABA) assigns a code to each bird on its checklist to indicate how common it is. Codes 1 and 2 birds are regularly occurring species. For a Code 1, think Northern Cardinal. Code 2s are a little more difficult but you should be able to find them. (I don’t agree with some of the Code 2 birds, which are very difficult to find). Code 3s are rare but typically, a few show up every year. Code 4s are even more rare and are not seen every year. Code 5s are truly rare -Megas- and usually have only been seen a few times, EVER.

I have 2 Code 5 birds this year that have NEVER been seen in the ABA Region. Pied Wheatear and Thick-billed Warbler.

Here is a breakdown of the rest of my 742 species this year in the ABA Region, without Hawaii:

Code 1s – 490
Code 2s – 175
Code 3s – 47
Code 4s – 22
Code 5s – 7
Code 6 – California Condor is the only Code 6 that is not extinct.

In Hawaii so far, I have 38 species. This brings my total to 780 in the new ABA Region.

You can see how difficult it becomes going forward! My last bird in the lower 48 was Swallow-tailed Gull on September 10th.

I need a bird.

Swallow-tailed Gull
  • Share


  1. James says:

    Small correction – Thick-billed Parrot is also not extinct. Good explanation though

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.