Birdchaser Rob Fergus has come up with a brilliant concept that actually works almost everywhere. As a birder you know you feel good when you bird. But not every day is a complete birding day, as it is not practical. You have to work or study. Yes, your life is full of obligations.
But what if you could motivate yourself to be birding even when you are not?
How? You simply set a bar for the minimum daily requirement of species of birds to record per day to remain healthy and sharp as a birder. For the sake of easiness the number Rob has suggested 20 species. That works well in Lima – and I think in most places where birders live. And, as Rob points out, if you can’t relatively casually reach 20 species, you should ask yourself if you should not move to a birdier home.
The 20 Bird Minimum Daily Requirement also helps you better get to know the birds and bird distribution in your local area. In order to get your 20 Bird MDR on your most busy days, you will have to know where to quickly pick up the most common birds in your area.
An effort to get your 20 Bird MDR will also encourage you to more frequently bird your local patch, and even birdy but not spectacular birding spots that are convenient to your home, work, or along your daily commute. With more time in the field, even if just for a short time to get your 20 Bird MDR, your chances of finding unusual or rare birds is increased.
The 20 Bird MDR will also help you better identify the most common birds in your area, as you learn to identify them at 65 mph on the freeway, or by their various calls or songs as you sit in traffic or on your back porch.
Check out Rob’s original post on Birdchaser.
I started applying Rob’s concept yesterday. The first day, Sunday I got 21 species, without birding really, but since we drove along the beach it was easy to add several species of gulls, Peruvian Pelican, Peruvian Boobie and Inca Tern. Today was harder, as I only drove the kids to nursery school – and looked out the office window.
I have played a similar game with my daughter during walks. Then it is 10 birds. See if we can find 10 birds as we walk to the playground. It is a great game to play with kids.
Have you used this concept? What are the birds you are seeing or hearing most?