20 Bird Minimum Daily Requirement

20 Bird Minimum requirement

by Gunnar on October 24, 2011 · 5 comments

in Birdblogging

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?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Birdchaser October 25, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Thanks for playing, everyone’s a winner!  Today with a little extra effort, by playing this game I was able to turn an otherwise long commute into a birding adventure that with 31 species 🙂


Gunnar Engblom October 26, 2011 at 9:07 am

I had a day of only 2 birds, today Rob. Back problems and indoors. Does it disqualify me?


Birdchaser October 26, 2011 at 9:06 pm

We’ll just call today a birding shabbat


Simon October 29, 2011 at 7:35 pm

I really don’t get the point of this. Perhaps I’m missing something, but there are plenty of days in urban environments where I want to work / run / walk / cycle / socialise / eat / drink and I can’t be bothered about worrying if the Woodpigeon in the garden is the 16th, 17th or 18th species I’ve seen that day. Sure if something unusual presents itself I’ll look at it, but I don’t see the need to be always counting what number things are…


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