Thank all that is good and holy in the world that the abomination that was 2016 is finally in the books. Here’s hoping that 2017 is a much better year than 2016! I know I will be doing my best to make it so, especially from a birding perspective. In order to keep my nose to the grindstone (eyes to the binoculars?) I am setting some goals for myself here. Will I achieve them? Who knows? I’ll bird my butt off and see what happens…

  1. I will add at least three new birds to my Queens list. This will not be an easy thing to do. All of 2016 only netted me one new species for Queens, a Greater White-fronted Goose. That really sucks. Seawatching, searching out birds in migration both spring and fall, and hoping for rarities is really all I can do. Being mired at 313 is no fun at all and getting the list to at least 316 would be wonderful.
  2. I will see at least 500 species for the year. Over the last ten years my year list totals have varied quite a bit. I saw 425 in 2016, 510 in 2015, 560 in 2014, 517 in 2013, 529 in 2012, 375 in 2011, 601 in 2010, 609 in 2009, 313 in 2008, and 459 in 2007. So having reached 500 or more species in six of the last ten years makes me confident I can do it again. That I have trips to Puerto Rico, Austria, and the Bahamas planned in the first two months of the year makes me a bit more confident than usual that I can make it again this year.
  3. I will do at least 365 complete checklists in eBird. The last time I failed to do this was 2009 so this should be a gimme. But it’s a good goal to have, especially considering eBird has a checklist-a-day challenge.
  4. I will get at least 50 life birds. I managed 26 in 2016 (a bunch of them are in the image at the top of the post) and 22 the year before, two of the worst three years I’ve ever had. Though I have those three trips planned I still don’t think reaching 50 will be too easy as the Bahamas does not have much new for me and I’ve seen lots of European birds already. It’s doable, but I might have to work at it and will really have to clean up in Puerto Rico.
  5. I will see a Black Woodpecker. Going to Austria gives me another shot. If I don’t get it this time the Black Woodpecker will become an official nemesis bird.
  6. I will keep a year list on the blog. I failed to do so in 2016 and that really sucks. This year I will do better.

And that’s it. Six goals, all relatively achievable. What do you want to accomplish in terms of birding this year?

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.