Though my ABA life list is up to 435 birds and my international list somewhat north of that (I’ve really got to get that sorted out) there are still dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of birds, I really, really want to see.  And now that Dakota has tagged me with a meme that requires me to share my top five most wanted life birds, well, I get to dream a bit and share my dreams with you…

  1. Burrowing Owl:  I once made a very serious attempt at finding Burrowing Owls at the Salton Sea in southern California.  Unfortunately for Daisy and I, the wind that day gusted to amazingly high speeds and all of the Burrowing Owls decided to do the smart thing and stay in their burrows.  So whenever I see a post like this I get very very jealous.
  2. Northern Hawk Owl, Great Gray Owl, or Boreal Owl: Yes, I know I just chose three species in one slot but really, all three are owls of the far north that occasionally irrupt into more southern climes.  I have seen none of them.  I started birding a bit too late to go after the Boreal Owl that appeared in Central Park several years back but someday I will see all three.
  3. Clark’s Nutcracker, Lewis’ Woodpecker:  Yes, yes, I know I’m cheating again, having now named six species total, but these birds go together.  After all, they are named after the explorers who found out what, exactly, the United States got when the Louisiana Purchase was made.  And as for the birds, well, a woodpecker colored pink and green and a corvid that looks somewhat like a woodpecker are a bit irresistable, no?
  4. Black Guillemot: The only regularly-occurring east coast alcid I have not yet come across…though this should be fixed in January, provided I don’t freeze to death first.
  5. Florida Scrub-Jay: I would like to make a clean sweep of the scrub-jays, and seeing as I have already tracked down both Western Scrub-Jay and Island Scrub-Jay, well, I figure all I need to do is go to Florida to complete my list.

So that’s my list of most wanted life birds.  I realize that I kept myself to North America but really, considering the state of my wallet, that might be a good idea.  I won’t go out of my way to tag folks but if you are one of the bloggers I linked to above feel free to have a go…it is kind of fun!  Or, if you are so inclined, leave a list of your most wanted birds in the comments.

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.