I love birding. I love going places and seeing what birds are around and trying to get really pretty shots of them to share with people. I want to share my love of birds and hope it spreads to everyone. And I want everyone to understand that birding should be for everyone. It isn’t just a thing that old people do or a high-intensity sport where success can only be gained by extensive and expensive travel. Anyone can bird, and they can do it anywhere.

To that end, every year or two I used to post on my facebook profile my Photographic Life-list of Birds. I wanted my friends to see the growing number of species of birds that I, a disabled person with limited funds, had seen and photographed. I would publish it as a note, updated each time with my current list, and have a wonderful time discussing it with friends and family.

Alas, in Facebook’s never-ending quest to make itself less appealing and less user-friendly every single day, it has done away with the notes feature. I don’t suppose it matters much anymore, I find I’m using it less all the time anyway. It was inevitable that I’d eventually start publishing my bird lists here. Read through the into, it may resonate with you. Then putter your way down through the Photographic Life-List of Birds, discover The Goddamnit List (I imagine you can figure out why it’s called that), and even my heard-but-not-seen list. Then, perhaps, start your own list.

– UPDATE 12 April 2021

Mandarin Duck, Seattle 2021

It’s funny. Had you asked me just a few years ago to make a list of all the species of birds in my neighborhood, it might have looked something like this:

    1. Robin
    2. Blue Jay (which would have encompassed catbirds I think, had I even noticed them)
    3. Bluebird
    4. Cardinal
    5. Wren/Sparrow (anything brown, and I used the terms interchangeably)
    6. Crow (if it was black, it was Crow)
    7. Pigeon
    8. Red-headed Woodpecker (all woodpeckers were Red-headed, right?)
    9. The occasional Hawk (any large, soaring bird in the sky I would have presumed to be Hawk)

I may or may not have remembered Mourning Dove, but had I only heard one, I would have identified it as Owl – I was at least aware that there were two kinds of Owl: Barn Owl and Screech Owl, though I’d never seen a live one of either sort.

If the task included the beach or had I remembered the shorebirds, I might have added

    1. Seagull
    2. Those little wader birds, I think I thought of them as Piper.

Wow, there’s a lot out there when you start paying attention. I now have (at least blurry, but still usable for identification) photographs of 287 species of birds, only two or three of which might be considered rare (they’re listed as Threatened or Endangered). Just to really drive the point home for me, I started keeping a list of species of which I have photos and have identified (or have had identified for me – usually by my friend Dave Rintoul). It’s in taxonomic order, and updated today.

Here’s the really important part for me, though; I don’t really go places, across town at most, to see a specific bird. I don’t jump in the car and drive to Texas because there’s a rare bird being reported there. I just go places, and shoot whatever birds happen to be wherever I happen to be. It’s important because anyone, even a disabled person like me, can get a great amount of pleasure and success from birding. Go outside. Look around. Listen. Most of all, have fun.

Birds I Have Photographed

    1. Black-bellied Whistling Duck
    2. Snow Goose
    3. Brant
    4. Cackling Goose
    5. Canada Goose
    6. Mute Swan
    7. Trumpeter Swan
    8. Muscovy Duck
    9. Wood Duck
    10. Mandarin Duck
    11. Blue-winged Teal
    12. Northern Shoveler
    13. Gadwall
    14. American Wigeon
    15. Mallard
    16. American Black Duck
    17. Northern Pintail
    18. Green-winged Teal
    19. Canvasback
    20. Ring-necked Duck
    21. Greater Scaup
    22. Lesser Scaup
    23. Surf Scoter
    24. White-winged Scoter
    25. Bufflehead
    26. Common Goldeneye
    27. Barrow’s Goldeneye
    28. Hooded Merganser
    29. Common Merganser
    30. Red-breasted Merganser
    31. Ruddy Duck
    32. Helmeted Guineafowl
    33. Northern Bobwhite
    34. Scaled Quail
    35. Wild Turkey
    36. Indian Peafowl
    37. Domestic Chicken
    38. Pied-billed Grebe
    39. Horned Grebe
    40. Western Grebe
    41. Rock Pigeon
    42. White-crowned Pigeon
    43. Eurasian Collared Dove
    44. White-winged Dove
    45. Mourning Dove
    46. Greater Roadrunner
    47. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
    48. Lesser Nighthawk
    49. Common Nighthawk
    50. Chimney Swift
    51. Rivoli’s Hummingbird
    52. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
    53. Anna’s Hummingbird
    54. Clapper Rail
    55. Virginia Rail
    56. Sora
    57. Common Gallinule
    58. American Coot
    59. Sandhill Crane
    60. Black-necked Stilt
    61. American Oystercatcher
    62. Black-bellied Plover
    63. Killdeer
    64. Semipalmated Plover
    65. Piping Plover
    66. Wilson’s Plover
    67. Whimbrel
    68. Bar-tailed Godwit
    69. Marbled Godwit
    70. Ruddy Turnstone
    71. Red Knot
    72. Sanderling
    73. Dunlin
    74. Least Sandpiper
    75. Semipalmated Sandpiper
    76. Western Sandpiper
    77. Short-billed Dowitcher
    78. Wilson’s Snipe
    79. Spotted Sandpiper
    80. Solitary Sandpiper
    81. Lesser Yellowlegs
    82. Willet
    83. Greater Yellowlegs
    84. Razorbill
    85. Pigeon Guillemot
    86. Rhinoceros Auklet
    87. Bonaparte’s Gull
    88. Laughing Gull
    89. Mew Gull
    90. Ring-billed Gull
    91. Western Gull
    92. California Gull
    93. Herring Gull
    94. Glaucous-winged Gull
    95. Great Black-backed Gull
    96. Least Tern
    97. Caspian Tern
    98. Common Tern
    99. Forster’s Tern
    100. Royal Tern
    101. Sandwich Tern
    102. Black Skimmer
    103. Red-throated Loon
    104. Common Loon
    105. Wood Stork
    106. Northern Gannet
    107. Anhinga
    108. Pelagic Cormorant
    109. Great Cormorant
    110. Double-crested Cormorant
    111. American White Pelican
    112. Brown Pelican
    113. American Bittern
    114. Great Blue Heron
    115. Great Egret
    116. Snowy Egret
    117. Little Blue Heron
    118. Tricolored Heron
    119. Cattle Egret
    120. Green Heron
    121. Black-crowned Night-Heron
    122. Yellow-crowned Night-Heron
    123. White Ibis
    124. Glossy Ibis
    125. Roseate Spoonbill
    126. Black Vulture
    127. Turkey Vulture
    128. Osprey
    129. Swallow-tailed Kite
    130. Northern Harrier
    131. Sharp-shinned Hawk
    132. Cooper’s Hawk
    133. Bald Eagle
    134. Mississippi Kite
    135. Red-shouldered Hawk
    136. Broad-winged Hawk
    137. Swainson’s Hawk
    138. Red-tailed Hawk
    139. Eastern Screech-Owl
    140. Great Horned Owl
    141. Snowy Owl
    142. Barred Owl
    143. Belted Kingfisher
    144. Red-headed Woodpecker
    145. Acorn Woodpecker
    146. Golden-fronted Woodpecker
    147. Red-bellied Woodpecker
    148. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
    149. Red-breasted Sapsucker
    150. Downy Woodpecker
    151. Ladder-backed Woodpecker
    152. Red-cockaded Woodpecker
    153. Hairy Woodpecker
    154. Northern Flicker
    155. Gilded Flicker
    156. Pileated Woodpecker
    157. American Kestrel
    158. Merlin
    159. Peregrine Falcon
    160. Great Crested Flycatcher
    161. Ash-throated Flycatcher
    162. Western Kingbird
    163. Eastern Kingbird
    164. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
    165. Eastern Wood-Pewee
    166. Willow Flycatcher
    167. Eastern Phoebe
    168. Vermilion Flycatcher
    169. Loggerhead Shrike
    170. White-eyed Vireo
    171. Yellow-throated Vireo
    172. Blue-headed Vireo
    173. Canada Jay
    174. Steller’s Jay
    175. Blue Jay
    176. California Scrub-Jay
    177. Mexican Jay
    178. Black-billed Magpie
    179. American Crow
    180. Fish Crow
    181. Common Raven
    182. Horned Lark
    183. Bank Swallow
    184. Tree Swallow
    185. Violet-green Swallow
    186. Northern Rough-winged Swallow
    187. Purple Martin
    188. Barn Swallow
    189. Cliff Swallow
    190. Carolina Chickadee
    191. Black-capped Chickadee
    192. Mountain Chickadee
    193. Chestnut-backed Chickadee
    194. Juniper Titmouse
    195. Tufted Titmouse
    196. Bushtit
    197. Red-breasted Nuthatch
    198. White-breasted Nuthatch
    199. Pygmy Nuthatch
    200. Brown-headed Nuthatch
    201. Brown Creeper
    202. Rock Wren
    203. House Wren
    204. Pacific Wren
    205. Sedge Wren
    206. Marsh Wren
    207. Carolina Wren
    208. Bewick’s Wren
    209. Cactus Wren
    210. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
    211. Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
    212. Golden-crowned Kinglet
    213. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
    214. Eastern Bluebird
    215. Western Bluebird
    216. Mountain Bluebird
    217. Townsend’s Solitaire
    218. Veery
    219. Swainson’s Thrush
    220. Hermit Thrush
    221. Wood Thrush
    222. American Robin
    223. Gray Catbird
    224. Brown Thrasher
    225. Northern Mockingbird
    226. European Starling
    227. Cedar Waxwing
    228. House Sparrow
    229. House Finch
    230. Purple Finch
    231. Red Crossbill
    232. Pine Siskin
    233. Lesser Goldfinch
    234. American Goldfinch
    235. Black-throated Sparrow
    236. Chipping Sparrow
    237. Field Sparrow
    238. Dark-eyed Junco
    239. Yellow-eyed Junco
    240. White-crowned Sparrow
    241. Golden-crowned Sparrow
    242. White-throated Sparrow
    243. Seaside Sparrow
    244. Nelson’s Sparrow
    245. Savannah Sparrow
    246. Song Sparrow
    247. Lincoln’s Sparrow
    248. Swamp Sparrow
    249. Rufous-crowned Sparrow
    250. Spotted Towhee
    251. Eastern Towhee
    252. Yellow-breasted Chat
    253. Eastern Meadowlark
    254. Orchard Oriole
    255. Baltimore Oriole
    256. Scott’s Oriole
    257. Red-winged Blackbird
    258. Brown-headed Cowbird
    259. Common Grackle
    260. Boat-tailed Grackle
    261. Great-tailed Grackle
    262. Black-and-white Warbler
    263. Prothonotary Warbler
    264. Orange-crowned Warbler
    265. Nashville Warbler
    266. Common Yellowthroat
    267. Hooded Warbler
    268. American Redstart
    269. Northern Parula
    270. Magnolia Warbler
    271. Yellow Warbler
    272. Chestnut-sided Warbler
    273. Black-throated Blue Warbler
    274. Palm Warbler
    275. Pine Warbler
    276. Yellow-rumped Warbler
    277. Yellow-throated Warbler
    278. Prairie Warbler
    279. Townsend’s Warbler
    280. Summer Tanager
    281. Scarlet Tanager
    282. Western Tanager
    283. Northern Cardinal
    284. Black-headed Grosbeak
    285. Blue Grosbeak
    286. Indigo Bunting
    287. Painted Bunting

The Goddamnit List

(birds I have seen but not photographed)

    1. Barn Owl
    2. Zone-tailed Hawk
    3. Varied Thrush

Birds I have heard, but not seen

    1. Chuck Will’s Widow
    2. Eastern Whip Poor Will

I hope you can find birds you recognize on these lists, birds you’ve never seen but want to, and maybe a few you’ve never even heard of!

But even more, I hope you’re inspired to go out your back door and just look and enjoy. That’s the best part of birding, right there.

You can find apps in the Apple and Google Play stores to help you get started. I use Merlin for identifying birds, and eBird for recording and sharing my checklists, both from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, home of the All About Birds website.