Kansas County Listing Milestones

County listing, keeping track of all the species you've seen in a given county, has been going on for probably as long as there were two or more birders in an area. In Kansas, county listing became "formalized" in November of 1999 when Lisa Edwards issued her first call for county lists. The first list, on November 30, 1999, had a total of 85 county life list records. By March 2018 that number had jumped to a list of over 3,000 county life list records. I doubt that anyone foresaw this explosive growth in county listing. Lisa continued to compile the monthly updates through January 2010 when she handed the database over to Mark Land. In January 2018 Mark handed off the list keeping responsibilities to Kevin Groeneweg. The county life lists are published monthly on KSBIRD-L, the Kansas email bird list. Anyone can go back through and view the progression through the years in the KSBIRD-L archives.

Regularly, questions are asked about who has the "most". Since that can be defined in many ways, following are a series of tables. Where the monthly report of county listing is updated, well, monthly, this list will not be updated monthly. It will be updated once or twice a year as Chuck has time and or feels that enough changes have taken place to justify updating it. All of these tables are based on the database that Kevin keeps on the reported county list totals.

Listed in all 105 counties

125 species
in 105 counties

Year Milestone Reached

Total current county species
Henry Armknecht 2016 17,129
100 species
in 105 counties
Jim Malcom 2016 16,024
Pete Janzen 2011 15,720
Kevin Groeneweg 2013 15,387
75 species
in 105 counties
Matt Gearheart 2013 14,784
Glenn Caspers 2016 10,745
Sam Mannell 2016 10,554
Terry Mannell 2016 10,554

Listed in 75 or more counties.

75 species in 75 counties or more counties Total county species
Scott Seltman 103 13,180
Mike Rader 99 14,130
Tom Ewert 89 10,597
Dan Larson 89 9,551
Jeff Calhoun 80 10,338

The 300 Club - Birders who have seen 300 or more in an individual county.

County list total County Birder # on official county list Percent of total
347 Sedgwick Pete Janzen 382 90.84
331 Morton Sebastian Patti 378 87.57
319 Morton Mike Rader 378 84.39
315 Morton Scott Seltman 378 83.33
314 Douglas Galen Pittman 365 86.03
314 Stafford Mike Rader 361 86.98
307 Sedgwick John Northrup 382 80.37
306 Johnson Mark Land 340 90.00
305 Cowley Max Thompson 343 88.92
303 Johnson Matt Gearheart 340 89.12
303 Russell Mike Rader 335 90.45
303 Geary Chuck Otte 328 92.38
300 Cowley Gene Young 343 87.46

Top individual county lists based on percent of official list total, minimum of 90%.

Percent of total County Birder # on official county list Birder's county list total
99.32 Neosho Andrew Burnett 296 294
99.01 Pawnee Scott Seltman 302 299
93.70 Rush Scott Seltman 270 253
93.19 Osborne Henry Armknecht 235 219
92.63 Sherman John Palmquist 285 264
92.48 Atchison Don Merz 266 246
92.38 Geary Chuck Otte 328 303
91.35 Atchison Al Schirmacher 266 243
90.84 Sedgwick Pete Janzen 382 347
90.83 Sumner Max Thompson 327 297
90.45 Russell Mike Rader 335 303
90.40 Ellsworth Mike Rader 302 273
90.36 Clay Chuck Otte 280 253
90.21 Sumner Gene Young 327 295
90.00 Johnson Mark Land 340 306

It should be pointed out that county listing is not for everyone. Many birders choose not to keep track of each and every bird that they see in every county or perhaps not at all. This is an individual choice that we support. For those who do enjoy keeping track of county records we encourage you to also consider utilizing the eBird online sightings program sponsored by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. While a great deal of resources can be spent on county listing, there is also a great deal of value we have gained from these citizen scientists in the thousands of new county records that are collected. We have improved our knowledge of bird distribution in the state thanks to the hundreds of people who have submitted new sightings in pursuit of building their own county lists.

To achieve the kinds of numbers shown above requires a heavy commitment of time and money. The potential environmental impact, i.e. gasoline consumption, has been mentioned by many sources and should not be ignored. While competitive birding does have a certain appeal to some birders, there are other options: a big county list/year, a big yard list/year and there have even been "green" big years (BIGBY - Big Green Big Year) where birders only count birds that they've seen by walking or biking to birding destinations.  - Chuck Otte, KSBIRDS Webmaster

Updated March 2018

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