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. In March 2017 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 who continues to keep it updated today. 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 Mark Land keeps on the reported county list totals.
Listed in all 105 counties
in 105 counties
|Birder||Year||Total current county species|
in 105 counties
in 105 counties
Listed in 75 or more counties.
|75 species in 75 counties or more||counties||Total county species|
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|
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|
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 2017
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