NANFA-- Listing of Fishes

Mark Otnes (
Wed, 27 Dec 2000 19:13:54 -0600

The Audubon Society has their famous Christmas counts and they take place
within a ten mile radius of a given spot and the objective is to tally the
total number of individual birds and the number of species within the given
area with a 24-hour period. They are a lot of fun and it's amazing what you
can turn up with a little bit of effort. This a year a friend and I found
26 species in our sector during a subzero day during a snow storm. Its the
best we had ever done in our area.

The Christmas counts become competitive on a regional and national level.
The big-boys nationally are the found along the Gulf Coast of Texas and in
coastal central and southern California. Texas usually comes out on top,
and they usually have a count topping 220 species. Cocoa Florida used to
contend with Texas and California for top honors prior to the 1970's, but
with the subsequent development and habitat deterioration, they are now
lucky to top 170 species.

The American Birding Association (ABA) keeps all sorts of official lists.
They have what they call a big day for a state. Here you have a team of up
to four people who pick whatever day they want and they go all over that
state and try to tally as many species as possible. They're adventures are
published by the ABA. Texas, California, and New Jersey are the top states.
New Jersey actively recruits big name birders from all over the county to
form teams and come to the state, so they end up with some really good

ABA also keeps official county, country, and ABA area (North America,
Australasia, etc.) lists.

My experience with listing is that it gets you to go out and search areas
you normally wouldn't check out. I also found that it was possible to get
too obsessed with listing and it could take away from the pleasure of
birding (one of the main reasons I burned out on it).

Mark Otnes
Fargo ND

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