Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Year's birding resolutions for 2013

Today was the beginning of the new year, and like many other birders I have made a few goals for the year. After completing a "big year" my goals will be a little bit lower key than last year!

1) Spending more time studying the birds. Often when out birding, my technique can often be summed up like this. See fluttering movement. Move binoculars up to see bird. Bam! Identify it. Move on to the next bird, and repeat. It is easy for me to get into the trap of only viewing the bird for as long as necessary to ID it and then continue on. This can lead to the dangerous trap of over-confidence with identification, and it can also lead to a lack of appreciation of the bird's behaviour, habitat, and other things apart from identification. I will try to force myself to actually spend time sitting still and watching the birds and their behaviours. With some types of birds (like shorebirds and gulls) I do spend a lot of time studying them, but I don't do that enough with Passerines (a.k.a. tree birds, grass birds, and bush birds). I think it will ultimately make me a better birder.

2) Not worrying about the chase as much. For the first time since I've started birding, I am not going to chase birds simply to add them to a year list. I will still keep track of my year list (I like keeping relatively detailed notes), and I may even still hit 300 again next year in Ontario if I do a lot of birding but I'm not going to try for a big year list at all. Instead I will put in more time checking areas closer to home and trying to find my own birds. That is not to say I won't chase birds - it is still a thrill I enjoy and I am keen to add new birds to my Ontario list and some local lists (Hamilton, Point Pelee, Wellington County, etc). Obviously I have nothing against chasing birds for a year list (considering what I spent all of 2012 doing), but I just am a bit sick of that and want to change my approach in the new year!

3). Bird more thoroughly in smaller areas. Often in the past I would spend a whole day birding along the entire Lake Erie shoreline from Point Pelee to Long Point in one day, for example. I think that this year, I will try to bird smaller areas more thoroughly, for several reasons. First of all, you will see a greater percentage of the birds in an area doing this. I personally think that your chances of finding a rare bird is better with this strategy. Secondly, it will cut down on time spent driving! I think that my pocketbook, my back and knees, and my car will appreciate that :)

4) Broaden my scope to include other organisms other than birds again. I used to be really big on the "herp scene" before birds took over. I'm looking foward to doing more herping this year! Additionally, I am going to focus more on other groups of organisms to broaden my scope as someone who is ecologically minded.

5) Get back into photography! I don't just mean half decent/blog filler type photos, but I am going to focus on getting high quality photos more often this year and go on more outings particularly to get photos. Of course, I will need a camera to do this so hopefully I can buy one soon.

Happy new years everyone!


JM said...

Those are some great goals for the year Josh. I'm looking forward to seeing some of those photos. Have a great beginning to the new year!

Walter Fisher said...

Hey Josh, just wanted to jump in here and congratulate you on your amazing adventure in 2012, really enjoyed following along on your blog. Best of luck in 2013! Walter (aka Bluffs Birder), Scarborough.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jeremy and Walter.