Friday, September 17, 2010

Increasing Motivation


I'm a big fan of e-bird. (If you don’t know the site, go to and take a look.) It gives me a very easy way to keep track of all the birds I see and it even keeps a list for me of my sightings state by state. Also, by showing charts of which birds normally appear at which sites in each week of the year, it helps me to plan birding trips.

It has a lot of features that I've never used, though. For example, when I looked at my home page on the site yesterday, I noticed that there is a heading that says “County”. I clicked on this and, lo and behold, it produced totals and lists of all the species I’ve seen in the USA broken down into counties as well as states.

According to ebird, since I started using the site, I’ve seen 220 species in Harris County, 153 in Galveston County and 120 in Brazoria County. I’m close to the 100 species mark in two other Texas counties: 93 in Chambers and 91 in Fort Bend.

Now, I set myself birding goals each year. Not because I really care about how many different species I see, but because it’s one way to motivate me to get out and watch birds – even when I’m tired and even when it’s 94F and humid. My normal goals are to see more species than I did last year, and to add to my life list of US birds.

After looking at e-bird, I’m going to add another goal for this year: To take my Chambers and Fort Bend County lists to 100 species. This should give me an added incentive to get off my butt and go birding – and should also get me exploring sites that I don’t normally visit.


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