Bird Word: Lifer

  • Lifer: the first ever time that a birder sees a species of bird it is called a “lifer” or a “tick”.

When you are new to the world of birding and birdwatching, nearly every bird you see is a “lifer” or a new tick in your bird note book or field guide. As the years go by it becomes increasingly hard to find new birds to add to your list. To overcome this there are several courses of action:

  1. Take a holiday in a different part of the country. For example, when I go to Queensland I am sure I will have no trouble adding some 50 or more lifers to my life list. This is because I’ve never been there and there are quite a few birds best seen there (or are not seen anywhere else in Australia).
  2. Take a holiday in another country. When I went to Nepal in 2005 it was my first overseas trip (see my blog called Trevor’s Travels) so almost every bird I saw was a lifer. Great stuff.
  3. Enjoy the common birds. I take delight in even the most common of birds that surround my house and which I see every day. I get to know the regulars in my garden and my ears are easily tuned in to anything unusual or different.
  4. Give up. Start another hobby like stamp collecting… no – that’s not an option.
  • Check out other words and terms about birds and birding by going to my Glossary of Bird Words.
  • See also another article on this topic here.
Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon


8 Responses to “Bird Word: Lifer”

  1. […] bonuses to spending about a half hour talking to her. Two Superb Parrots flew overhead. This was a lifer* for me and one of the species I was keen to see on this trip. I also added Noisy Friarbird in the […]

  2. […] for our garden list – and a species that may never be recorded here again – it was also a “lifer” meaning I’d never seen this species before in my life. It was not as exciting as […]

  3. […] was the first of many “lifers” I saw on my trip. (“Lifers” = bird species seen for the very first time and so eligible to go on one’s “life […]

  4. […] barbatus. Although I was very pleased to see this bird, it couldn’t be counted as a “lifer“. I had previously seen the species in the Himalayas in […]

  5. […] Moments on this site. I saw a male Scarlet Honeyeater – for the very first time in my life! A “lifer”! This has been one species I have wanted to see for a long time but it has eluded me so far. What is […]

  6. […] far as I can tell from my memory and records, this sighting is a “lifer“, that is, it is the first time in my life I have seen this […]

  7. […] of the first species I saw was this Common Redstart, a new species for me. It posed nicely for me in clear […]

  8. […] I could see the two birds in question in the street tree a few metres away. Although they were high up in the tree, I had a clear view of them. i didn’t have my camera with me – it was in our locked car 30 metres away – nor did I have my binoculars – which were also in the car. It didn’t matter; I instantly identified the birds as┬áChannel-billed Cuckoos.┬áThis was the first time I had actually seen this species, so it counted as a lifer. […]

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