Archive for the 'Bird Word' Category

Bird Word: Month List

Month list: a list of all the bird species seen by a birder in a particular month.

I am a self confessed list maker.

  • I make lists of things to do.
  • I make lists of things I’ve done.
  • I make lists of things I have.
  • I make lists of things I’d like.
  • I make lists of places I’ve been.
  • I make lists of places I’d like to visit.
  • I make lists of books I’ve read.
  • I make lists of…

I think you get the picture.

It’s almost (sic) an obsessive, compulsive thing.

Birding lists:

Birding was made for people like me. So many lists can be made in the pursuit of this hobby. I can make all kinds of lists:

  • A list of birds seen each day.
  • A list of birds seen each week.
  • A list of birds seen each month (a month list).
  • A list of birds seen in each year (a year list).
  • A list of birds seen in my lifetime ( a life list).
  • A list of birds seen in each location I visit to go birding (a site list).
  • A list of birds seen on television, or on films.
  • A list of birds for each state I have visited (a state list).
  • A list of birds for each country I’ve been ( a country list).
  • I can even make a list of BIRDS I HAVE NOT SEEN YET.


When I bought a specialised database for my bird records I was in heaven. All these lists now meant something – they had a purpose. I joyfully add new data to this ultimate list of lists. The computer can generate for me any kind of list I want in seconds.

  • A list of every time I’ve seen a particular species.
  • A list month by month or year by year for a location.
  • A list of places I’ve been birding.
  • A total list of all the birds I’ve ever seen.
  • A list of dates I’ve been birding.
  • Etc.
  • Etc.

I don’t think I’m sick – just a tad obsessed.

Further Reading:

Bird Word: migration

Migration: the regular seasonal or annual movement of a species from one area to another.

Some birds are resident in an area the year round. For example, the Australian Magpies in our garden are here all the time. They have a territory of several hectares that they defend with great enthusiasm, especially during the nesting season. “Our” magpies would rarely venture more than a few hundred metres from our garden.

Australian Magpie

Australian Magpie

Other species move around over a much wider home range. The White Winged Choughs around here are not in our garden or even nearby every day. The pass through our property every day or so; some weeks we see them every day while sometimes they may not visit for three or four days. Their movements are not migration; their home range or territory is far larger than the local magpies, perhaps ten or more hectares in size.

White Winged Choughs

White Winged Choughs

Some species we only see in the summer time. Rainbow Bee-eaters are a good example of this. During the cooler winter months they migrate to warmer places in northern Australia. In summer they migrate south and we have recorded them nesting on our property on a few occasions.

Rainbow Bee eater

Rainbow Bee eater

Click on the photos to enlarge the image.

More explanations of the meanings of words  to do with birds can be found in my Glossary of Birding words.

Bird Word: Mandibles

  • Mandibles: the two parts of a bird’s beak, namely, the upper mandible and the lower mandible.

Bird beaks come in a variety of sizes and shapes and they are used in many different ways. Some are long and pointed such as a honeyeater beak that probes flowers for the nectar. Others are flat and and wide, like a spoonbill which enables the bird to sift through the mud looking for food. Parrots have curved, sharp and powerful beaks used for cracking open food like seeds and nuts. Hawks have pointed beaks that enable them to tear open their prey.

Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch

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

Updated Glossary of Bird Words

I’ve just done a major updating of my Glossary Of Bird Words.

This glossary contains a list of nearly 80 words and phrases that are used by birders. Many of these are not well known by non-birders. When you go to the Glossary it will contain a simple explanation of each word or phrase. By clicking on the words highlighted in colour the link takes you to an article about that word or phrase.

I am progressively working through the list posting articles about these words and phrases. I’m just over half way through so not all words have an article about them – yet. These will appear regularly on this blog over the coming months.

The Glossary can be accessed at any time by going to the contents section on the sidebar.