Enter 2015, Year of the Motorless List!

First, let me introduce you to my snappy new blog! I decided it was time for a makeover, especially in regard to my lists. If you are interested in my personal vanity, you can now see my updated Master List on a tab at the top of this site. It features updated (and finally accurate) taxonomy, as well as better record of where and when I saw and photographed each bird.

Joining it at the top of the page is the tab for my motorless exploits in 2015. Inspired by Flycatcher Jen, I originally set out to do this just as a new list to keep without any goals in mind. But as we get deeper into the new year and the list (slowly) builds, I find I am strategizing more and more about what I can see using only Gregpower.

Of the 269 species of birds recorded in Allen County, I split them up into five categories based on my likelihood of seeing them (I am only counting seen birds), taking into account what I have observed to be common as well as the habitats I am most likely to get to sans motor vehicle. They are:

Definite (57 species): All of the lay-up birds that I can see without any effort just by walking around my neighborhood or biking to work. This includes the usual suspects like all of the common eastern feeder birds, common waterfowl, the most common neotropic migrants (I’m looking at you, Red-Eyed Vireo), and a few birds that aren’t necessarily common but are always reliable in Fort Wayne, like Peregrine Falcon.

Likely (34 species): At the next level are the birds that aren’t gimmes but will require minimal effort to go find in the nearest woodlot at Foster Park. Included here are many migrants like Yellow Warbler, waterfowl like Wood Duck, and raptors like Bald Eagle that aren’t necessarily yard birds but easy to spot elsewhere.

Possible (73 species): The biggest group of birds are still not uncommon, but would require a good day out in the field away from the suburbs to go and spot. This list is primarily migrants like most of the shorebirds, most of the rest of the warblers, and many of the deepwater ducks. I also included some of the less common birds for Allen County that still might show up around home, like Northern Mockingbird. Common but irruptive birds like Red-Breasted Nuthatch are also here.

Lucky (60 species): The luck factor has two sides to it. The first is the birds that, while good to show up close to home, are not common. This includes Snowy Owl, Blue Grosbeak, and Black-Crowned Night Heron. The others are common birds that I would be lucky to get to without a vehicle. Most of the open-country birds like Bobolink, Wild Turkey, and Henslow’s Sparrow fall into this list just from the fact that I would need to bike an hour or more to get to where they can be found, and birding time will be at a premium for me this year.

Improbable (45 species): The last group of birds would be huge even if I was devoting all of my time and gasoline to finding them. Included here are all of those crazy county records like Varied Thrush, Boreal Chickadee, and Pacific Loon plus the least common irruptives like Evening Grosbeak.

With this overkill of a breakdown, I have set my goal at an even 100 species. I figure if I add up all of the Definite and Likely birds plus a few of the Possibles, I can get there knowing that I will miss some easy ones and stumble across some tough ones. As it stands today, I have 10 down with only 90 to go!

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