Date: 9/29/18 5:53 pm
From: Anderson, Leif E -FS <leanderson...>
Subject: Finding birding locations in other states... Yup, it's long
Greetings Glen and all,
Sorry for the late reply to the thread about finding birding locations.

I'm just back from a wildfire assignment in OR. Didn't have my bincos with me so it was mostly by ear, while working. I found 69 species that were new to me in OR. Most I figured out, but I did have an intriguing/frustrating group of passerine-sounding birds flying off the ocean, on a moonless night. No clue what they were.

As many of you know, when I'm not counting birds for science, I'm into total-ticking North America. Some of you might even call me a rabid birder.
Birding Pals, guides, and tour groups can be great, but sometimes we're the ones doing the organizing and just birding by ourselves. The world is a wonderful place and full of birding spots.

Finding places to visit.

State societies:
I try to join a state society if I have time. On the web they may be listed under Audubon; or Ornithological Societies or Unions. Many will have birding locations and checklist on their websites and also have state meetings or festivals.

I visit the American Birding Assoc website -

Under "Featured" "Publications" I look for "ABA Birder's Guides" which takes you by link to Buteo Books ( Not only does this site have ABA guides but a ton of other birding books. (A dangerous place if like me, you love birding book.)

Under "Featured" "Birding News" This is a list of birding listservers from across the US, and the world. You won't be able to post a message but you can peruse through them. Can click on an individual post or click "View page in digest form ("Siler Style")" to scroll through the most recent posts. Sometimes can see emails of the people that posted, and these might be a possible contact.
Can also click "List archives" to see more posts

ABA members can also search for other members that might be willing to share info or even bird with you.

Looking for a specific bird: then "Explore" "Species Map" Enter a species. Refine your search by "location" or "Date" if you want. You can zoom by using the + or - symbols. Or by clicking the box that contains a magnifying glass. Then click, holding as you draw a rectangle on an area in the map. The squares with shades of purple will have records in eBird, with the darker purple being the highest frequency. Keep zooming in till you see individual locations. You can then click on the tear drop shape and it will show the checklist. You can also click "explore hotspot" to see a lot more detail then "get directions" to get the most important info...gps coordinates.
Example: I want to see a nemesis bird...White-tailed Ptarmigan and I don't care where. So I type in the species and see them ranging from Alaska to NM, and CO looks pretty good. I zoom in there and see a bunch of locations. Some with more recent or larger records than others. I keep exploring and find that Mt Evans or Loveland Pass in late July are better than average.

Looking for birding locations within a specific state: then "Explore" "Explore Regions" This gives you a list of "last seen", "First seen" "High counts" and "Bar charts" of the area. It also lists the most recent, top eBirders, top counties and top hot spots.
If I know I'm going to a state but I don't know where:
Example: Say I'm going to Portland. I find that Portland, is in Cumberland county, and that it's the #1 county in Maine with 375 species. If I now click on Cumberland I'd see the various species list, the recent visits, the top birders and the top hotspots. I'd then see that 3 of the top 5 hot spots are on the Scarborough Marsh and another big spot is the Gilsland Farm Audubon Center.

Looking for a specific bird, within a specific state: then "Explore" "Bar Charts" Click a state. You can fine tune this search for counties, hotspots, IBAs or BCRs. I usually start with "entire region" and "continue". This gives me a list of all the species of a state and when they occur. This allows me to look at occurrence dates for a broad group of species, like ducks or shorebirds. It also shows me if there any lifers possible. Then I use the above 2 ways to explore in detail.
Example: Say I'm looking at the Maine checklist and I see Bicknell's Thrush. I also see that it is uncommon to rare and the best time would be June week 1 through July week 2. Now I explore the "species map" looking at Maine in June-July. I zoom into the dark purple and see many spots, including Baxter SP. I now know when and where, and that hiking gear and insect repellant, as well as, learning the Bicknell's song and habitat, will all be important to success.

eBird Target Species and Alerts:
You can also set these so you get an email about specific birds or locations as they show-up in eBird.

Exploring tips:
GPS locations: These might be a generalized location, but are essential for finding the lesser known birding locations. You can get them from eBird, Google Earth, or maybe your phone.
Sensitive Species: To protect a sensitive species not all records show-up (particularly rails & owls), or if they do show up it will be a generalized area. So you'll need a knowledge of their habitats, to get you birding in the right spot. Example: You might have seen that Long-eared Owls were on a checklist from a spot in KS. That might narrow it down to 100,000 acres, so you'd need to know that they like dense pine or cedar stands to roost in.
Homework: With just an evening's research you can find lots of information about places to bird. I find that to maximize the precious hours of birding time, I may spend 5-15 evenings of homework. I easily spend more time on preparing then on actually birding.
Hot spotting: I always plan for the unexpected. If I think I only have time to visit 3 spots, then I plan for 10, as backups. Things happen, and maybe your desired spot is under construction or the lake is now dry. Hope for the best and plan for the worst.

I have a bunch website addresses for state societies, that I can give you. I also have many state bird finding guidebooks that I can loan you, if you want. Questions, just holler.

Leif at Hector

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