Date: 12/31/20 8:27 pm
From: Becky Lutz <000003b72781bbe2-dmarc-request...>
Subject: 2020 Goals Review
I had set 2 birding goals for 2020.
1. Bird all of the Franklin County Hotspots (where I live) at least once.
2. Make at least 1 eBird list a day for the whole year (figures I would pick a Leap Year).
At first thought, they sure sounded like a simple, could do this with my eyes closed challenge, but I was wrong. Shhhh....Don't tell my husband. Franklin County has 31 eBird hotspots…. 4 of them I had never birded, 5 hadn't been birded in 2 years, and 3 hadn't been birded in 3 years. I was excited thinking about checking out these new spots and hopefully adding new birds to these locations. Things started out great and I was already planning on how I could bird them at least twice this year if not quarterly. Three months into 2020 and I quickly did a rethink on that. Entering the last few months of the year I found myself with a couple handfuls of hotspots to go. How did that happen?! With 3 days before Christmas, I finally finished up the last 2 locations for my hotspot goal.
What about the list a day? I'd like to say it was an amazing daily adventure, but I can't. Some days were easy. I had no trouble making a list and sometimes even 2 or 3. Heck I even had a handful of days with 5-8 lists. There was a long stretch in the middle though where it felt more like a chore than fun, but I kept at it. I work 9a-9p, so I would usually do a list before I went to work, but a few times I'd pick up a 0630 shift, so that caused some refiguring. This daily list challenge provided me with a couple nocturnal lists, lunch break lists, and I even posted my first 0 birds seen/heard list. Nobody wants a skunked list, but it does add data, so it’s important. I finished my last day of 2020 with another yard list before I headed to work (picked up a New Year's Eve sounded like a good idea last week. Haha).
Here's some of my 2020 birding adventure stats. 780 total lists (366 day birding streak). 682 Missouri lists. 543 Franklin County lists. 359 lists from my home. I got 10 Lifers!! WOW!! This brings my total life list to 352. I got 12 Missouri lifers and 4 Franklin County lifers (including 2 first seens). I also added 10 new yard birds to my little 1/3 acre house in town bringing the total to 104. I was also able to observe and record Missouri's first breeding pair of Savannah Sparrows at my in-laws farm in Putnam County. How awesome is that?!! Despite the challenges and the ho-hum blahs for a bit there, I was able to successfully complete my goals. It definitely wasn't as easy as I thought it would be and it wasn't filled with as many spectacular rare bird lists as I had hoped, but that’s birding. What else could provide the thrill of the chase, the excitement of the find, and the jubilation of a fantastic photo of said sighting? The same thing that also provides plenty of lows. I’m reminded of the commercial of the guy with the fishing pole saying “oohhh, you almost had it. You gotta be quicker than that.” I’ve had more of those experiences than I care to count. Looking back over my year though, I was able to meet some nice like-minded folks, enjoy some beautiful locations, and see some pretty amazing birds. I mean it's not every day you get a Brown Booby in your back yard. Ok. It was in someone else's back yard, that was a 7 hr drive round trip away, but when it comes to birding, my backyard is your backyard, right?
Thank you to everyone that shared their sightings, expertise, and yards.
So, what’s my 2021 goal? Just to Keep on Birding!!

Becky Lutz
Washington, MO (Franklin County)

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