Listmania

By Hugh Powell
June 18, 2008
top 120 list of common bird species
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Thanks to everyone who’s contributed to our top-120 list of common bird species. In just the last five days we’ve received 184 suggestions representing 109 species (counting some suggestions at DC Birding). To make that mass of names a little easier to envision, I’ve put them into a word cloud for you: In the picture above, the size of a species’ name represents how many times you’ve suggested it.

(Update #5: now incorporating 224 species, 794 suggestions – thanks! If you’re finding the fine print hard to read, click on the image for a larger version.)

So – is anything glaringly missing? Should Red-winged Blackbird really be so small – or Townsend’s Warbler so large? Has your part of the continent so far escaped notice? For example (ahem, Coloradoans, Wyomites, Oregonians), does anyone want to nominate Mountain Bluebird, Juniper Titmouse, Pinyon Jay? You’ll notice that Texans, Floridians, and Alaskans have already spoken up for commonplaces of their regions, such as Black-crested Titmouse, Boreal Chickadee, Orange-crowned Warbler, and White Ibis.

I’m amazed at how quickly the commenters zeroed in on many of the really common birds, getting particularly good coverage of the East. But I think there are plenty more to be added, or perhaps just refined (i.e., is Double-crested Cormorant really on a par with Canada Goose or Common Grackle?). Or perhaps you think some of these birds are too specialized for a “common birds” ID tool? These are some of the issues we’re pondering here at Sapsucker Woods, along with questions like should we include waterfowl? coastal birds? nocturnal birds? What do you think?