Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal

A Birding Life List is a comprehensive list of all wild birds an individual has seen in person. A truly comprehensive Life List will include the bird’s common name, scientific name, date, location, and any additional notes (e.g. tree the bird was found, weather conditions, on a feeder, etc.). Following is my Birding Life List. This list has been pulled from a few of my own non-comprehensive lists that I kept before I even knew people kept birding journals and Life Lists, so much of the information that would be found on a comprehensive list is missing. I may add this information to my list below from this point on. We will see.

(see my previous article on the Benefits of Birding for Permaculturists)

My current Birding Life List total is: 261

Chipping Sparrow

Chipping Sparrow 


Growing up in the southern tip of Florida gave me the opportunity to see a lot of birds. Some are found all over the United States, some are found only in the eastern United States, some are migratory that just enjoy the Florida Winters, and some are only found in South Florida. I also lived in Kentucky for a number of years and in Minnesota for four years as well. I have travelled to almost every state in the United States, and I have done a little traveling in Canada and Mexico. Many of these birds are as familiar to me as the back of my hand, and I consider them old friends.

  1. Common Loon (Gavia immer), Summer in Minnesota while in medical school (2004-2007) and Vermont (year?)
  2. Pied-Billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), 13 December 2015, Beaver Lake Bird Sanctuary, Asheville, North Carolina
  3. American Coot (Fulica americana), South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  4. Common Gallinule (Gallinula galeata), South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  5. Purple Gallinule (Porphyrio martinicus), South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  6. American Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  7. Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus), South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  8. Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) Eastern Unites States and I believe in the Azores as well
  9. Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) multiple locations around the world, almost all have been introduced/naturalized
  10. Tundra (Whistling) Swan (Cygnus columbianus), Minnesota while in medical school (2004-2007)
  11. Snow Goose (Chen caerulescens), one late Summer/early Fall when I lived in Bowling Green, KY
  12. Canada Goose (Branta canadensis), frequently in Minnesota while in medical school (2004-2007), frequently in other locations, mating pair on our pond in Spring of 2015.
  13. American Black Duck
  14. Mallard
  15. Wood Duck
  16. Northern Shoveler
  17. Muscovy
  18. Redhead
  19. White Pelican South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  20. Brown Pelican South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  21. Ring-Billed Gull South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  22. Greater Black-Backed Gull South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  23. Royal Tern South Florida (numerous times, this is where I grew up)
  24. Caspian Tern
  25. Common Tern
  26. Black Skimmer
  27. Great Blue Heron
  28. Little Blue Heron
  29. Great Egret (Great White American Egret)
  30. Snowy Egret
  31. Cattle Egret
  32. Black-Crowned Night Heron
  33. Yellow-Crowned Night Heron
  34. Green Heron
  35. Least Bittern
  36. American Bittern
  37. Wood Stork
  38. Whooping Crane
  39. Sandhill Crane
  40. Limpkin
  41. White Ibis
  42. Roseate Spoonbill
  43. American Flamingo
  44. Ruddy Turnstone
  45. American Woodcock
  46. Common Snipe
  47. Killdeer
  48. Wild Turkey
  49. Ringed-Neck Pheasant
  50. Common Bobwhite
  51. Snail Kite
  52. Red-Tailed Hawk
  53. Red-Shouldered Hawk
  54. Cooper’s Hawk
  55. Sharp-Shinned Hawk
  56. Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus). Autumn and Winter at BK*
  57. Bald Eagle
  58. Golden Eagle
  59. Osprey
  60. California Condor
  61. Turkey Vulture
  62. Black Vulture
  63. American Kestrel
  64. Peregrine Falcon
  65. Burrowing Owl
  66. Barn Owl (Tyto alba), Autumn 2015 at BK*
  67. Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), August 2016, Northern Vermont. Voice only. March 2017, Greene County (Laughlin Memorial Hospital)
  68. Budgerigar
  69. Monk Parakeet
  70. Mourning Dove
  71. Rock Dove
  72. Ground Dove
  73. White-Winged Dove
  74. Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto), February 2017, Park City, Utah
  75. Mangrove Cuckoo
  76. Greater Roadrunner
  77. Common Nighthawk
  78. Chuck-Will’s-Widow (Antrostomus carolinensis), Spring at BK*. Voice only.
  79. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
  80. Belted Kingfisher
  81. Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus), Autumn at BK*
  82. Red-Bellied Woodpecker
  83. Downy Woodpecker
  84. Hairy Woodpecker
  85. Northern Flicker
  86. Eastern Kingbird
  87. Western Kingbird
  88. Great Crested Flycatcher
  89. Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus), fence in Texas on cross-country trip
  90. Alder Flycatcher (Empidonax alnorum), August 2016, stream bed leading to Lake Seymour, Vermont
  91. Eastern Phoebe
  92. Barn Swallow
  93. Tree Swallow
  94. White-Rumped Swift
  95. American Crow
  96. Northern Raven
  97. Blue Jay
  98. Scrub Jay
  99. Stellar’s Jay
  100. Black-Billed Magpie
  101. Carolina Chickadee
  102. Black-Capped Chickadee
  103. Tufted Titmouse
  104. Red-Breasted Nuthatch
  105. White-Breasted Nuthatch
  106. Carolina Wren
  107. Golden-Crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa), April 2017, Appalachian Trail near Roan Mountain, TN. Walking the trail with Elijah.
  108. Brown Thrasher
  109. Gray Catbird
  110. Northern Mockingbird
  111. Eastern Bluebird
  112. Mountain Bluebird
  113. American Robin
  114. Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus), December 2016, BK*
  115. Wood Thrush (Hylocichla mustelina), April 2017, BK* (Voice only)
  116. Loggerhead Shrike
  117. Cedar Waxwing
  118. Red-Winged Blackbird
  119. Brown-Headed Cowbird
  120. Rusty Blackbird
  121. Common Grackle
  122. Boat-Tailed Grackle
  123. Eastern Meadowlark
  124. Western Meadowlark
  125. European Starling
  126. Baltimore Oriole
  127. Spotted Oriole
  128. Scarlet Tanager
  129. Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra), 11 May 2016, BK*.
  130. House Sparrow
  131. Dark-Eyed Junco
  132. Northern Cardinal
  133. House Finch
  134. Purple Finch
  135. Cassin’s Finch
  136. American Goldfinch
  137. Indigo Bunting
  138. Blue Grosbeak
  139. Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
  140. Eastern Towhee
  141. Spotted Towhee
  142. Chipping Sparrow
  143. Field Sparrow
  144. Swamp Sparrow
  145. Song Sparrow
  146. White-Throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis), 18 Dec 2015, BK*, Downhill of Arrowhead Pond.
  147. Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia), August 2016, on Lake Seymour , Vermont. First spotted by my 5-year-old daughter, Abigail!
  148. Myrtle Warbler (Setophaga coronata coronata), Winter 2016, BK*, outside the big house
  149. Palm Warbler (Setophaga palmarum), Winter 2015, Orlando, Florida
  150. Pine Warbler (Setophaga pinus), April 2017, BK*, outside the big house
  151. Prairie Warbler (Setophaga discolor), August 2016, BK*, in the Elderberry patch on the edge of the pasture behind the barn

Prairie Warbler (male) at the Bauernhof Kitsteiner


Prairie Warbler (female) at the Bauernhof Kitsteiner

 *BK = Bauernhof Kitsteiner. This is our family farm in northern Greene County in East Tennessee.



I had the opportunity to travel a little bit through a few countries in Central America, and I spend almost a full week at Manuel Antonio National Park in southwestern Costa Rica. I also spent about a week in southern Brazil. I was not very focused on birding during this time in my life, but I did take note of a few memorable birds. I will update this list as I have time to go back through my photos and notes.

  1. Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis)
  2. Gray-headed Tanager (Eucometis penicillata)


I tried for almost 2 years to get a good photo of this albino female House Sparrow when I lived in the Azores... this is the best I could get!

I tried for almost 2 years to get a good photo of this albino female House Sparrow when I lived in the Azores… this is the best I could get!


These birds were spotted during my two years living in the Azores. As with all other places I have been, I saw many more species of bird, but I was unable to identify them. The only bird I have on this list that I have not identified for certain is the Azores Bullfinch. I place it on the list because I am almost certain I saw one when driving through its very small territory… an area just over 2.2 square miles (5.8 square kilometers). It is the second most endangered bird in Europe. I would say I am 90% certain I saw it, but that is not enough for me without an explanation.
The italicized and non-numbered list are of birds mentioned, and counted, above.

  1. Atlantic Canary (Serinus canaria)
  2. Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris aurantiiventris)
  3. European Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis parva)
  4. Azores Bullfinch (Pyrrhula murina)?
  5. Common Waxbill (Estrilda astrild)
  6. Azores Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs moreletti)
  7. Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla gularis)
  8. Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea patriciae)
  9. European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
  10. Common Azores Blackbird (Turdus merula azorensis)
  11. Azores Starling (Sturnus vulgaris granti)
  12. Azores Wood Pigeon (Columba palumbus azorica)
  13. Azores Common Quail (Coturnix c. conturbans)
  14. Eurasian Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus correiana)
  15. Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra)
  16. Roseate Tern (Sterna dougalli)
  17. Cory’s Shearwater (Calonectris diomedea)
  18. Great Shearwater (Puffinis gravis)
  19. Yellow-legged Gull (Larus michahellis atlantis)
  20. Black-headed Gull (Larus ridibundus)
  21. Greylag Goose (Anser anser)
  22. Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis)
  23. Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
  24. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
  25. Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo rothschildi)


  • House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)
  • Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)
  • Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)
  • Mallard (Anas platyrhyunchos)
  • Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
  • Great White Egret 
  • Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)
  • Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)



Due to my time in the Air Force, I spent a decent amount of time in England and central and western Europe. I never lived there, but I was able to travel quite a bit. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to focus on birding as much as I would have liked. I will update this list as I have a bit more time.
The italicized and non-numbered list are of birds mentioned, and counted, above.

  1. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
  • European Robin (Erithacus rubecula)
  • European Starling



I lived in south-central Turkey for two years. While it is considered part of Asia, it is definitively part of the Middle East and Mediterranean. While I saw a lot of birds, I had a very difficult time finding a good guide book to identify them. Unfortunately, I think I may never know the identity of all the birds I saw during my time there. Wikipedia has a decent list of Turkish birds. I need to go through them and see if I can find any others I have seen.

  1. Hoopoe (Upupa epops)
  2. Hooded Crow (Corvus cornix)
  3. Black-Eared Wheatear (Oenanthe hispanica)
  4. Black-Headed Bunting (Emberiza melanocephala)
  5. European Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur)
  6. Laughing Dove (Spilopelia senegalensis)
  7. Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)


The Lilac-Breasted Roller... probably the most beautiful bird I have ever seen in real life.

The Lilac-Breasted Roller… probably the most beautiful bird I have ever seen in real life.


Back in 2007, I spent 4 weeks working at an HIV mission hospital in Nigeria. I then took another two weeks to travel through southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, and Mozambique). I was into birding then, and kept a pretty good list. I got rather excited when I saw a new species. The other people in my group (there were five of us total) were not that interested in birds, but they would jump up when I would exclaim, “Oh, wow!” only to be disappointed it was “just a bird” when they were expecting a lion or rhino. They made me promise not to be excited out loud unless it was a mammal. I was fine enjoying the birds on my own.
The italicized and non-numbered list are of birds mentioned, and counted, above.

  1. Crested Francolin
  2. Natal Francolin
  3. Swainsons Spurfowl (Francolin)
  4. Common Quail
  5. Small Buttonquail
  6. Red-Crested Korhaan
  7. Bronze-Winged Courser
  8. Spotted Thick-Knee
  9. Blacksmith Lapwing (Plover)
  10. Kori Bustard
  11. Common Ostrich
  12. African or Jackass Penguin
  13. Giant Kingfisher
  14. Malachite Kingfisher
  15. Brown-Hooded Kingfisher
  16. Green-Backed Heron
  17. Purple Heron
  18. Goliath Heron
  19. African Darter
  20. White-Breasted Cormorant
  21. Marabou Stork
  22. Saddle-Billed Stork
  23. Glossy Ibis
  24. Egyptian Goose
  25. Hammerkop
  26. African Jacana
  27. African Goshawk
  28. African Fish Eagle
  29. African Black Swift
  30. Cape Vulture
  31. Bateleur
  32. Secretarybird
  33. Cape Crow
  34. Pied Crow
  35. White-Necked Raven
  36. Arrow-Marked Babbler
  37. Forked-Tailed Drongo
  38. Burchell’s Coucal
  39. Cape Turtle Dove
  40. Emerald-Spotted Wood Dove
  41. Cape Wagtail
  42. Great Sparrow
  43. African Grey Hornbill
  44. Red-Billed Hornbill
  45. Southern Yellow-Billed Hornbill
  46. Trumpeter Hornbill
  47. Southern Ground Hornbill
  48. Common or Black-Eyed Bulbul
  49. Grey Go-Away-Bird or Grey Lourie
  50. Speckled Mousebird
  51. Tawny-Flanked Prinia
  52. Ashy Tit
  53. Southern Black Tit
  54. African Black-Headed Oriole
  55. Blue Waxbill
  56. Red-Headed Finch
  57. Mocking Chat
  58. Helmeted Guineafowl
  59. Burchell’s Starling
  60. Cape Glossy Starling
  61. Greater Blue-Eared Glossy Starling
  62. Red-Billed Buffalo Weaver
  63. Common Fiscal or Shrike
  64. African Magpie Shrike
  65. Grey-Headed Bush Shrike
  66. Orange-Breasted Bush Shrike
  67. Brown-Headed Parrot
  68. Red-Billed Oxpecker
  69. White-Fronted Bee Eater
  70. African Paradise Flycatcher
  71. White-Bellied Sunbird
  72. Wire-Tailed Swallow
  73. White-Rumped Swift
  74. Sentinel Rock Thrush
  75. Lilac-Breasted Roller


  • Laughing Dove
  • Common Sparrow
  • Hoopoe
  • Cattle Egret
  • Great White Egret
  • Great Cormorant



I hope to visit this part of the world one day. Until then, I will just dream of Kiwis, Kookaburras, and Penguins!



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Photo References: All photos are mine (except the Lilac-Breasted Roller). If you would like to use them, please let me know!