Are you a “Serious Birder”?

“Serious Birder” isn’t a well-defined term but we can describe a few characteristics of one. Serious birding behavior can range widely:

  • Compiles a list of birds they’ve seen in Maryland by yard and county and by year.
  • Subscribes to various social media services and listservs to get the latest on unusual sightings. One example is to have eBird report rarities to your smartphone or birds you’re missing from your county list.
  • Quickly drops what they’re doing and drives long distance to see an unusual species.

Serious birders usually take part in most of the bird counts in their area, periodic atlasing projects, and generally get out to bird frequently. They have a wealth of knowledge about species in their area, recognize bird songs easily, and will more likely see and identify a rare species.

Reporting Unusual Species

Should you see, or think you’ve seen, a rare bird for Maryland, don’t hesitate to report it to follow birders to see via social media (MOS Facebook page, for example) but observe the tips below. If you’re relatively new to birding you might want to check your identification with a few birders in your area to make sure the bird isn’t some intermediate plumage, for example, during molting.

The MOS Records Committee may also like to hear from you. They provide a form for submitting your sightings as well as extensive guidance to help you fully document what you saw, including the list of species to report.

Tips for Managing Observations of Rare Birds

We’re sure you’d like to report your sightings to other birders in the area and give others an opportunity to see the bird. But before you take that step consider several questions.

  • First, will many additional people disturb the bird, especially if it’s nesting?
  • Secondly, if the bird is on private land will the property owner allow birders?

Managing access to the site can be challenging. From our collective years of experience, we’ve compiled an extensive set of tips that may assist discoverers of rare birds to optimize observation opportunities for others while maintaining goodwill with landowners and fellow birdwatchers.

Maryland’s Next 10 Bird Species – 3rd Edition

By Matt Hafner and Dave Powell

Welcome to the 3rd Edition of “Maryland’s Next 10 Bird Species”! It’s been 11 years since the 2nd Edition was published and the state has seen some great rarities and incredible surprises. The original was published in 2001 by Marshall Iliff, using only 15 votes. The second “Maryland’s Next 10 Bird Species” was published in 2009 by Matt Hafner and Bill Hubick and brought together 39 votes. The latest installment combines the votes of 48 Maryland (and a few out of state!) birders and is sure to inspire interesting discussion for years to come.

Since the 2009 list was published, Maryland birders have found 19 new species for the Maryland State List. How well will we do in the next ten years? Take a look below and see if you agree with the experts.

The Top Ten
# Species (# of 1st place votes) # of Lists
1 Little Egret (17) 38
2 Bar-tailed Godwit (2) 33
3 Kirtland’s Warbler (4) 32
4 MacGillivray’s Warbler (8) 30
5 Slaty-backed Gull (2) 21
6 White-winged Tern (2) 21
7 Garganey 17
8 Broad-tailed Hummingbird (2) 15
9 Black-tailed Godwit 14
10 Yellow-billed Loon (1) 13
The Runners Up
11 Red-billed Tropicbird (1) 12
12 Violet-green Swallow (1) 12
13 Prairie Falcon 10
14 Pacific Golden-Plover 10
15 Brewer’s Sparrow 9
The Honorable Mentions
16 Black-whiskered Vireo (1) 8
17 Yellow-green Vireo (1) 8
18 Cassin’s Kingbird 7
19 Common Ringed Plover 7
20 European Storm-Petrel 7
21 Elegant Tern 6
22 Brown Noddy 6
23 Bronzed Cowbird 6
24 Bermuda Petrel 6
25 Long-billed Murrelet 6
26 Lewis’s Woodpecker 6
27 Hooded Oriole 6
28 Clark’s Grebe (1) 5
29 Dusky Flycatcher (1) 5
30 Scott’s Oriole (1) 5
31 Brambling 5
32 Mottled Duck (1) 4
33 Zone-tailed Hawk 4
34 Band-tailed Pigeon 4
35 Buff-bellied Hummingbird 4
See the full list and write-up!