Do you have a favorite bird? Countless times that question has been posed to birders, usually by non-birders or relative newcomers to birdwatching. This innocuous inquiry is an almost impossible question to answer. The more one learns about any species the more fascinating it becomes, and the more questions arise resulting in a deeper appreciation of the uniqueness of that bird.

Most birders have had an exciting bird encounter that directed them to books to find an explanation or description that further enriched the experience. Without exception, this is true of all species, making the selection of a favorite just about impossible. The greater your experience with birds the greater your difficulty in selecting just one favorite.

Many birders prefer certain groups or families of birds. Some love warblers because of their bright colors while others prefer raptors with their dashing attacks on mammals, birds, or other prey. Some even prefer the more difficult groups such as gulls, shorebirds, or sparrows for the identification challenges they offer.

While it is not uncommon for a professional ornithologist to concentrate on one group of birds such as swifts, hummingbirds, or gulls, it is very uncommon to find a birder who is only interested in a single group of birds. Those who do, tend to concentrate on the more scientific aspects of their choice. Concentrating on one group allows the non-professionally trained individual to make valuable contributions to the scientific community. However, the vast majority of birders enjoy most groups of birds with as many reasons as there are individuals.

Who cannot marvel at hundreds of American White Pelicans circling low overhead while listening to the swooshing of their fixed, unmoving wings, slicing the air? Who can fail to get excited listening to a flock of bugling, rattling Sandhill Cranes lifting off a field on a crisp November morning? Who cannot be impressed by the fine feather detail and intricate pattern on a closely observed Townsends Warbler in early May? Who can remain calm and collected when viewing a Red-faced Warbler or Cerulean Warbler in Inyo knowing they are not supposed to occur here?

While it may be impossible for most birders to list one favorite bird, they will have no trouble answering the question What are your favorite birding experiences? Be ready for a lengthy response!

Tags: , , , ,

To conserve and restore natural ecosystems.