[TN-Bird] New U.S. Regional Total Ticks Lists on Surfbirds.com

  • From: kbreault <kbreault@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 12:32:48 -0800 (PST)

TN Birders:
As most of you know each year the American Birding Association publishes the 
"ABA Big Day and ABA List Report which allows members to list their totals for 
various listing games, e.g., ABA Area (in which you enter your total life list 
for the ABA Area), World (total life list for the World), Total Ticks (the sum 
of all the state and province lists, DC, and the French Territories just south 
of Newfoundland, with the exception of Hawaii).

Presumably, because of space/cost concerns many interesting lists are not 
included in the ABA publication.  To help fill that void the website, 
Surfbirds.com, includes many more listing games and today they have added nine 
more that should be of interest to total tickers and regional birders alike.  
In 
my annual, "Tennessee Birders by the Numbers" I have talked about the 
usefulness 
of having regional total ticks lists.  For example, in the 2007 version of 
"Tennessee Birders by the Numbers" I looked at what is known as the "East South 
Central Region" by the people at the US Census, including Alabama, Kentucky, 
Mississippi and Tennessee.  In the list I produced at that time, which only 
included results that met the ABA reporting thresholds for the states, Jeff 
Wilson was first with 1316 total birds followed by David Chaffin (1142) and 
Rick 
Waldrop (1064).

As of today, Surfbirds.com has now added new total ticks lists, covering each 
of 
the nine US Census Divisions:

New England Total Ticks (CT, ME, MA, NH, RI, VT)
Middle Atlantic Total Ticks (NJ, NY, PA)
East North Central Total Ticks (IN, IL, MI, OH, WI)
West North Central Total Ticks (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD)
South Atlantic Total Ticks (DE, DC, FL, GA, MD, NC, SC, VA, WV)
East South Central Total Ticks (AL, KY, MS, TN)
West South Central Total Ticks (AR, LA, OK, TX)
Mountain Total Ticks (AZ, CO, ID, NM, MT, UT, NV, WY)
Pacific Total Ticks (OK, CA, HI, OR, WA)

Of course, other regional divisions are possible and arguable.  For example, 
divisions could be made on the basis of species range distributions, or the 
distribution of birders (multi-state birding activity), or based not on states 
but counties in which large states would be divided (AL, CA GA, MI, MS, north 
and south; FL, KY, TN, NC, TX, VA, east and west, or even cultural divisions 
(what would that look like?), and some of the Census Divisions are not regional 
enough for my taste (the Mountain area, that goes from Arizona to Montana, is 
problematic, as is the inclusion of HI in the Pacific region because HI is not 
in the ABA Total Ticks area), but these are the regional divisions we now have, 
they follow ABAs focus on geography as the major factor, and they appear to 
have 
the most support.

These new lists have several advantages.  Among them is that some birders do 
not 
participate in the ABA's Total Ticks list because they bird more regionally 
(and 
note that the reporting threshold of ABA's Total Ticks is 4,000, pretty high 
for 
all but nationally experienced birders).  Another advantage is that even 
beginning birders can be involved because listing thresholds are not used--if 
you have seen only 100 or 43 or 1 bird in TN you can add that with your totals 
for the other states in the East South Central.  (I found myself adding 35 from 
Idaho for the Mountain area!)  Finally, listing with Surfbirds.com is entirely 
free although they would wecome your help.

Please note that these new lists are different from the regional life lists 
also on Surfbirds.com.  For example, to participate in the new lists you would 
add up your state totals, not the life list totals, for NJ, NY & PA if you 
wanted to add your results on the Middle Atlantic Total Ticks list.  And, very 
important, if you are interested in adding your results to the new total ticks 
lists be sure the title of the list you want says "Total Ticks" in the name, as 
indicated by the nine new lists above.

Finally, I added my own lists and ended up with a somewhat anemic 803 for the 
East South Central Total Ticks list that includes Tennessee (my highest was 
1590 
for the South Atlantic Total Ticks list).  I know many of you have much higher 
lists and I look forward to getting bounced from my #1 position!  One way to 
get 
to the listing pages on Surfbirds.com is to click "more lists" immediately 
below 
the "Life and Year Listers" on the home page.  If you are new to the site you 
will need to put in your email address and a password.  Let me know if you have 
any problems.  Have fun!

Good birding, totaling and surfing!

Kevin Breault
Brentwood, TN  
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