I used to keep a life list but got tired of the constant combining and separating of species with the consequent reduction and increase in life list numbers. Besides, I believe in improving habitat, citizen science, and observing and learning about birds, rather than just running around the countryside for the sole purpose of lengthening a list. But I have a confession to make: I have started a list solely for the purpose of running around the countryside to lengthen that list... and it's all my friend Dawn's fault.
Dawn is a relatively new birder... and a lister... which means she doesn't have a huge long life list yet. It's fun to bird with Dawn and after the first time we saw a bird together that she had never seen before and I saw how excited she got, I was hooked. So my new list is: Dawn's life birds that I've helped her find.
Last night we added Short-eared Owl to her life list. She said that was the sixth life bird I'd led her to. How fun! But, since I don't bother to write anything down, I didn't remember the others. So she sent me a list, complete with dates and places where we saw them. Dawn is organized. I've added photos of the ones I took photos of more or less successfully.
Ferruginous Hawk - 4 Nov 2012 (field in Yamhill Cnty)
Prairie Falcon - 23 Jan 2014 (Baskett Slough, Polk Cnty)
Yellow-throated Warbler - 29 Jan 2014 (Charlotte's house, Marion Cnty)
Lewis's Woodpecker - 29 Jan 2014 (near Ankeny NWR, Marion Cnty)
Horned Lark - 28 Feb 2014 (Livermore Rd, Polk Cnty)
Short-eared Owl - 8 Mar 2014 (McLagan Rd, Linn Cnty)
Besides the above, Dawn says I helped her id, over the phone, her very first Rough-legged Hawk 26 Oct 2012 (Salmon River, Lincoln Cnty)
Update, Sept. 2014: Dawn has been finding life birds on her own since I wrote the above. But we just went to Bandon together for the Oregon Birding Association annual meeting and she picked up two more, Pacific Golden Plover and Blackpoll Warbler. Since I drove, she says I get credit for helping her get them, although I never even saw her Blackpoll Warbler.
That trip made me decide to keep yet another list: all the birds I have photographed and identified on my own. I'm afraid that one will be a very short list.
Update, Oct. 2015: I drove Dawn to Yachats where we found a bird neither of us had ever seen before: Common Ground Dove. To tell the truth, I'd never even heard of it. It is the size of a sparrow.