“The list total isn’t important, but the birds themselves are important. Every bird you see. So the list is a frivolous incentive for birding, but the birding itself is worthwhile. It’s like a trip where the destination doesn’t have any significance except for the fact that it makes you travel. The journey is what counts. ”

-Rich Stallcup, Birding legend, as quoted by Kenn Kaufman in Kingbird Highway

I  will probably never see 28 life birds on a single trip in North America again. I have birded some of the Meccas of birding, my home state of California, southern Arizona and Texas and finally southern Florida. To see this many new birds, I would have to go to the farthest reaches of Alaska (and be extremely lucky), or have an incredible migrant fallout in Cape May, or travel to another country.

To celebrate this haul of birds I wanted to sketch each bird, because I believe that to sketch something you attain a deeper understanding of it and you really internalize the shape, color, feather patterns and contours of each bird. As source material I used photographs, drawings, and field guides. For these pages I designed a unifying theme, using overlapping cartouches to list the life bird number, date, location, and time.

Florida page 2

This spread documents an amazing morning of birding with a Michigan snowbirder named Dave.We birded Babcock-Webb WMA and Prairie/Shell Creek Preserve.

2 thoughts on “Lifers

  1. Hi John, I’m always happy to help fellow birders. Nice to met you and enjoying your blog. Thanks for sending me an e-mail.
    Snowbird, Dave


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