Well, that was quick. Only 11 hours into 2015 and we’ve got another new bird for the List. May I present to you the Common Goldeneye.

Barrow's Goldeneye

We saw this gal in Drakes Estero, Point Reyes. Some of your more interesting birds come with the name prefix “Common”, such as the brilliant and socially-adept Common Raven, or the Common Poorwill, which is one of the few birds known to hibernate. Being a “commoner” myself, I have no problem with the common birds. There are a bunch of them on my List now: Loon, Yellowthroat, Merganser, Murre, Wood-Pigeon. All Common, all good birds.

Now that the 2015 List is begun, let’s have a wrap-up of 2014, shall we? First off, the two-year List total stands at 218. That’s 98 new birds for 2014, largely due to our unusually active travel year. That Common Wood-Pigeon mentioned above was picked up in Kilkenny, Ireland. We nabbed a Swainson’s Thrush in Yellowstone NP, Wyoming, a Black-Throated Gray Warbler in Zion NP, Utah and the Brown Creeper (bird #200) in the Emigrant Wilderness, Tuolumne County, CA. But the number that stands out for me is reaching 50 birds in our own backyard. This year we’ll be working to introduce even more bird-friendly attributes to our garden spaces, in the hopes of seeing more feathered friends. It would be particularly cool if that Black-headed Grosbeak returns. We saw it on its migration north in the spring, and heading south in the fall. If it comes back this spring, we’ll know we have a regular customer. Tell your friends!

GrosbeakThat’s what it’s about, isn’t it? Not a number, but finding a connection with these wild, winged living things.

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