In the definitive British work on birders and birding, Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird Book, Bill tells us that "there is one final list no birder can push too far into the back of his mind, and it is the list that keeps you at it - 'Birds I haven't seen yet'." And it's true, all listers know perfectly well which species they haven't yet seen. Moreover, we tend to have a good idea which are our easiest remaining targets, those that we feel we really should have seen by now, and are just waiting to be added soon...
Well, now BUBO Listing can help. We have come up with a brand new feature that can be used to find the top targets for any list, whether your own or that of another lister. At the top of any given list (e.g. viewed through View All Lists, or View/Edit My Lists) you will now see a target icon to indicate that you should click this to see the top targets for the list. (Select the tick icon to return to viewing the actual species list.)
The list of targets returns all species available for that authority that are not already on the list in question. For more interest, however, it also ranks these in order of 'easiness', with the most expected next addition listed at the top. But how is this worked out?
For any list, we look at all other lists currently entered on BUBO Listing with the same combination of region, period, authority and all birds/self-found. For every species missing from the list you have selected, we see how many of these other equivalent lists each species is currently recorded on. It is this number that enables us to tell you which are your top targets for any given list.
This approach can produce some interesting results. For example, examination of one BUBO lister's BOU British Life List gave the top five targets (with % of equivalent lists recording the species) as:
- Great Reed Warbler (53%)
- Ortolan Bunting (49%)
- European Bee-eater (48%)
- Radde's Warbler (48%)
- White-billed Diver (48%)
For a list of just over 400 species, this is a fairly expected list of reasonably 'gettable' species that have just passed the lister by, and that he can expect to pick up some time fairly soon. However, looking further down the list of targets, it initially appears surprising to see Green Heron (11th target), Pacific Diver (15th target) and Black Lark (17th target) appearing above such relatively regular birds as Black-winged Pratincole (18th), Black-headed Bunting (20th) and Greater Yellowlegs (41st). This is because, the way the ranking is calculated, recent well-twitched megas like Pacific Diver have been recorded by more listers than some other species which are numerically more regular, but can be tricky to get to grips with. Additionally, birders are likely to travel further for megas than for those moderately rare species which they feel they will get back at some stage.
We hope BUBO Listers will appreciate this new feature. Don't forget, once you've found your list of top targets, just click on one of those species names to see who else has recorded it, and where and when.
And of course, if you have a friend using BUBO Listing, you can check to see what their top target currently is...!