Birding is NOT a crime!!!! is running a survey on Ten Places Every Birder Should Go Before They Die, with the provision that the sites are limited to the lower 48 United States and Canada (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and everywhere south, east, or west of there). I am not sure how long he intends to keep this survey running, but if you would like to suggest some sites, you can do so at that link. Eventually the survey will become a poll with about 25-30 contenders.
Now I cannot contribute much to this question, since I am not well-travelled and know only a handful of sites in my region. However, I am going to change the question a little bit, and list the top ten sites I would like to visit for birding. As with the poll, I am limiting this in scope to the lower 48 and Canada.
- Machias Seal Island (Maine) - I have always wanted to see Atlantic Puffins, and this is one place to do it. Plus, there is the likelihood of seeing many other alcids, most of which would be lifers for me.
- High Island (Texas) - As I understand it, this is the place for major migration fallouts in the spring.
- Santa Ana NWR (Texas) - The Rio Grande Valley is full of bird life, including many birds from Mexico that cross the border into Texas and many other specialties like Green Jay, Great Kiskadee, and Plain Chacalaca.
- Everglades National Park (Florida) - Lots of tropical or subtropical species at the northernmost limit of their breeding range.
- Crane Meadows Nature Center (Nebraska) - Sandhill Crane and Greater Prairie-Chicken
- Churchill (Manitoba) - premier site for gulls and shorebirds
- Point Reyes National Seashore (California) - Great for west coast shorebirds and landbirds, like Tricolored Blackbird.
- Madera Canyon (Arizona) - Great for many species of hummingbirds, sparrows, and warblers, plus some Mexican vagrants.
- Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming) - Known for geysers but good for birds, too. Great Gray Owl, Trumpeter Swan, Barrow's Goldeneye, plus woodpecker specialties.
- Sequoia National Forest (California) - Spotted Owls, plus other specialties in fabulous surroundings.