Sunday, June 15, 2008

Most Common Birds in Middlesex County

As I mentioned in the last Loose Feathers, Cornell Lab of Ornithology is in the midst of redesigning its website and is looking for user input. One of the most commonly requested features is an automated field guide page, where a user could enter an unknown bird's field marks and receive a list of possible species. The first version of this automated identification guide would consist of 120 species, with more to be included in future versions. For the latest discussion question, the design committee wants to know which 120 species to include.

I decided to post my answer here. Such a limited set of identification choices should aim to cover the most common birds that people are likely to see. The following is a list of the 40 most commonly reported bird species of Middlesex County, New Jersey, according to eBird data. All of them have a solid case for inclusion because all are very common and very widespread outside of this area.

  1. Mourning Dove
  2. Northern Cardinal
  3. Canada Goose
  4. American Robin
  5. House Sparrow
  6. American Goldfinch
  7. European Starling
  8. House Finch
  9. Blue Jay
  10. Downy Woodpecker
  11. Common Grackle
  12. Song Sparrow
  13. Dark-eyed Junco
  14. White-throated Sparrow
  15. American Crow
  16. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  17. Tufted Titmouse
  18. Black-capped Chickadee
  19. Mallard
  20. Northern Mockingbird
  21. Ring-billed Gull
  22. Red-winged Blackbird
  23. White-breasted Nuthatch
  24. Gray Catbird
  25. Herring Gull
  26. Carolina Wren
  27. Northern Flicker
  28. Great Black-backed Gull
  29. Red-tailed Hawk
  30. Killdeer
  31. Great Blue Heron
  32. Brown-headed Cowbird
  33. Rock Pigeon
  34. Double-crested Cormorant
  35. Carolina Chickadee
  36. Turkey Vulture
  37. Barn Swallow
  38. Great Egret
  39. Tree Swallow
  40. House Wren
Combining top 40 lists from all over the continent ought to fill out the top 120 list easily.