4th of July Birding Challenge! Part Deux

Steve BrennerBig Days, Birding, Contests8 Comments

Four score and seven birds ago, the 4th of July Birding Challenge was born (actually, it was last year, but who’s counting?). Since it was such a big hit last year, the rules will remain the same, except for one new twist. There will be two categories of champion: One winner for the traditional “Most 4th of July Species”, and another winner for who has the most species in one day (i.e., biggest day on the 4th of July.) Winners will receive some dope Nemesis Bird stickers. For those that forgot, here are the rules:

The rules of the challenge are simple: when you are out birding on the 4th of July, every species you see that begins with the word “American” counts. Also, any species that begins with the name of a U.S. state (e.g.. California Towhee) also counts. You can also collect bonus birds for each of the following winged-countrymen you spot: Bald Eagle, Wild Turkey, and the official birds of each U.S. state. So, for example, let’s say I go out on Independence Day and see an American Robin, 5 American Crows, 3 American Redstarts, a Louisiana Waterthrush, a Bald Eagle, and a pair of Eastern Bluebirds, then I would have a grand total of 6 countable species. So it’s fairly straight-forward and similar to other ‘big day’ type competitions.

Just post your results in the comments, listing how many species you saw for the big day, and which of the eligible species you saw. Bonus points for posting your eBird checklists in the comments, especially if there are photos. If there are ties, we shall do a random drawing.

American Oystercatchers and a juvenile Black Skimmer - (photo by Steve Brenner)

American Oystercatchers and a juvenile Black Skimmer – (photo by Steve Brenner)

Last year’s champion, Nemesis Bird’s own Alex Lamoreaux, set the bar at 12 species of patriotic origin. He also had 86 species in one day on the 4th, so that was probably the retroactive high count for the new big day category. Who will win the coveted “George Washington-Dale Senior-Toby Keith-Budweiser Trophy” this year? Can Alex’s 12 American species be beat?

As with most birding contests, this one is solely meant for fun, and while the “George Washington-Dale Senior-Toby Keith-Budweiser Trophy” may or may not exist, no reward will be given to the winner, other than the personal reward of having a great day birding and being the best birder-patriot in the nation.  Also, mid-summer can be a very slow time for bird watching, so this provides an excellent opportunity for birders to get out there and check out some breeding birds in your area or scour those neglected local hotspots. Post your totals on the bottom, and have fun out there birders!

Here is the list of the 58 eligible ’4th of July birds’ for counting in the ABA area, including the official birds of each state. (Note: ‘state game birds’ have been omitted, as has Hawaiian Goose (not ABA), Blue Hen Chicken, and Rhode Island Red Chicken. However, we added a new bird this year, and it’s a representative of the last state: Hawaiian Petrel!)

  1. American Avocet
  2. American Bittern
  3. American Black Duck
  4. American Coot
  5. American Crow
  6. American Dipper
  7. American Flamingo
  8. American Golden-Plover
  9. American Goldfinch (also state bird for IA, NJ, and WA)
  10. American Kestrel
  11. American Oystercatcher
  12. American Pipit
  13. American Redstart
  14. American Robin (also state bird for CT, MI, and WI)
  15. American Three-toed Woodpecker
  16. American Tree Sparrow
  17. American White Pelican
  18. American Wigeon
  19. American Woodcock
  20. Arizona Woodpecker
  21. California Condor
  22. California Gnatcatcher
  23. California Quail (also state bird for CA)
  24. California Thrasher
  25. California Towhee
  26. California Gull (also state bird for UT)
  27. Carolina Chickadee
  28. Carolina Wren (also state bird for SC)
  29. Connecticut Warbler
  30. Florida Scrub Jay
  31. Hawaiian Petrel
  32. Kentucky Warbler
  33. Louisiana Waterthrush
  34. Mississippi Kite
  35. Tennessee Warbler
  36. Virginia Rail
  37. Bald Eagle
  38. Wild Turkey
  39. Northern Flicker (AL)
  40. Willow Ptarmigan (AK)
  41. Cactus Wren (AZ)
  42. Northern Mockingbird (AR, FL, MS, TN, and TX)
  43. Lark Bunting (CO)
  44. Brown Thrasher (GA)
  45. Mountain Bluebird (ID, NV)
  46. Northern Cardinal (IL, IN, KY, NC, OH, VI, and WV)
  47. Western Meadowlark (KS, MT, NE, ND, OR, and WY)
  48. Brown Pelican (LA)
  49. Black-capped Chickadee (ME, MA)
  50. Baltimore Oriole (MD)
  51. Common Loon (MN)
  52. Eastern Bluebird (MO, NY)
  53. Purple Finch (NH)
  54. Greater Roadrunner (NM)
  55. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (OK)
  56. Ruffed Grouse (PA)
  57. Ring-necked Pheasant (SD)
  58. Hermit Thrush (VT)


  • Bryant Atanasio

    How are these checklists shared?

    • Just share them in the comments here. I updated the post to reflect that.

  • I’ve got potential for 24 here in northern Idaho! Looking forward to the 4th!

  • Andrew Mack

    some possible additions:
    (note a bias for Philadelphia)

    Aythya americana

    Larus delawarensis

    Larus philadelphia

    Bubo virginianus

    Colinus virginianus

    Grus americana

    Mycteria americana

    Porzana carolina

    Recurvirostra americana

    Numenius americanus

    Coccyzus americanus

    Caprimulgus carolinensis

    Chloroceryle americana

    Melanerpes carolinensis

    Dumetella carolinensis

    Aphelocoma californica

    Sitta carolinensis

    Certhia americana

    Vireo philadelphicus

    Parula aamericana

    Vermivora virginiae

    Setophaga pensylvanica

    Geothlypis philadelphia

    Spiza americana

    Euphagus carolinus

  • Derek

    No Wood Thrush for DC?

  • Melinda Kashuba

    This is a great idea. We found eight and dipped on a few residents. It was a hot day (100 plus) in Shasta County, California. Here is our list:

    American Coot
    American Crow
    American Robin
    California Quail
    California Towhee
    Virginia Rail
    Northern Flicker
    Northern Mockingbird

    Tim and Melinda Kashuba
    Redding, California

  • Bryant Atanasio

    All of the 12 patriotic species recorded in centre county, pa
    Carolina wren
    Kentucky warbler
    N. Flicker
    N. Mockingbird
    N. Cardinal
    Bc chickadee
    Baltimore oriole
    Eastern bluebird