Half of a Centre County big year

Since moving to State College in June, I have been birding a lot, getting to know the area and its different hotspots. I was also able to do some productive birding during spring migration, picking up harder to find birds like Red-necked Phalarope and Mourning Warbler. Fall migration was excellent and I was able to find most of the expected passerines except for Black-billed Cuckoo, Connecticut Warbler and Cerulean Warbler. Birds I missed in the spring that others reported include Wilson’s Phalarope, Laughing Gull, Common Moorhen and both bitterns. Despite some of these misses from the days when I was just commuting to Centre from Lancaster, my year list currently stands at 188 species in Centre County. My goal for some time has been to hit 200 species before the end of the year and as the year wears on and the ducks start to come back, this looks more and more likely. I have compiled some wishlists of birds that I think are feasible and others which will be a lot harder to get. Getting to 205 is looking more likely, and with a little luck I think 220 may even be possible.


  1. Snow Goose
  2. Northern Shoveler
  3. Northern Pintail
  4. Lesser Scaup
  5. Common Goldeneye
  6. Red-breasted Merganser
  7. Ring-necked Pheasant
  8. Red-throated Loon
  9. Horned Grebe
  10. Northern Goshawk
  11. Rough-legged Hawk
  12. Golden Eagle
  13. Barred Owl
  14. Northern Shrike
  15. Horned Lark
  16. American Tree Sparrow
Less likely

  1. Cackling Goose
  2. Greater Scaup
  3. Canvasback
  4. Surf Scoter
  5. White-winged Scoter
  6. Red-necked Grebe
  7. Dunlin
  8. Great Black-backed Gull
  9. Common Tern
  10. Forster’s Tern
  11. Barn Owl
  12. Northern Saw-whet Owl
  13. Long-eared Owl
  14. Short-eared Owl
  15. Yellow-breasted Chat
  16. Lapland Longspur
  17. Snow Bunting
Long shots

  1. Black Scoter
  2. American Bittern
  3. Rufous Hummingbird
  4. Snowy Owl
  5. Boreal Chickadee
  6. Common Redpoll
  7. White-winged Crossbill