Serious birders maintain what are called “life lists”. A life list contains all of the bird species a birder has identified in their lifetime. If you live in North America like I do, you have the potential to identify around 850 species, and if you are fortunate enough to travel the entire globe searching for rare birds, you could eventually list as many as 9,000 (the record is currently around 9,400). For most of us, we’d be in good company if our life list broke 600.
I’m mostly a backyard birder, meaning I don’t go traveling far and wide to look for birds. I do pay close attention to the birds that visit our yard though. So far, in the short time I’ve been paying attention, I’ve identified 15 species around our feeders. Of those, I can confidently expect to see 4 species on almost any given day: Lesser Goldfinches, White-Crowned Sparrows, Mourning Doves, and California Scrub Jays. The other species on my list come and go only infrequently, but they provide a nice surprise when they drop in. It’ll be interesting to see how my yard list grows as we cycle through the seasons.