Pennsylvania Birdlists Summary 2021

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Compiled by Andy Keister

At the conclusion of 2021, the number of birders who have reported PA Life Lists of 300 species or greater remained unchanged at 99. 

The number of birders with PA Life Lists of 350 species or greater grew from 29 to 31.  As last reported in 2018, Devich Farbotnik has recorded 396 species.  It should be noted that Jason Horn shows 413 species reported via eBird but has not directly reported updated numbers to the PSO in recent years. 

As reported on social media sites, the 2021 high Annual List was recorded by Sara Busch with 317 species.  This is the highest annual year list that I have on record.  The previous record was 315 by Chuck Chalfant in 2012.  That’s a truly impressive big year and congratulations go to Sara.

County life-listers who have recorded the most species in their respective counties and have report new species for 2021 include Bobby Brown in Lycoming County (272), Eric Witmer in Lancaster County (342), Michael Schall in Pike County (233), Roy Ickes in Washington County (242), Chad Kauffman in Snyder County (204), Greg Grove in Mifflin County (219) and Andy Keister in Montour County (244).

In annual county birding, the only new record was set in Elk County by Brendyn Baptiste with 188 species.          

A total of 36 individuals submitted list information, comments on their year of birding, or Bird of the Year votes for 2021.  This is on par with years prior to 2020.  Last year, I put added effort into collecting data from individuals who had not made submissions in recent years and we received 49 submissions. In future years, I hope to work on other methods to encourage submission of lists to a wider range of birders because I’m not sure that the notices posted on the Listserv or Facebook are being viewed by everyone who might be interested in making a submission.

The Bird of the Year 2021

A total of 16 birders voted for 23 different species for Bird of the Year in 2021.  The winner was determined by awarding three points for a first-place vote, two points for a second-place vote and one point for a third-place vote.  This year’s winner was Neotropic Cormorant (21 points) with Scott’s Oriole (14 points) and Tundra Bean-Goose (12 points) coming in second and third respectively.  Tundra Bean-Goose was last year’s winner so it’s interesting to see it place in the top three again.  The remaining vote getters include Roseate Spoonbill (5), Black-necked Stilt (4), Swallow-tailed Kite (4), Anhinga (4), King Eider (4), Ruffed Grouse (3), Black-legged Kittiwake (3), White-faced Ibis (3), Least Bittern (3), Short-eared Owl (2), White-winged Dove (2), Brown Booby (2), Greater White-fronted Goose (2), Say’s Phoebe (2), Yellow-headed Blackbird (1), American Golden Plover (1), King Rail (1), Barnacle Goose (1), Pink-footed Goose (1), and Magnificent Frigatebird (1).

Comments About 2021 Birding in PA

(New PA Life List Species and other comments)

Justin Berkheimer
New PA Life List Species:  Short-eared Owl, Ruffed Grouse, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

Bobby Brown
New PA Life List Species:  Hoary Redpoll, Eurasian Collared-Dove, Neotropic Cormorant, Cattle Egret.

Peter Robinson
New PA Life List Species:  Neotropic Cormorant, White-faced Ibis

Eric Hartshaw
New PA Life List Species:  Tundra Bean-Goose, Allen’s Hummingbird, Scott’s Oriole, Neotropic Cormorant, King Rail, Long-billed Dowitcher, White-faced Ibis

Chad Kauffman
I was able to get 25 counties up to and over 100 and got my nemesis Piping Plover at Erie after several tries.