In one of the early conversations about My New Jersey Big Year, one of my fellow birders asked what would be my goal for “total number of species” . Great question!
The best year I am aware of was only a couple years ago – when a Rutgers University grad student with some extra spare time and excellent birding skills racked up an amazing 362 species.
Well, I have pretty good birding skills, but I don’t have unlimited time for birding. So I figured 300 species would be a great target and anything over 300 would be the icing on a great cake.
The cake is nearly baked, my friends! Today, with the help of one of the great folks at the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and permission of a very generous landowner, I got species number 299 – Barn Owl.
The photo at the top of this post was taken through a ventilation screen on the back of a nest box that is home to three Barn Owlets. If you look closely, you can see one of the owlets peaking out of the bottom left corner. We found mommy Barn Owl roosting in a nearby silo.
The folks at Conserve Wildlife work closely with New Jersey Audubon Citizen Science and the New Jersey DEP’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program on a variety of programs. Be sure to check out the website!
My next milestone is within reach – which bird will be species 300?
Until next time – Good Birding!