Another year and another chance to take on a project I've been working on for more than a decade now--The Birds of Utah. I originally scoped out a book 10 years ago and did much of the research, planning, etc that I would use to work on the book. The only problem is that there isn't really much of a need for a book on the birds of Utah. More than anything it is a passion project, but the motivation to finish it hasn't been there.
So this year, to help me along the way I have decided to publish a species account every day. That means 365 species done by the end of the year. If I am feeling the least bit energized, and up to the challenge I could potentially tack on the 100 or so on top of that to have everything done this year. To do so I will use this blog, and each species account will be a daily post. For many of the birds, I have already written these accounts and will be moving them over to this medium for this project. For others, I will be starting from scratch.
The truth is, this isn't a field guide in the sense of a typical Sibley or Peterson, as it won't focus on identification. And it's not a finding guide like the current (20 years old) guide to finding birds in Utah, which focuses on specific locations for sets of birds. Instead, it will combine minimal identification focus, with species-specific information to where, when, and how to find these birds in Utah--with a heavy tie-in to eBird for recent sighting information, maps, and a core data set. It will also try and relate Utah specific life history and anecdotal reference since that is perhaps the most interesting part of a birding reference for a specific state.
Over the past few years, the ABA has fast been releasing guides to the birds of states. I don't know when Utah is coming, and who is working on it, but I wanted to make sure that this has roots and movement before that. At worst it remains a web-based reference for birds, accessible on mobile devices anywhere. At best--who knows what will come of it!
Join me, and follow along in 2018, as I explore the Birds of Utah, and share what I know, and what I've learned.