Disappointment Birds

When a birder is planning a trip to the Galapagos, there is a question people ask.  “How many new birds do you think you’ll see?”

I don’t have a good answer.  You see, unlike some birders I know, I don’t make a list of every possible new species I might see on a trip.  Instead, I pick my three “disappointment birds.”

I don’t want to see 12 new birds on a trip and be disappointed because I missed 2.  I want to be excited about the 12 I saw!  In order to facilitate this, I made a rule early on in my birding travel that I get to pick 3 birds that I will be disappointed if I miss.  Everything else is bonus.  I have not yet gone on a trip where I missed my disappointment birds.  It’s been close; on a couple of trips my third bird was spotted on the last stop on the last day, but I still got it.

This has already worked well once.  In Colorado there were many new woodpeckers that I hadn’t seen.  As I adore woodpeckers, this was a potential downfall.  I could have been very disappointed if I didn’t see all of them, but a couple were particularly tricky and we weren’t spending the entire trip looking for woodpeckers.  So one of my disappointment birds wasn’t defined; it was just “a new woodpecker.”  I saw three new species; not only was I not bummed that I missed the rest, I was extra excited about the 2 that made it past the one I wanted!

I know, now you want to know what my disappointment birds are for the Galapagos, right?  Blue-footed Booby, Lava Gull, and Galapagos Mockingbird.  I’m most worried about the booby, since they are typically found further out from shore than I plan to be, but I think I’ll be okay.

I’ll let you know post-trip if I was successful!

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