Historical Bird Lists

Historical Bird Lists

The thick-papered bird checklist is something every birder needed just a few decades ago. However, the age of the published bird checklist appears to be coming to a close. Electronic lists, specifically constructed through eBird, can be created and stored more efficiently than a mass-produced paper checklist. Yet these older checklists provided us with a certain charm. Over time, paper checklists allowed us to see species come and go. We saw habitat changes and range movements. We saw exotic birds become native birds. We even saw the evolution of data collecting from gun to binoculars.

In Texas, the changes were sometimes extreme. We saw that the Eskimo Curlew was a "common migrant through the extreme eastern portion of the state," according to Strecker's 1925 annotated Texas checklist. We saw that there was no reference of Great-tailed Grackle in Dallas County in 1939, because in Stillwell's "A Checklist of Birds of Dallas County, Texas" there were none. It would be ten more years before that species moved into north Texas from the Rio Grande brushland. We saw name changes in these checklists. Some names like Bartramian Sandpiper, Texan Woodpecker, Wright's Flycatcher, and the Arkansas Goldfinch forced us to the nearest search engine. These checklists, with check marks and scribbled notes, were evolutionary snapshots of our favorite hobby. It's unlikely we will see these published bird checklists much longer. They are now of another era.

All of the lists mentioned below have been combined in a spreadsheet format for the indicated region or county. While I treasured the appearance of these old checklists, I had to admit they were more useful when put into a comparative spreadsheet to be viewed over time. Thanks to all who contributed, particularly Chuck Sexton, John Sproul, Jim Henderson, and Mike Wolfson.

Current Accepted List, Oberholser 1974, Strecker 1912

Current Accepted List, Pulich 1988, Oberholser 1974, Audubon Soc. 1962, Stillwell 1939

Current Accepted List, Wauer 1996, Van Tyne & Sutton 1937

Current Accepted List, El Paso Region 2003, El Paso Region 1980, El Paso Region 1959, Guadalupe Mountains, 1940

Current Accepted List, Austin Region 2003, Austin Region 1984, Austin Region 1954, Austin Region 1925.

Current Accepted List, Upper Texas Coast Region 2006, UTC Checklist 1962