Compiled by Alexandria Simpson

A new year means a chance to start over with new goals, new
year lists—and new lifers!  2013 is less
than a month old and I’m already hooked. On the 18th, while hanging
out clothes, unfamiliar call notes from a flock of birds in the tree piqued my interest.
Most of them flew off before I could see them clearly, but as I scanned the
tree, the black-masked face of a Cedar Waxwing stared down at me. Lifer! I
hurriedly pinned up a pair of pants and two shirts, then rushed for binos and
camera. I discovered bird Number 229 for my life list (not counting
heard-onlys) and 82 for the yard list, calmly eating mistletoe berries and
preening in another tree not far off. After more than 12 lifer-less months, and
with a bird I’ve wanted to see since I became a birder, I was definitely

And I’m not the only birder being blessed with lifers. Corey
Husic, at the Baypoll Blog, already
has two amazing ones this year, Northern
and Pink-footed

On January 7, Scott Burnet
discovered a Pink-footed Goose at Lake Muhlenberg in Allentown, Lehigh County,
PA. This rare species is uncommon in this state and throughout the country,
although it is making an impressive showing in Pennsylvania this winter!

On January 14, a lucky birder found
a group of three Northern Lapwings in a cow pasture in New Egypt, NJ. On
Sunday, my mom and I decided to go see these unusual plovers that had somehow
made their way from Europe to central New Jersey.

Robert, older of the brothers on Birding Bros Blog, writes about one of his
“Better View Desired” birds
that finally got that “better view”.

As often happens in birding,
sometimes you get a perfectly serviceable and identifiable view of a bird you’ve
never seen before. This bird is a lifer, beyond a shadow of a doubt, yet your
views are far too fleeting and you’re left with a tick on your life-list that
is little more than a name. For me, this bird was the Razorbill, an
alcid that breeds in the northern reaches of our hemisphere.

Do birding miracles really happen? Brendan Murtha at Catching the Thermals, in
his short,
but rather humorous post
, relates one.

Have you ever had a birding
miracle?  Yesterday, at Barn Island WMA in Stonington, CT, in the warm
light of the setting sun, my dad looked out over the marsh and said “Wouldn’t
it be awesome if we just saw a Short-eared Owl right now?”

With Scottish blood running through my veins, I suppose my
interest in Scotland’s bird life (and those awesome castles) comes naturally,
but I always enjoy Joseph Nichols’ blog, Aberdeenshire Young
, including this

I’ve rarely been in the position on
New Year’s Day to get out for some proper birding. This New Year just gone was
probably the first time I’d managed to do this. I had been in Somerset since 28th, and with birding during this period having
previously been limited to taking the bins on a walk round Wimbleball Lake
(producing 10 Gadwall, 25 Tufted Ducks, 3
and 10 Little
we were due a full day’s birding. We were thus up bright and early, eager to
embrace the new year and get out into the field for the first time.

Good luck with those New Year Goals and I hope 2013 is
working out amazingly well for you too!