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Yard List/Life List Question

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New-ish birder here. I hope this is in the right category. 

If a bird is right next to my property but not on it, does it count for my yard list? What about a bird that flies directly over my property?

My yard list at the moment is at 30, but I could add at least one or two more if birds that fly over count.

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That is up to you; there are no rules except for the ones you make for yourself.  But I (and I believe most birders) count birds that I see from my property even if the birds are not on it or are flying over.  I will also count birds I see that are on my property even if I am not on the property.  Some birders count birds on their yard/life lists that they've only heard while others (like me) only count birds they've seen.

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Okay, thank you. 😊 That sounds like a good rule to me. So, standing at the back of my property, I’ve seen a great blue heron sitting on a fence way out across a field. That would count? 

Also, would you, or anyone else, happen to know of any good places to go birding in West Michigan?

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@FishkaFishka, I agree with The Bird Nuts.  Most people count what they can see and hear FROM a location, not just lands within the limits of the property.  If we only counted what lands on the boat, we'd never be able to count most pelagic (seagoing) birds.  If we counted only what we see and not what we hear, most of us would never have any owls or Whip-Poor-Wills on our lists.

Have you discovered the eBird web site yet?


Click on 'Explore' at the top, then 'Explore Hotspots' on the right.  In the 'Location' box, enter Michigan (or a specific county).  You'll get a map, and you may need to zoom in until it resolves to individual dots instead of a smear of colored squares.  Each dot you see is a location that birders have suggested as having good variety of birds.  Click a dot will give you additional info - the number of species seen there, directions, and access to more data.

One general birding hint - places with water will normally have more birds than places without.

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