World listing – congratulate or condemn?

Published on 05 February 2013 in Letters

I read with interest the news items on World Listing in the October and December issues of BB [see below], and the competition between world listers Tom Gullick and Jon Hornbuckle. The item finishes with the suggestion that they ‘both deserve a medal’.

Do they? Do they really?

We have understood for well over a decade now that climate change is a major threat to wildlife around the world, as well as to future living standards of people everywhere. It beggars belief that BB can get all giggly when discussing world listing, when the activity must have spewed tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over the years.

Imagine if these two had travelled the world shooting birds instead. No doubt BB would be outraged. Yet the act of flying so many miles is, in its own way, just as destructive.

Maybe it’s time for BB to start to take a more responsible attitude to what is, to be honest, a frivolous and environmentally damaging hobby?

Andrew Lucas

The comment about Tom and Jon deserving a medal was made with tongue firmly in cheek – but what do other readers think? Eds

British lister breaks the 9,000-species barrier

Britons are rightly proud of the sporting achievements of our Olympian and Paralympian teams at London 2012 this summer. And in our own field of endeavour, Britain’s birders are also world beaters. Gold medal – perhaps platinum medal is more appropriate – goes to ex-pat Brit Tom Gullick whose world bird list passed the 9,000-species mark in August. That’s 90% of all the world’s birds. Tom was guided on Tanimbar and Seram in the Maluku Islands of eastern Indonesia by Birdtour Asia’s Frank Lambert. Here’s the tweet from @BirdtourAsia when the milestone was reached:

‘Following a clean-up of the Tanimbar endemics, Tom Gullick becomes the first birder to see 9,000 species, with Wallace’s Fruit Dove Ptilinopus wallacii as that milestone tick!’ Tom completed his tour with Frank on a life list of 9,047. Fellow Brits Jon Hornbuckle (8,923), Hugh Buck (8,746) and Philip Rostron (8,644) make up the next three places in the world-lister rankings according to What you might call a clean sweep of the medal table for TeamGB Birders, not unlike the Jamaican sprinters…

World listing

Following our piece on Tom Gullick breaking the 9,000-species barrier (Brit. Birds 105: 634), fellow world lister Jon Hornbuckle wrote to N&c. Jon points out that, as far as he is aware, the only sites where such lists are regularly updated are and

‘The latter states that Tom has 9,047 and me 8,923 [at the time of writing] but there is no comment on what taxonomic (Authority) is used or whether “);
update wp_posts set post_content=replace(post_content,’‒,”heard only” birds are included. My figure does not include heard only… The Bubo list is more rigorous as it does state the Authority and whether heard only are included, e.g. my last World Lists (
needing update now) were 8,855 for Clements and 9,060 for IOC authorities.’

Clearly, both Tom and Jon have seen a lot of birds on their travels, and (to continue the Olympic analogy from the earlier piece) it looks as if they both deserve a medal!