270 Bird Species This Year In Metro Vancouver and Happy New Year!

On Jan 1st, 2018 I decided that I would set out and try and get 270 birds in Metro Vancouver in one calendar year. Well I was able to achieve it today! It was so much work and I dipped on a common bird a "Horned Lark." I missed 2 Vancouver rarities including one mega that was Rob Lyske's "Loggerhead Shrike" because I arrived too late and I missed Kevin Louth's  Bar-tailed Godwit because I was gravely ill. The toughest bird this year for me to track down was a Northern Pygmy-Owl because I didn't join the crowds in 2018 to see the one at Maplewood. What a mistake that was! Well I never searched harder for a little Pygmy-Owl but today my hard work paid off when I found one in West Vancouver.

My 270th bird in Metro Vancouver - Photo: Melissa Hafting

A big thanks to all my friends and family who helped me achieve my goal. Today I thought I was going to end at 269 until I heard the little owl and then saw him "tooting" at me.

I beat the previous record of 264 which I held last year and tonight I will have a drink and relax. Next year I will definitely not be doing this because when you go for 270 you must go for every rarity as soon as it is reported and get all the common birds, Plus I want to travel and you really can't do a big year properly and travel if you want to set a record. You can't dally either if you stay in town. The two times I dallied I lost those birds. 274 would have been possible for me this year but with a lot of unpleasantness. I am just glad I was able to achieve 270 by the skin of my teeth! Looking back this year was exceptional with all the winter finches, getting Bohemians, and so many Vancouver rarities like a Little Stint, Arctic Tern, Philadelphia Vireo, Snowy Plover, Great Egret and Red Phalarope. It was definitely a year to remember.

A great way to end 2018. Now we know 270 is possible to achieve in Metro Van, 250 used to be the goal the crazy birders reached for and it still is not easy but now we can try to reach higher. Big Congrats to the 5 birders who got 250 this year.

Looking back there are so many great memories to look back on in 2018! Many youth I worked with for years (since I started the program) graduated this year and some are graduating high school in the new year and it will be the final year they are in my young birding program. I will miss them dearly and treasure the time we spent together. On top of that I’ve had so many great adventures with my friends travelling around North America shooting and looking at birds. Here’s to many more adventures for us all and a Happy New Year to each and every one of you. I wish you only good things in 2019.

Looking back on 2018 - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Bridget will be graduating this year. Thanks to all the young birders for the great memories in 2018! 


  1. Congratulations! That's quite an achievement. Happy New year๐ŸŽ‰

    1. thanks sweetie see you at the cbc4kids this sat! happy new year

  2. An amazing achievement Mel, well deserved!
    Wishing you all the best in the New Year! Thoroughly enjoying your accounts and alerts. We will definitely get out and contribute more this year as we are more settled in here in Oliver.

    1. thank you so much Ian! i guess one has to be crazy to chase every bird in vancouver and i'm ok with that haha but this year i look forward to just resting and not chasing every bird that enters into metro vancouver. hope all is well with you my friend and happy new year!

  3. Congratulations Melissa. I am looking foreword to reading about your adventures in 2019. Have a Happy and Healthy New Year and enjoy your birding travels. Be Safe.


    1. thanks jim im really looking forward to a break and going to ecuador i wish you the best of everything in 2019

  4. Wow what a great accomplishment 270 birds in one year!! Congrats on getting the Pygmy owl yesterday to reach your goal!!


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