STATS FOR BIRD NERDS: Noah’s tally of 6,042 birds surpassed the previous world record of 4,341, set in 2008 by British birders Ruth Miller and Alan Davies, by 1,701 species. Of the 10,365 species recognized by the Clements Checklist as of December 2015, Noah found 58.3%, becoming the first person to encounter half the world’s birds in one year.
330 (5.5%) of Noah’s birds were heard-only. Exotic species were counted, but in the end only five (African Collared-Dove, Tanimbar Corella, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Red-crowned Parrot, and Java Sparrow) were not found in their native range. Three scientifically undescribed South American birds (Millpo Tapaculo, Alto Pisones Tapaculo, and Santa Marta Screech-Owl) weren’t counted because they did not appear on the Clements Checklist.
Some birders prefer to use the IOC World Bird List, which recognizes more species. At the end of 2015, IOC v. 5.4 added 113 birds through non-Clements splits and subtracted 11 lumps, adding a net 102 birds to Noah’s tally for a total of 6,144 species. All of these numbers are now out of date, as new splits were announced in 2016 and beyond.
Using eBird, Noah recorded details of every sighting, including common and repeat birds. Right-click here and select “save as…” to download his full 2015 dataset (Excel spreadsheet with 37,000 rows, 2.5 mb).