Top 5 Once In A Lifetime Songbirds

Top 5 Once In A Lifetime Songbirds

Have you ever seen any of these spectacular “lifer birds?”

To an avid birder, a lifer bird is a special event sighting, worthy of photos and sharing on social media. What it means is they observed a new (to them) species for the first time in their birding lives.

Some keep a list of birds they hope to see in their lifetimes and will travel thousands of miles for a chance to make it happen. But sometimes, luck is on their side, and a rare bird simply appears when they least expect it.

The continental U.S. and Canada are home to 700 bird species, so there’s always a chance you’ll see something “new,” even if you’re not actively looking. Here’s a sampler of some of the stunning birds that have launched many a birder’s quest:

To see a Green Jay in the U.S., you will have to travel to the southernmost part of Texas and hope you can catch a glimpse of this brilliant bird. BrianLasenby / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Green Jay

Green Jay | Audubon Field Guide

These brilliant blue and green corvids leverage sticks to reach insects under tree bark, making them one of the rare North American birds to use tools. They’re found throughout Mexico. Still, birders travel to the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge nestled in the southeastern point of Texas just for a chance to see them.

Kirtland’s Warblers can be found in the jack pine forests of Michigan and Wisconsin, traveling south to the Bahamas for winter. Carol Hamilton / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Kirtland’s Warbler

Kirtland's Warbler - American Bird Conservancy

Dark gray with a lemon-yellow breast, look for this beauty in the jack pine forests of Michigan and Wisconsin. But keep an eye out during its migration to the southeastern coast as they reach their winter home in the Bahamas.

Travel south along the Gulf of Mexico and along the southern U.S. to catch a glimpse of this fiery red and deep brown bird. Neil bowman / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Vermilion Flycatcher

Vermilion Flycatcher | Audubon Field Guide

This scarlet bird with black wings and a face mask can be found along the rivers in Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico, along with the Gulf of Mexico. During courtship, the male presents the female with a butterfly or some other showy insect.

While they live in many areas throughout the U.S., the Yellow-breasted Chat can be difficult to find as it lives in dense, shrubby habitats. WilliamSherman / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Yellow-breasted Chat

Yellow-breasted Chat - Urban Hawks

While widespread across the continental U.S., you have to look hard to catch sight of these striking little birds. They spend their summers in dense, shrubby habitats, searching for spiders and other insects.

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