1. Any of the Birds of Paradise – New Guinea. I can’t choose one. All of them. Click on the link, and I think you’ll understand why (and the link doesn’t include every Bird of Paradise out there).
2. Hoopoe. Any bird which eats insects and other winged pests gets my vote, but I find this bird to be exceptionally beautiful and regal-looking. Anyone want to pay for me to travel to southeast Asia for a birding-and-culture expedition?
3. European Bee-Eater. I’m allergic to bees and wasps, so this bird gets my kudos. Not that they live around me to help with the bees and wasps that I may encounter, but something somewhere in the world is better than nothing. They’re also located in New Guinea.
4. Emperor Penguin. Any animal who can withstand the bitter cold of Antarctica, carry their eggs around on their feet, scoot around on their belly and travel so far for food is one amazing animal.
5. Closer to home: Burrowing Owl. Found in Arizona. I’m attracted to their awesome inquisitive personality. And their toes. I have a “thing” for animal toes, but that’s another story.
6. Even closer to home: Northern Saw-Whet Owl. Allegedly found year-round in Michigan. If I were ever to see one, I would probably have to have someone put their hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t excitedly make my loud “sqwee” noise and startle that cute little owl into flight. [Most people who know me in person know this noise. People who don't know what I'm referring to should be thankful.]
7. Albatross. [the video is narrated by David Attenborough, who I pretty much want to be in my next life.] Found along the coastlines of western North America and South America, among other places. I think they look absolutely regal and beautiful. A bird who spends most of its life in the air.
8. Greater Sage Grouse. I have an odd fascination with the courtship rituals of birds. I would really get a lot of humor out of seeing these birds flirt in person. I might die from laughing so hard I wouldn’t be able to breathe, but it would be worth it.
9. Purple Gallinule. I also have an odd fascination with animal feet (not human feet – nasty!) as anyone who knows how much I fawn over my cat’s paws can attest. Not only is this bird beautiful to look at, but look at those feet! If I had those feet, I’d spend my days looking smug, walking all over lily pads!
10. And to round out this list, the Vogelkop Bowerbird of Western New Guinea, Indonesia. [Another video narrated by David Attenborough, and it's almost 6 minutes long. However, I assure you, it's worth your time.] If nothing else, his attention to detail in interior decorating gets him major points from me.
Okay, so it was hard for me to just list 10 birds I want to see. Quite honestly? Show me a bird I haven’t yet seen, and I’ll be happy.