aba events

Announcing the American Birding Association 2015 Awards

The ABA Board of Directors recently voted to make five presentations of ABA Awards in 2015. The awardees… [read more]

Announcing the American Birding Association 2015 Awards Announcing the American Birding Association 2015 Awards

Announcing the 2015 ABA Bird of the Year! / ¡Presentando al ABA Ave del Año del 2015!

We bid a fond farewell to our friend the Rufous Hummingbird, and turn our eyes towards 2015's standard… [read more]

Announcing the 2015 ABA Bird of the Year! / ¡Presentando al ABA Ave del Año del 2015! Announcing the 2015 ABA Bird of the Year! / ¡Presentando al ABA Ave del Año del 2015!

Photo Quiz, November/December 2014 Birding

  Update (Jan. 21, 2015): Tom Johnson's full analysis of this photo is available to ABA members.… [read more]

Photo Quiz, November/December 2014 Birding Photo Quiz, November/December 2014 Birding

Introducing the ABA State Guides

  In one of the ABA’s most ambitious undertakings ever, the association has partnered with… [read more]

Introducing the ABA State Guides Introducing the ABA State Guides

ABA Checklist Committee Adds Egyptian Goose to ABA Checklist

Yesterday, the ABA Checklist Committee (CLC) unanimously (8–0) accepted the Egyptian Goose (Alopochen… [read more]

ABA Checklist Committee Adds Egyptian Goose to ABA Checklist ABA Checklist Committee Adds Egyptian Goose to ABA Checklist

2014 AOU Check-list Supplement is Out!

Every summer, birders anxiously await publication of the “Check-list Supplement” by the American… [read more]

2014 AOU Check-list Supplement is Out! 2014 AOU Check-list Supplement is Out!

    Rare Bird Alert: April 17, 2015

    As we stare into the precipice of the Great Spring Arrival of late April/early May, the minds of birders continent-wide is undoubtedly on the expected (and in hopefully great numbers), but there’s time for the unexpected as well. The California “Mystery” Shrike of Mendocino County has returned, and long may it befuddle. After several days in which it was missing, the bird was found again this week, a little farther along in its molt. It came back to us looking less like a Red-backed and more like a Brown Shrike of a potentially unusual subspecies if I’m reading the tea leaves correctly, but there are still some question marks We may get an identification out of this one yet

    Other continuing rarities include the near-permanent Sinaloa Wren in Santa Cruz, Arizona, though the Fieldfare in Nova Scotia seems to have finally vamoosed, as the last couple days have seen it missing from its incredibly reliable spot in the apple tree.

    One potential 1st this week, a Crested Caracara seen by a great many birders on a golf course in Orange, New York. This is at least the third report of caracara in New York in the last year, but the first to be conclusively and reliably documented. Photos of this individual have shown it to be missing an eye, though that does not seem to impede it in any way. In any case, it may prove to be a clue to finding out whether this caracara explosion in the northeast consists of one or many birds.

    Photo by Donna Schulmann, used with permission

    Photo by Donna Schulman, used with permission

    New Jersey’s 3rd record of Chestnut-collared Longspur was found at Sandy Hook in Monmouth.

    In Connecticut, a White-faced Ibis was photographed among Glossy Ibis (itself a good bird for the state) in Niantic, and a particularly unusual Mew Gull that is reportedly neither “Common” from Europe or “Short-billed” from western North America was in Milford.

    In Massachusetts, a remarkable county of 4 (!) Swallow-tailed Kites came over a hawkwatch in North Truro.

    New Brunswick had a Glossy Ibis in West Saint John.

    In Quebec, a Pink-footed Goose (ABA Code 4) was in Lanaudière.

    A Tricolored Heron is a notable bird at Point Pelee in Ontario.

    In Indiana, a Neotropic Cormorant was discovered near Indianapolis.

    Good birds in Wisconsin both came from Bayfield this week, in the form of a Eurasian Wigeon and a Eurasian Tree Sparrow.

    Kansas had a Lesser Black-backed Gull in Wilson, as that species gets ever more regular in the interior of the continent.

    In Colorado, a Common Black-Hawk was seen in Baca, in the far southeast corner of the state.

    Montana had a Golden-crowned Sparrow visit a feeder in Missoula, that state’s 18th.

    In New Mexico, a Western Gull in Sierra is exceptional away from the coast.

    A pelagic out of Palm Beach, Florida, picked up a Red-billed Tropicbird (3) in addition to both Masked (3) and Brown Boobies (3).

    And in South Carolina, a stint sp, that might have been either Red-necked or Little was seen, but not quite seen well enough, in Georgetown.


    Omissions and errors are not intended, but if you find any please message blog AT aba.org and I will try to fix them as soon as possible. This post is meant to be an account of the most recently reported birds. Continuing birds not mentioned are likely included in previous editions listed here. Place names written in italics refer to counties/parishes.

    Readers should note that none of these reports has yet been vetted by a records committee. All birders are urged to submit documentation of rare sightings to the appropriate state or provincial committees. For full analysis of these and other bird observations, subscribe to North American Birds <aba.org/nab>, the richly illustrated journal of ornithological record published by the ABA.

      Open Mic: Bird-window collisions and “green” buildings on Duke’s campus

      At the mic: Scott Winton and Natalia Ocampo-Penuela

      A wild bird’s life ends with a thud against glass. Repeat up to one billion times per year and this tragedy becomes a statistic compelling enough to serve as a call-to-arms for conservationists. Many North American bird species are already in severe decline from loss of habitat. Add collisions with windows to the mix and it becomes an almost impossibly uphill climb to save birds.


      Any species of bird is susceptible to collisions.

      So what can we do?

      Step one is to identify the places and types of architecture that cause the most bird-window collisions. This is what Steve Hager and Bradley Cosentino of Augustana College in Illinois have set out to do. They are leading 45 colleges from across North America in a coordinated survey effort. Students collect bird carcasses each fall during migration and measure window area. We hope this dataset will help us better understand why birds crash into buildings, and where this is the biggest issue.

      Of all the participating schools, our own Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has proven to be the most egregious killer of birds. We cannot help but wonder why.

      Northern Flicker

      Northern Flicker

      The erection of a major new building at Duke has become an annual ritual. All new buildings meet the rigorous and prestigious Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design (LEED) certification. Many coveted LEED points can be earned by heavy use of large windows and glass facades for natural lighting and views to the outside. Is it possible that our noble environmental intentions are taking a toll on migratory bird life?

      Ruby-throated Hummingbird

      Ruby-throated Hummingbird

      The bird collisions team at Duke University is now leading a study to determine if LEED certified buildings are more likely to cause collisions than non-certified buildings. We invite anyone affiliated with a university (with or without LEED-certified buildings) to join in this effort.

      Join us in tracking the impacts of collisions on bird populations.

      Join us in tracking the impacts of collisions on bird populations.

      Not a tenured professor with an army of undergraduates at your command? No problem! Anybody anywhere can contribute to a parallel project using the citizen science database, iNaturalist. Join us and help understand and reduce bird-window collisions world-wide.

      Scarlet Tanager

      Scarlet Tanager

      As for Duke, the university’s project managers and architects have been very receptive to our radical bird-oriented ideas. The Graduate and Professional Student Counsel recently passed a resolution asking for an end to the carnage by adopting bird-friendly design practices and retrofitting the deadliest of buildings. So there appears to be a lot of positive momentum. We hope that soon, at least with regard to bird-window collision deaths, Duke will no longer be #1.

      Read more about these projects in the websites:

      Duke Project: http://sites.duke.edu/birdcollisions/

      LEED Project: http://sites.duke.edu/leedcollisions/


      scott-wintonScott Winton is a PhD candidate at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where he studies the effects of waterfowl on greenhouse gas emissions at Mattamuskeet NWR in eastern North Carolina. He is a native of Durham, NC, and studied geology and biology at Brown University where he founded the Brown Student Bird Club (“Brown Boobies”). Scott has spearheaded the push asking that Duke to mitigate bird-window collision deaths on campus.  He also serves as vice president of the Carolina Bird Club, for which he leads birding field trips across the Carolinas and in the Neotropics. He writes two blogs: Birds in a Changing World, for the Nicholas School of the Environment; and Birds on the Brain, an independent blog about his birding adventures. 

      NataliaNatalia Ocampo-Penuela is a PhD candidate at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment where she studies conservation of endemic and threatened birds in her native country, Colombia.  She leads the Bird-Window Collision Project at Duke after leading a similar effort in her undergraduate University, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Natalia also studies migration patterns of Orinoco Geese and leads birding field trips around the Carolinas and in the Neotropics. 

        On your mark, get set…

        April 15 isn’t just tax day. It’s also the kick off for the 2016 ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest. [read more…]

          2015 AOU Check-list Proposals, Part 3

          Here it is, the third and likely last document containing the proposed taxonomic updates to the AOU North American Check-list, which in turn are incorporated into the ABA Checklist. This batch contains 10 proposals that have been submitted in 2014 and early 2015, not all of which involve ABA-Area birds as the AOU’s North American [read more…]

            Blog Birding #230

            Here’s a bit more on the response (or more specifically, the response to the response) to the Jonathan Franzen climate essay in The New Yorker, this time from writer and wildlife activist Chris Clarke at Coyote Crossing.

            Say you’re a person passionately concerned about African wildlife, and in particular the plight of the white rhino, [read more…]

              April ABA Photo Quiz Online Now

              The ABA photo quiz has been around for a very long time, but it’s something I’ll bet not a lot of people know about. Every month, quizmaster Tony Leukering finds a misleading, disorienting, but identifiable photo and throws it out on the web for birders to take a crack at it. Their are no prizes [read more…]

                Rare Bird Alert: April 10, 2015

                Birds are moving here and there with purpose these days, and unfortunately that also applies to the infamous Mendocino, California, mystery shrike, which was not been seen since 4/8. Sadly, the bird left before completing its molt so the actual identification of the bird will probably remain a mystery. But not all ABA Area rarities [read more…]

                  On Franzen, Are We Missing the Point?

                  Last week, author, essayist, and birder Jonathan Franzen published a piece in The New Yorker on birds and climate change that asked, essentially, whether the focus on climate change by “green” organizations and institutions has made it harder for those of us interested in bird conservation to be heard in an increasingly crowded environmental marketplace. [read more…]

                    Spring? Winter? Sprinter?

                    The calendar says it’s spring. Much of the winter has been too warm for a normal Anchorage winter and often seemed like spring long before it was actually spring, but after that the weather has not been very consistent. It is still mostly not very spring-like now. Yesterday, we had a beautiful light snow that [read more…]

                      Smoked Hawk

                      The radar showed birds moving as we got started at 2:30 am. But it looked like birds moving out of central Illinois, rather than moving in.

                      Anyone who’s read much of my drivel over the years, knows I like doing Big Days. With my perennial Big Day buddy Jeff, we have been working at [read more…]

                      Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
                      If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
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