aba events

Limited Edition 2014 ABA Bird of the Year T-Shirt Available NOW!

Now that the Rufous Hummingbirds are starting their slow journey south, stopping off at hummingbird feeders… [read more]

Limited Edition 2014 ABA Bird of the Year T-Shirt Available NOW! Limited Edition 2014 ABA Bird of the Year T-Shirt Available NOW!

How to Record Birdsong—Part 1

  Two years ago in this space I wrote a three-part primer on the use of digital audio recorders for… [read more]

How to Record Birdsong—Part 1 How to Record Birdsong—Part 1

Featured Photo: May/June 2014 Birding

Here are three images that appear in the “Featured Photo” column of the May/June 2014 issue of Birding.… [read more]

Featured Photo: May/June 2014 Birding Featured Photo: May/June 2014 Birding

On Stringing…

(with apologies to “Pat Stringer”) Never identify a bird unless you’re 100% positive. At least… [read more]

On Stringing… On Stringing...

Introducing: The Lifelook

One of the most interesting facets of birding culture is its unique vocabulary. From lifers to dips to… [read more]

Introducing: The Lifelook Introducing: The Lifelook

ABA Adds Zino’s Petrel, #982

On 16 September 1995, Brian Patteson photographed a Pterodroma petrel off Hatteras, North Carolina. At… [read more]

ABA Adds Zino’s Petrel, #982 ABA Adds Zino's Petrel, #982
Nikon Monarch 7

    Rare Bird Alert: July 25, 2014

    Another week on the slower side in the ABA Area, but quality remains high. Numbers of shorebirds are beginning to increase continent-wide and with them the exciting Eurasian vagrants that get every birder’s heart going this time of year. The Red-necked Stint in Florida last week was only the beginning (that bird continues into this week), and stint’s are on the minds and in the binoculars of birders in a couple states this week.

    Top billing, however, has to go to a European Golden-Plover (ABA code 3) seen by many in Hunterdon, New Jersey, this week. Not only was it a 1st state record, but it’s the first individual seen south of Newfoundland following what was a unprecedented incursion of the species not more than three months ago. With more than 200 Euro Golden-Plovers seen in that province this year, there’s reason to think that some lingering individuals may have felt the urge to head south on this side of the Atlantic instead of heading home first. It has happened before, and birders on the east coast should keep a close eye out for this species as the summer rolls on (and maybe next spring too).

    Photo by Alan Mart

    Is this European Golden-Plover in New Jersey a one-off, or the tip of the spear? Photo by Alan Mart, used with permission

    The aforementioned stints are beginning to make their expected appearance on the west coast, with a Red-necked Stint (3) found and photographed in Contra Costa, California, notably a first record for that county. In southern California, an influx of boobies included the somewhat expected Brown varieties, but also at least one Blue-footed Booby (4) in San Diego.

    A pair of promising stint reports came out of Oregon this week, though the birds were not photographed and are yet to be relocated. A possible Little Stint (4) in Clatsop and a candidate Long-toed Stint (3) in Tillamook. Those will likely get the #ABArare treatment if they pan out, so keep an eye out here.

    In Utah, an adult Little Blue Heron was photographed in Davis.

    A rare summer record of Pacific Loon was visiting busy Lake Perry in Jefferson, Kansas.

    Expanding north and west with some regularity, a Glossy Ibis was seen in Barnes, North Dakota.

    In Illinois, a White-winged Dove was a brief visitor to a feeder in Cook.

    Quebec’s 2nd record of Black Skimmer was seen by many in Riviere-Ouelle. Likely a remnant of Hurricane Arthur, this is the first record of the species in the province since 1938.

    In Nova Scotia, good birds include a Glossy Ibis in Yarmouth and a Black-necked Stilt in Lunenburg.

    In Delaware, a Ruff (3) was photographed in Sussex.

    And in Maryland, a Neotropic Cormorant was seen near Violettes, another outlier for this increasingly expected vagrant species this year.


    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.

      The Way We Were--And Still Are?

      14-3-03-01 [Harriet Davidson]ABA member Harriet Davidson (right) is the very essence of the modern birder: She’s an unrepentant lister, an S&D (“status and distribution”) junkie, and a widely published author (including new-media offerings like DVDs about penguins). Okay, she’s the essence of a particularly ambitious and energetic sort of modern birder.

      There’s more. Davidson was the only woman on the first exploratory team at Attu. Which, if you know anything about Attu, means she’s been around for a while. A very long while. Harriet Davidson is 95 years young.

      Davidson’s commentary, “On Rereading Jean Piatt’s Adventures in Birding,” appearing on pp. 16-20 of the May/June Birding, is a bewitching and effective blend of reminiscence and modern-day musing. At one level, I read the commentary as a straightforward retelling of the way things used to be. At another level, I can’t help but feel a trans-epochal link with the great birders who were active well before my birth. Channeling the mid-20th century birding great Jean Piatt, Davidson affirms a great capital-B “Brotherhood” of birders. In this view, we’re all birding brothers and sisters, as different as we might otherwise be.

      What about you? If you’re an ABA member and have read Davidson’s commentary, what do you think? How do her reflections comport with your own? Are you struck by all the ways birding has changed in the past several decades? Or are you more impressed by the timelessness and universality of Jean Piatt and Harriet Davidson’s “Brotherhood”?

        ABA Hosting "Thank You, Colorado!" Event, August 9

        Residents of Colorado, or birders visiting the state the first week of August will be interested in a fun party and farewell open house to be held Saturday, August 9th, at the American Birding Association’s headquarters in Colorado Springs. As many of you know, the ABA is relocating its administrative offices to Delaware City, Delaware, [read more...]

          How Many Species of White-breasted Nuthatches?


          If you live and bird in the eastern U.S. or eastern Canada, you’ve probably learned the common call note of the familiar White-breasted Nuthatch: a loud, throaty, somewhat nasal yawrnk. Here’s a recording, courtesy of recordist Mike Nelson, from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee:


          (Can you recognize the other birds in this [read more...]

            Sign up for Flight Calls, the ABA’s Newsletter

            We at the ABA try to make finding out what’s going on at the organization as easy as possible for members and friends. There’s the blog, the website, and our stable of fine publications. If you’re interested in more ABA stuff, please subscribe to our newsletter, Flight Calls. It’ll come to your email inbox regularly [read more...]

              Blog Birding #196

              Birders have watched closely the rapid increase in the number of Lesser Black-backed Gulls in North America, from the rare winter stray to an increasingly common summer resident in the north. Amar Ayyash at Anything Larus, may have hit the motherload last week, however, with an impressive concentration of the species in Wisconsin.

              On Friday, [read more...]

                #ABArare – European Golden-Plover – New Jersey

                At long last, the shorebird scene is starting to come alive. First a Red-necked Stint in Florida, and now following up on a report of a large plover in a field in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, Alan Mart photographed an apparent ABA Code 3 European Golden-Plover in an agricultural area near the town of Pittstown. [read more...]

                  California Condors Nesting in Utah for the First Time

                  Well, the first time in several hundred years, at least. A pair of California Condors at Zion National Park in Utah are raising a single chick, documented by park staff and a number of other state and federal groups.

                  As birders undoubtedly know already, the iconic California Condor was the focus of one of the [read more...]

                    Rare Bird Alert: July 18, 2014

                    If last week was slow, this week, sadly, is slower. But there are signs of a resurgence for those with eyes to see. Mid-summer is the beginning of vagrant shorebird season, and stints are on their way to North America and now is the time to be on the look out for them.

                    First blood [read more...]

                      #ABArare – Red-necked Stint – Florida

                      Mid-summer means one thing in North America – it’s stint season!

                      The first report in the lower 48 came just yesterday when visiting birders Viktor Nilsson-Örtman and his father, Håkan Örtman discovered an ABA Code 3 Red-necked Stint at Boca Chica Beach in Monroe County, Florida. Remarkably, this would be a first state record for [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.
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