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!

“Emptying the Skies” to Bring Attention to Mediterranean Bird Trapping


ABA members and friends will likely be interested in a new film, based on a New Yorker Magazine essay by novelist and essayist Jonathan Franzen. Emptying the Skies exposes the rampant poaching of migratory songbirds in southern Europe, where songbird populations have been drastically declining for several decades, with a number of species facing imminent extinction. This documentary explores the wonder of these tiny hemisphere-spanning marvels, millions of which are unlawfully trapped and killed each year for large sums on the black market, and follows a group of European bird-lovers who risk their lives waging a secret war against poachers, to disrupt illegal trapping to free as many as possible.

Filmmakers Douglas Kass and Roger Kass are embedded with their subjects for a year in order to put viewers right at the front line as poachers are confronted in Cyprus, France, and Italy. A moving call to arms in the spirit of The Cove, Emptying the Skies chronicles a devastating environmental tragedy and the valiant journey of those risking their lives to stop it.

Emptying the Skies has been available on iTunes starting April 21st, as well as Google Play and Amazon. Please let us know in the comments if you end up checking it out, we’d love to heard what you think.

For more information on Emptying the Skies, see their website.

Rare Bird Alert: April 24, 2015


This time of year is hard for rarity hunters, and even moreso for hunters of rarity records. Listservs are filling up with reports of expected but long-anticipated first of year reports, which makes parsing through them a little more difficult. What I mean to say is that if I accidentally left off a bird in your home state or province please let me know, or leave it in the comments.

One first record this week, and it’s a bit of a doozy. Chandler Hunts found a Burrowing Owl at Bombay Hook near Smyrna, Delaware. There are a handful or records of the species along the east coast as far north as Atlantic Canada, seemingly evenly mixed between Florida and western birds, but none in recent years. A few birders got out to see it before dark, but it was not seen again after that first day.

Delaware's first Burrowing Owl, photo by Chandler Wiegand, used with permission

Delaware’s first Burrowing Owl, photo by Chandler Wiegand, used with permission

In New York, a Western Tanager in Nassau is good, but even more interesting is a Neotropic Cormorant seen in Chatauqua, potentially the state’s 2nd.

In Connecticut, at least two Thayer’s Gulls have been seen near West Haven.

It’s been a great spring for Swallow-tailed Kites in New England, and another one was found at Hope Valley, Rhode Island.

In Maine and overshot Prothonotary Warbler was on Monhegan Island.

Noteworthy for Nova Scotia was a Field Sparrow in Shelburne.

In Quebec, a pair of Barnacle Geese (ABA Code 4) were photographed at Montérégie.

Great for Ohio was a female Ruff (3) in Trumbell.

In Kentucky, a Black-bellied Whistling Duck was found near Richmond, perhaps a sign of another summer movement of that species.

In Minnesota, a Eurasian Wigeon, always notable in the continent’s interior, was in Kittson.

Good birds for Colorado include a Western Gull in Morgan and a Painted Redstart in Montrose.

Nevada also had a Painted Bunting in Clark, a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker in Wells, and a White-tailed Kite in Washoe.

In California, a pair of Common Black-Hawks were seen in Riverside.

A Hermit Warbler was found in South Vancouver Island, British Columbia, this week.

An interesting bird regardless of origin, a California Condor from the Utah population was tracked by its receiver as it crossed Montezuma, Colorado, into San Juan, New Mexico, this week.

In Arizona, an Eared Quetzal (4) was briefly seen (as is typical for this secretive bird) in Santa Cruz, and at least two Broad-winged Hawks were seen in the state, in both Maricopa and Pima.

A Fork-tailed Flycatcher (3) made an appearance in Nueces, Texas.

In Louisiana, both a Gray Kingbird and a Black-whiskered Vireo were found in Plaquemines/

And last but certainly not least, the rarity season in south Florida is heating up, with a heard-only Cuban Pewee (5) frustratingly avoiding birders near Key Largo, and Black Noddy (3) and Red-footed Booby (3) on the Dry Tortugas.


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 Top 10 Reasons to join the ABA India Safari

In October of 2014, the ABA partnered with Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Adventures to offer a new kind of event called the ABA South Africa Safari. That safari was such a resounding success we’re trying it again, but this time in India. Join us in February 2016 to search for Tigers, to behold the majestic Taj [read more…]

Birding is Hard

I started birding in 1972, and took to it like an ibis takes to drainage ditches. I pretty quickly learned all of the birds that could be reasonably expected in the city parks of Chicago, where I grew up. By 1975, I was a fully fledged, vagrant-hunting birder. By the time I was 13 years [read more…]

Hawkwatching, Alaska-Style

Have you ever been to a hawkwatch? Unless you have, it probably is hard for you to imagine what a variety of experiences a hawkwatch can provide. Sometimes a hawkwatch is exciting, when a distant tiny dot on the horizon turns into a dot with wings and then into a possibly identifiable hawk – high [read more…]

Photo Quiz, sort of: April 2015 Birding

First things first. The April 2015 Birding has gone to press, and members will be getting their copies very soon. ID articles in the April issue focus on Passerina buntings and Empidonax flycatchers. There’s also a commentary by Pete Dunne on the “Cape May School” of Bird ID.

And this bird:

Too easy, you [read more…]

Blog Birding #231

Winter is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean that Project SNOWstorm is going to stop following Snowy Owls. Scott Weidensaul checks in with what to expect as those geo-tagged birds start making their way northward.

Although it’s been more than a week since the last post, we’ve been really busy — and so [read more…]

Let’s Bird the Olympic Peninsula!

A moody scene on Washington’s ethereal Olympic Peninsula (Photo © Jess Findlay)

We got Sooty Grouse on the brain. Chestnut-backed Chickadee. Black Turnstone. And Aplodontia. Well… maybe not Aplodontia. Nobody has Aplodontia on the brain. But still, it’d be cool to see one, and if you join your fellow ABA members this September 16-20 [read more…]

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 [read more…]

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

A wild bird’s life ends with a thud against glass. Repeat one billion times per year and this tragedy becomes a statistic compelling enough to serve as a call-to-arms for conservationists. [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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Recent Comments

  • Ava, in Birding is Hard... { Greg, your quote, "The point of my essay here is that the challenge always continues, no matter how long you stay at it. The deeper... }
  • Steven Tucker, in Birding is Hard... { Birding is hard*. Taking inside jokes (which is what this phrase is) too literally is awfully easy in comparison. * = how often do birders... }
  • Greg Neise, in Birding is Hard... { Cameron, a couple points to start off with. For as long as I've been birding, the definition of it has been pretty clear in my... }
  • Ruth Hanessian, in Birding is Hard... { Greg's comments are right on but from a much older perspective I am now delighted to study more closely the "common" species in my back... }
  • Birding Online: February 2015 « ABA Publications { […] ABA members have access to the full text in magazine format of Keith Betton’s review of a new Helm Guide to Bird ID, as... }
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