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Photo Quiz: December 2016 Birding

The December 2016 Birding is winging its way to ABA members right now. While we wait for the mail to… [read more]

Photo Quiz: December 2016 Birding Photo Quiz: December 2016 Birding

The Kaufman Challenge, v. 0.5

What could be simpler? Learn the names of fifty plants and animals around your home. That’s all there… [read more]

The Kaufman Challenge, v. 0.5 The Kaufman Challenge, v. 0.5

It’s OK to Talk to Strangers – at Least if They Have Binoculars

I was desperate to find another birder, but generally speaking there are few to be found in the Black… [read more]

It’s OK to Talk to Strangers – at Least if They Have Binoculars It's OK to Talk to Strangers - at Least if They Have Binoculars

Open Mic – The Endangered Species Act and Birds: A Wild Success?

At the Mic: Jason A. Crotty The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is difficult to evaluate, as its success… [read more]

Open Mic – The Endangered Species Act and Birds:  A Wild Success? Open Mic - The Endangered Species Act and Birds:  A Wild Success?

Announcing the 2016 ABA Awards Recipients!

The ABA Board of Directors recently voted to make three presentations of ABA Awards in 2016. The awardees… [read more]

Announcing the 2016 ABA Awards Recipients! Announcing the 2016 ABA Awards Recipients!

Introducing the 2016 ABA Bird of the Year!

We're excited, at last, to share this year's ABA Bird of the Year and artist. Thanks to artist… [read more]

Introducing the 2016 ABA Bird of the Year! Introducing the 2016 ABA Bird of the Year!
Nikon Monarch 7

Blog Birding #303


It’s the coldest time of the year in the northern hemisphere, and still we want to get out in the field. Kyle Carlson, writing at Out There with the Birds has some tips on staying warm in cold conditions.

Today I spent part of my lunch break standing along the Ohio River in blowing snow and single-digit temperatures with the wind chill factor at twenty below zero, scanning for birds. It was totally worth it: I scored my first-of-year common goldeneye.

I was scanning from a public park (typically) frequented by walkers and runners. On this particularly frigid day, I was the only human around.

Tim Avery’s Undercover Big Year was a fun read, his new blog, Birds Big Years & Boredom, looks to be a similar sort of ride if his piece on sapsuckers is any indication.

Check out this gorgeous piece of sapsucker art from Salt Lake City.  The non-birders who found it sent me a picture of the bird for help identifying it–the grainy cell phone shot looked like it might be a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which is a pretty damn good bird for northern Utah–it would be a county lifer for me.  I’ve asked the homeowners to let me know if it comes back so I can maybe have a looksie.

White-winged Crossbills are fascinating birds, with their weird habits and nomadic lifestyles. At Audubon, Kenn Kaufman shares their story.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her then, but I could almost guarantee this bird wouldn’t come back. In fact, that’s the oddest thing about this species. You might think the weird crossed bill to be its most curious trait, but no, something else is even more remarkable: the White-winged Crossbill is the bird that never goes home.

There aren’t many day lists that would include both Pink-footed Goose and Red-headed Woodpecker. At Field and Footnotes Sarah (oldseapeabody) tells the story of such a remarkable day.

And there were a lot of Canadas. A conservative count brought me to at least 500, at which point I gave up trying to do a complete tally. Scattered among the geese were a good number of mallards, a couple of hooded mergansers, one stalking great-blue heron, and then…something smaller. Something with a brown head, grayish coverts, and a pair of pink feet looming just below the surface of the water.

Ama Ayyah is an unapologetic guller, and he wants everyone else to be one too. Or, at least, as he writes at Anything Larus, don’t be so hard on it.

There’s a certain subculture that exists in birding that generally sways birders from delving into this group altogether. Beginning birders are often given the impression that they’re to stay away from the dark abyss of gulls—namely four-year gulls (so-called large white-headed gulls). Those species are said to be the work of the devil. Countless times I’ve heard birders remark that “gulls are impossible” and “too hard” to identify. After hearing this enough times, a birder can be overcome with a defeatist attitude, and sadly some—including birders with decades of experience—never get around to sufficiently learning how to identify the gulls they see.


#ABArare – Black-tailed Gull – California


Another day, another ridiculously rare gull for California. On Friday, January 13, Steve Turley discovered an ABA Code 4 Black-tailed Gull near the John Denver Memorial, just east of Point Pinos in Monterey, California.

Photo: Bill Hill/Macaulay Library (S336461196)

John Denver Beach is just east of the Point Pinos Lighthouse off Ocean View Blvd in the town of Monterey. The nearest large airport is San Jose, about 1.5 hours to the north. Of note is a Ross’s Gull, California’s 2nd, that has been present for the last couple days in Half Moon Bay, about 2 hours up the coast from Monterey.

Black-tailed Gull is an east Asian species prone to vagrancy. Unsurprisingly, most records come from Alaska but it’s also been found in a number of states and provinces throughout the US and Canada. In just the past several years, it’s been seen in Newfoundland, California, and Washington state. In the center of the continent, records come from Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Ontario, and Manitoba.

Rare Bird Alert: January 13, 2017

A great many birds of note have continued well into 2017, including the Common Pochard (ABA Code 4) in California, now merely only the third most interesting bird in that state this week. Also lingering long into the new year, the Amazon Kingfisher (5) in Texas and the Streak-backed Oriole (4) in Arizona, which was [read more…]

American Birding Podcast: Sophie Webb, 2017 ABA Bird of the Year Artist

The latest episode of the American Birding Podcast is ready to go, and this time it’s all about our 2017 Bird of the Year, Ruddy Turnstone.

I share a conversation I had with scientist, author, and 2017 BOY artist Sophie Webb, whose image of Ruddy Turnstones will be featured on the cover of the [read more…]

Open Mic: An Open Letter to Everyone Who Loves Birds

At the Mic: George Fenwick, American Birding Conservancy President

If you care about birds—regardless of your political affiliation—you are probably wondering about the impact that recent political changes could have on bird conservation. We’re nonpartisan here at American Bird Conservancy, but we’re certainly concerned about changes that have been proposed already, such as a rollback [read more…]

2016 Big Years: Non ABA Area edition

The birding adventures of John Weigel, Olaf Danielson, Laura Keene, and Christian Hagenlocher sucked up a lot of the air this year, but there were a number of other birders taking on Big Years in their states and provinces, many of whom set new records in 2016. Photos of birders gleaned from various web and [read more…]

Blog Birding #302

We love hearing about your experiences with our 2017 Bird of the Year. Here’s one from Mia McPherson at On the Wing Photography. Keep them coming!

A few days ago the ABA announced the 2017 Bird of the Year as the Ruddy Turnstone and I couldn’t be any happier because shorebirds were my “spark” birds [read more…]

#ABArare – Eurasian Kestrel – California

On the afternoon of Friday, January 6, Casey Ryan and Tony Kurz discovered a female Eurasian Kestrel (ABA Code 4) near Eureka, Humboldt County, California. This is a potential 2nd record for California.

Photo: Sean McAllister/Macaulay Library (S33493278)

The bird was found on the north side of Humboldt Bay NWR, at the end of [read more…]

Rare Bird Alert: January 6, 2017

Happy New Year to ABA Blog readers and rare bird aficionados! If you’re planning on running an ABA Big Year for 2017 you’ve come to the right place. A number of 2016 birds have stuck around in the new year, including the continuing Common Pochard (ABA Code 4) in California and the Red-flanked Bluetail (4) [read more…]

The ABA Blog’s Most Popular Posts of 2016

At the intersection of the old year and the new year, I want to publicly thank all of those tho contributed to the blog this year, from regular contributors to guest writers to those who work behind the scenes keeping the whole thing functioning.

The following are the 10 most popular posts published on this [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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