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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

    Blog Birding #197

    Sharon Stiteler, known far and wide as Birdchick, is covering the important case of the Minnesota Vikings, whose brand new stadium looks to be something of a mess for migratory birds.

    I’m not a big fan of petitions but this is a rare case where I think we need as many signatures as possible. Even I signed this one. The Minnesota Vikings have been made aware of how lethal their glass design will be to migrating birds by Minnesota Audubon. They’ve chosen to ignore that and it’s a big problem. This isn’t a bird watcher vs football thing. This is a common sense, “let’s be reasonable” sort of thing. Please sign it. Please share this blog entry. Please spread the word to your friends.

    At the always fascinating Earbirding, Andrew Spencer looks at the acoustic signature of the Timberline Sparrow, a distinct subspecies of Brewer’s Sparrow and one of the least known bird taxa in North America.

    In addition to having one of the best voices in the west, Brewer’s Sparrow also has an interesting taxonomic facet to its name.  The nominate breweri subspecies is familiar to most anyone who birds in the appropriate habitat.  Less well known is that there is another subspecies - taverneri - that was first described as a separate species from far to the north of most Brewer’s Sparrows (Swarth and Brooks 1925).  Unlike the nominate subspecies, it is restricted to stunted, willow-dominate thickets right below treeline – hence the common name of “Timberline” Sparrow.  It was later lumped with Brewer’s Sparrow, but recent morphometric and genetic studies have again raised interest in the form (see Klicka et al 1999).

    Clare Kines has a perspective few birders have experienced. His world, in the Nunavut arctic, is an incredible one, and he shares it at 10,000 Birds.

    Wildlife concentrates at the Floe Edge, and although we just missed Narwhal as pack ice moved in just after we arrived, the place was littered with Polar Bear. Tracks dotted the ice, and we saw several, although mostly they were at a distance. Still, with that many bear you have to stay vigilant. Indeed a scant two weeks earlier two young men from Arctic Bay were attacked as they slept in their tent, narrowly escaping with their lives. One described how he could see down the bears throat as its jaws closed round his head, the animal’s paw pushing him further into its maw. Luckily attacks are rare, but we made plans to stay in a refuge cabin at the point, and joined up with a group that had brought a dog, which acts as an early warning system.

    Alec Wyatt is one of the ABA’s Young Birders of the Year for 2014. He writes about his birding story at The Eyrie.

    My interest began with a little yellow field notebook. It was March 2009 when I completed my first notebook pages with crude illustrations of a White-breasted Nuthatch in my yard. The prospect of filling up that notebook with drawings and notes of the birds around me was exciting. In the following months, I worked to finish every page in the notebook. I was an eager ten-year-old who was far more concerned about filling my notebook than about the notebook’s implications for my future. I quickly made it to the final page and by May of that same year, the completed notebook started to gather dust on my shelf. I was not aware at the time, but three years from then the little book would set the stage for my biggest undertaking yet: the ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest.

    Birds are confusing, in ways that are impossible to predict and foolish to deny. Steve Tucker of Bourbon, Bastards and Birds warns us all about the perils of poor lighting.

    Birders have a lot of cliches. One you hear over and over again, in heated, sweaty-palmed and pained discussions on advanced bird ID (and occasionally, with regards to provenance) is “caution is warranted”. What birder popularized this phrase? We may never know. One thing that is not uncertain is that it is good advice, albeit phrased in such a melodramatic and painfully nerdy manner that I wince when I try to say it.

      ABA’s Regional Interest Discussion Groups

      The birding scene in North America is primarily state/province based, reflected in the vibrant listserv culture that the birding community has created and nurtured. But stuck as we are in our ruts, we miss opportunities to share information across those lines.

      To use my own home state as an example; birders from all over the east coast come annually to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, but they might not know the inside spots for target birds or the current conditions that make the difference between finding precisely what you’re looking for and driving around aimlessly for hours (we’ve all been there). It would be helpful to be able to reach outside of our listserv communities to pass on intel on those little known birding spots, those bird-friendly restaurants, the people to ask or the guides to use.

      With that in mind, the ABA is trying something new in the way we communicate with each other. We’re piloting a pair of new Facebook groups aimed at building new lines of communication and foster new connections outside of those traditional state/county/metro communities. It’s an experiment to be sure, but one we think will pay dividends. After all, birds have little respect for arbitrary boundaries, there’s no reason why we should be beholden to them either.

      The first two pilot groups are based in the Great Lakes (both sides of the USA/Canada border) and the Mid-Atlantic.

      ABA GLABA MA

      We know that there are some people out there who are not big fans of Facebook. We accept that and understand that hesitations are not entirely unjustified. But those of you who are active users know that although there are some concerns, it’s an effective tool for communicating with people from all over the world. We’re hoping to leverage that into something good for the ABA and the birding community.

      Come join us.

        #ABArare – “Salvin’s” Shy Albatross – California

        While we’re all eagerly awaiting the likely split of Shy Albatross by the AOU in their forthcoming Check-list supplemental, it’s worth reviewing the status of the species in ABA Area waters. The three “Shy” Albatrosses are represented by eight records from California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. Of those states, California is the only one with [read more...]

          2014 Camp Colorado

          July 4, 2014: 10:00 am. I’ve just picked up my rental car at the airport in Denver and am driving by Barr Lake State Park. I’ve arrived a few days early to do some pre-camp scouting in preparation for the ABA’s Camp Colorado. I’m not 10 minutes from the airport when I spot a Swainson’s [read more...]

            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 [read more...]

              The Way We Were–And Still Are?

              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 [read more...]

                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:

                  http://blog.aba.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Audio-1-Carolina-Nuthatch.wav

                  (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...]

                      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.
                      Read More »

                      Recent Comments

                      • John K., in ABA's Regional Interest Discussion Groups... { Why not do this through ABA's own web servers? I don't use Facebook and don't plan to start. I see this as making some of... }
                      • Ted Floyd, in How to Record Birdsong—Part 3... { I see that Peter Marler, a pioneer in understanding and recording birdsong, has died. The New York Times has a thorough obit: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/28/us/28marler.html?hpw&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpHedThumbWell&module=well-region&region=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well }
                      • Mike Patterson, in How Many Species of White-breasted Nuthatches?... { The fundamental argument here reflects the space between watching birds and keeping lists of names of birds and where we, as birders, fall within that... }
                      • Catch up | Jennie's Team In Training Blog { […] well, if a little sporadically. I was in Colorado earlier this month for about a week and a half, leading a young birder camp for the... }
                      • Alvaro Jaramillo, in #ABArare - "Salvin's" Shy Albatross - California... { if anyone is interested in a chase trip - Wed Aug 30th. We are trying our luck. alvaro@alvarosadventures.com, 650-504-7779. }
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                      • Meet Alec Wyatt: 2014 ABA Young Birder of the Year July 21, 2014 7:42
                        “I did a bunch of stuff. If you want to, you can read about it in the 150-page book in which I have compiled my work.” So far, just a few brave souls have taken me up on my offer. […]
                      • Book Review: The Sibley Guide to Birds, 2nd Edition June 25, 2014 6:30
                        In 2000, the birding world greeted the arrival of the revolutionary new Sibley Guide to Birds. Now, 13 years later, we welcome the long awaited updated second edition of our favorite field guide. […]
                      • Meet Chloe Walker: 2014 ABA Young Birder of the Year June 17, 2014 8:51
                        Although I "officially" started birding when I was eleven, my interest in birds began when I was nine. I remember taking my mom's camera outside and just "playing around" with it. […]

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