With the forthcoming rearrangement of the family Thraupidae to exclude from the ABA Area all but the occasional wanderer or hyperlocal resident, it’s actually become something of a novelty to have to species of “tanagers” in the ABA Area at the same time, at at the same location as well.
On February 22, Carl Goodrich photographed an ABA Code 4 Bananaquit at Bahia Honda State Park on Big Pine Key in Monroe County, Florida. The bird was seen on the Silver Palm Trail and was photographed by other birders that same day and the next.
But that next day saw yet another great bird at Bahia Honda, an ABA Code 4 Black-faced Grassquit, photographed by Gil Ewing. This bird was in the campground, near the bathroom.
Photo by Gil Ewing
Bananaquit is ubiquitous and highly variable species across most of the tropical Americas. There are a number of records from Florida, mostly in the southern third of the peninsula. The closest subspecies to the ABA Area is bahamensis of, appropriately, the Bahamas, which is a white-throated subspecies as opposed to others with are darker throats, such as the Puerto Rican portoicensis and Hispaniolan bananivora.
Black-faced Grassquit is resident throughout the Caribbean but are very rarely seen in Florida. The most recent sightings were from Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park in 2003, Jupiter Ridge Natural Area in 2004, and Bill Baggs SP in 2013. Like the Bananaquit, this bird is mostly likely to be the Bahamanian subspecies bicolor.
On Feruary 7th, over fifty representatives from 21 bird clubs from New York to Virginia assembled at ABA Headquarters in Delaware City, Delaware for the first ever Mid-Atlantic Bird Club Conference (MABCC). The goal was to discuss the issues facing bird clubs today and to consider how we might meet these challenges and also strengthen our community.
As one might expect, given the site of this event, Delaware was well represented and we called upon our local nearby bird club, the Delmarva Ornithological Society (DOS) to help lead some of the discussions. Also we were visited during the course of the day both by the Delaware City Chief of Police David Baylor, and the Mayor of Delaware City, Stan Green.
Birders from New York to Virginia gathered at ABA headquarters on Feb 7th to talk about bird clubs.
The morning was mostly given over to large group discussions on items of interest to bird clubs: use of social media, attracting and retaining young birders, planning conservation initiatives and events. In the afternoon attendees broke into smaller working groups to share ideas and network. By all accounts it was a smashing success, with everyone involved, both ABA staff and bird club reps, coming away feeling really positive about the future of our respective organizations and the ways in which we can work together to promote birding, bird conservation, and fellowship.
The ABA, with membership the encompasses the United States, Canada, and beyond, seeks to reach a broad audience, but our success is very much tied to the success of local and regional bird clubs. It it the local bird club chapter that is on the front lines reaching out to birders where they are, leading field trips to local hotspots, nurturing young and novice birders, prioritizing local conservation initiatives and doing the hard work of building the birding community from the ground up. It has been that way in North America for as long as bird-watching has been a thing.
One of the reasons the ABA was so excited to move to the Mid-Atlantic was because basing ourselves in the region, and in Delaware in particular it seems, puts us right in the middle of a whole lot of birders. We’re interested in being good neighbors, in sharing what we do well with other bird groups, and facilitating opportunities to allow all of us to do more together.
This meeting is only the beginning. As the ideas from this one-day bird brainstorming session matriculate out into the region, you’ll undoubtedly hear more about what went on earlier this month, and we’re excited to share that with you. If you attended the meeting, please comment below, and let us know what ideas resonated with you, and what you’ve taken back to your home bird club. And certainly, what you’d like to see more of, too.
Thanks to everyone who attended and shared ideas. We’re certain we’ll see another event like this one in the not-too-distant future.
I am now NOT doing a big year (as I keep telling myself and everyone else) even though I am in Alaska and could have begun an Anchorage big year and/or an Alaskan big year in January. When I am not doing a big year, I try to be a more normal birder, so I [read more…]
As the winter moves on, there’s a ton going on at Project SNOWStorm as they continue to add owls to their tracking study. Scott Weidensaul has more.
Thursday night was a busy one around here — four of our newest cohort of owls checked in, as well as two of last winter’s returnees.
Let’s start [read more…]
At the Mic: Carlos Sanchez
Through actions or words, individuals have the power to set either a positive or a negative social dynamic within a local birding community. The consequences of a relentlessly negative and divisive dynamic can be dire at the local level, creating ripple effects with far-reaching impacts, from dissuading a younger generation [read more…]
Another relatively slow week as far as new birds to the ABA Area. The fair weather in the west seemed to make for slow birding while the deep freeze in the east made for practically no birding. There are still several lingering birds, however, as both rarities in south Texas, the Gray-crowned Yellowthroat and the [read more…]
It’s not often that birding is taken seriously in the regular media, and we all know about the epidemic of “birders flock” and “for the birds” headlines in newspapers throughout the english-speaking world. It seems that puns are like catnip to the newspaper crowd, who seem wholly unaware of their pervasiveness.
So a nice, birding-positive, [read more…]
Here it is, the second 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 13 proposals that have been submitted in 2014, not all of which involve ABA-Area birds as the AOU’s North American jurisdiction includes Mexico and Central America [read more…]
This past Sunday, I had a very pleasant experience … two experiences at once, actually. One was spending the morning in my local turf with a posse of great birders, including Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd.
Left-to-right: my big mug, Shawn Chandler, Danny Akers, Amar Ayyash, Andy Sigler, Ted Floyd, Joel Greenberg. At William W. [read more…]
The great burden of birders is to constantly have to fight the common usage of “seagull” by our non birding friends and family. But few gulls deserve that kind of disrespect, and Carrie Laben, at 10,000 Birds, seeks to find the most interesting gull in the world.
My first instinct was that the rarest gull [read more…]