aba events

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!

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… [read more]

2014 Camp Colorado 2014 Camp Colorado

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...
Nikon Monarch 7

    Call for 2014 ABA Award Nominations!

    By ABA Board Awards Committee Chair Mike Bowen

    The deadline for nominating your fellow members of the birding community for ABA Awards in 2015 is coming up quickly – in fact, by December 31, 2014.

    Please read the criteria by which nominations will be judged very carefully then seriously consider nominating someone for an ABA Award. The descriptions of ABA Awards are on the ABA website at:


    and are reproduced again below.

    Laura Erickson

    Laura Erickson, recipient of the ABA’s 2014 Roger Tory Peterson Award

    When you nominate someone, please be sure that your nominee’s achievements are closely related to those called for in the award description. Be as specific as you can in your nominations. Do not nominate someone for an award where their contributions to birding do not correspond with the descriptions on the web site and please do not assume that the ABA Awards Committee is necessarily as familiar as you are with the merits of the nominee.

    A full list of past awardees can be found here.


    How to nominate someone

    Use the on-line nominations procedures outlined on the web site here, or use old-fashioned printed nomination forms (they are very welcome too!) and send them in to ABA at: P.O. Box 744, Delaware City, DE 19706. A blank form can be downloaded from the web site.

    The American Birding Association has six awards to recognize the many kinds of contributions dedicated individuals can make to the cause of birds, birders and birding. The awards and the categories of achievement they recognize are as follows:

    The ABA Roger Tory Peterson Award for Promoting the Cause of Birding

    Given for a lifetime of achievements in promoting the cause of birding. Since ABA is centered on the activity of birding, it is appropriate for this organization to give an award which honors individuals who have, by various means, advanced the cause of birding. Roger Tory Peterson furthered the study, appreciation and protection of birds the world over. His contributions have been recognized worldwide and he has received two nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. Because Roger Tory Peterson is probably best known as someone who has promoted the cause of birding, it is appropriate that this award be given in his name.

    The ABA Chandler Robbins Award in Education/Conservation

    Given for making significant contributions to birder education and/or bird conservation. This award recognizes outstanding efforts in birder education, bird conservation or in the management or preservation of habitats on which birds and birding depends. It is presented to an individual in either area or to someone who has achieved in both areas. ABA considers that the quality and scope of Chan Robbins’ work make him an outstanding person after whom to name the award.

    The ABA Claudia Wilds Award for Distinguished Service to ABA

    Given for distinguished service to ABA. It is awarded to any member who has given long and useful service to the organization, either paid or as a volunteer. This is a way for ABA to honor those individuals who have devoted many hours and considerable energy to the good of the organization. The name of this award was selected to honor Claudia Wilds, former ABA Secretary, because of her many contributions to ornithology and to the Association.

    The ABA Robert Ridgway Award for Publications in Field Ornithology

    Given for excellence in publications pertaining to field ornithology. The award is given specifically for publications on the subjects of field identification and bird distribution in North America. It is given to either authors or artists. This award recognizes professional achievements in field ornithology literature.

    The ABA Ludlow Griscom Award for Outstanding Contributions in Regional Ornithology

    Given to individuals who have dramatically advanced the state of ornithological knowledge for a particular region. This may be through their long-time contributions in monitoring avian status and distribution, facilitating the publication of state bird books, breeding bird atlases and significant papers on the regional natural history of birds. This may also be through the force of their personality, teaching and inspiration.

    The ABA Betty Petersen Award for Conservation and Community

    This newest ABA Award was established by the ABA Board in 2013. It honors those who, like the late Betty Petersen, have made great strides in expanding, diversifying and strengthening the birding community and those who have worked to build a support network for conservation. It recognizes that major contributions are often made by those who work behind the scenes, organizing and facilitating progress. While conservation is a key element, the focus here is less on ornithology and more on the skill of supporting and connecting people, reinforcing the fabric of our bird conservation community.


    The nomination and selection process is the same for all awards. ABA Awards will be presented at ABA sponsored or cosponsored events or at appropriate birding venues. Which awards are given each year is the decision of the ABA Board of Directors, based on the recommendations of the ABA Awards Committee. There is no requirement that each award must be given every year.

    Nominations can be made only by current members of ABA in good standing. The general membership is strongly encouraged to make nominations. The nominations deadline is December 31, 2014.

    Questions? Ask the committee chair – see contact details below.

     The ABA Awards Committee:

    Michael Bowen, Chair dhmbowen@ AT yahoo.com; (301) 530-5764

    Kenn Kaufman

    John Robinson

    Bob Warneke

      Blog Birding #212

      There are no shortage of tips for those who attend bird walks, but fewer for those who seek to lead them, which requires walking that fine line between finding lots of birds and making sure everyone gets good looks at the ones you see. At The Eyre, Aidan Place offers some pointers, particularly aimed at younger birders tasked with leading groups of individuals often significantly older then themselves.

      Leading a walk as a teenager can be a stressful experience. It can be hard to decide where exactly go, what pace is good for the entire group, and when to end the walk. On top of these logistical challenges, people ask questions and expect you to know the answers! This can be quite hard sometimes. In spite of these stresses, leading a bird walk is extremely rewarding. I recommend every young birder experience it.

      Too often it’s easy to overlook female ducks and just focus on the flashy, and distinctive, males, but we improve as birders when we pay attention to the harder stuff. Victoria Campbell at Cornell’s All About Birds Blog makes the case for challenging ourselves and offers tips to do so.

      Ducks are fun to watch because they’re large, they sit out in the open, and the males are beautifully colorful. In fact breeding males are so distinctive that they draw many a birder’s attention away from the less colorful members of the flock. But taking a closer look at brown ducks can open a whole new level of appreciation, and can even add a few species to your day’s checklist.

      Sometimes it’s helpful to go overseas for clues on some of the more difficult identifications in North America. The white-cheeked goose complex is an unappreciated ID conundrum, particularly as the line between Canada and Cackling is not cut and dried in the least. The Irish Rare Birds Committee website published a review of white-cheeked goose records for that country, which contains a number of relevant tips for North American birders as well.

      As a result of this established feral population, Canada Goose is on the Irish list as a Category C1 species; that being ‘species that, although originally introduced by man, have established feral breeding populations in Ireland which apparently maintain themselves without necessary recourse to further introduction’. In addition, it is also on the Irish list as a Category A species; that being ‘species that have been recorded in an apparently natural state in Ireland at least once since 1st January 1950′. These have involved birds belonging to one of the smaller subspecies and/or occurring in winter (generally at sites not normally frequented by feral birds) and/or associating with flocks of suitable carrier species (e.g. Greenland White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons flavirostris and Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis).

      The localized population of Red Crossbill in Idaho’s South Hills is considered by some authorities to be a good, if cryptic, species in its own right. If that split ever comes, birders will likely want information on finding these birds, which Ryan O’Donnell provides at Birding is Fun.

      We started by driving up Rock Creek Road into the South Hills.  From I-84 take Exit 182 and head south.  Just after you cross the river gorge, turn left onto 3800E.  This becomes Rock Creek Road and takes you right into the hills and up to the crossbills!  Watch the landscape change as you ascend, first valley agriculture, then sagebrush, then junipers, and finally Lodgepole Pines.  These pines are the preferred habitat of the South Hills Crossbill.

      For such a put-upon family of birds, gulls get a lot of love in the bird blogosphere. Perhaps that’s because there’s always something noteworthy to say about them. Steve Tucker at Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds welcomes the return of gull season.

      I hate gulls, but I just can’t help myself. I must look at them. They demand my attention. I want the glory, the fame, and the sex of finding the state’s second Great Black-backed Gull, or another precious Black-tailed Gull. I want to be able to competently discuss such obscure identification features that if I try to describe them to another birder, their eyes will just glaze over in utter horror and confusion…and you know what? I’m well on my way there, but unfortunately many birders are still able to understand what I am talking about, gulls are still frustrating to identify, and birding is still hard…and that is why I fail.

        ABA Classifieds Back by Popular Demand!

        The retirement of the ABA’s Winging It newsletter meant the launch of the ABA’s exciting new Birder’s Guide series, which we can agree was positive development. What was less agreed upon was the retirement of the ABA’s print classifieds section, which featured ads for businesses and individuals seeking to buy, sell, and trade among the [read more…]

          Rare Bird Alert: November 21, 2014

          Lots of weather news this week. A massive cold weather system pushed into the Lower 48 putting much of the ABA Area (aside from Alaska, weirdly) in the deep freeze. It still remains to be seen whether the system will affect the movement of birds, but those that were found this week seem  mostly to [read more…]

            Help the ABA Finish Strong in 2014!

            It’s that time of year again, and we certainly understand that you’ll be seeing a lot of these sorts of messages from a lot of wonderful organizations in the coming weeks so we’ll try not to overdue it. But this is just a reminder that we at the ABA are incredibly thankful for the support [read more…]

              #ABArare – Common Crane – Texas

              On the late afternoon on 11/18, Justin Bosler found an ABA Code 4 Common Crane among a large flock of Sandhill Cranes at Muleshoe NWR in Bailey County, Texas. Pending acceptance this is a first state record for Texas.

              Photo by Justin Bosler, used with permission

              Muleshoe NWR is in the Texas panhandle, just [read more…]

                Introducing the ABA State Guides


                In one of the ABA’s most ambitious undertakings ever, the association has partnered with New York–based publisher Scott & Nix, Inc., to produce a series of field identification guides to the birds of the U.S. states.

                The initiative is briskly under way, with three titles already released in 2014: The ABA Field Guide to [read more…]

                  The Festival Phenomenon

                  Kilted birders take the stage at last week’s Rio Grande festival (note ABA prez Jeff Gordon, far right).

                  My flight home from Harlingen, Texas, last Monday—after a wonderful week at the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival—marked the end of an exhilarating and maybe unprecedented streak: This year, I participated in 15 separate birding [read more…]

                    Blog Birding #211

                    Despite their often befuddling array of plumages, the transition from juvenile to adult in gulls is a fascinating one. MiaMcPherson, of On the Wing Photography, shares some photos of Ring-billed Gulls of all ages and plumages.

                    In February of 2011 I wrote about the age progression of Bald Eagles along with images to illustrate the [read more…]

                      YOUR TURN: Photo Big Days

                      “On April 21, 2014, at 9:28 a.m., in Angelina National Forest, Texas, a team of dedicated birder/photographers armed themselves with cameras and headed out to set a new North American record for the number of species of birds photographed in a 24-hour period.”

                      That’s how Scott Whittle and Tom Stephenson begin the tale of their “Photo Big [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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                      • Nine Tips for Leading Bird Walks November 18, 2014 9:39
                        Recently, I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. More and more young birders have been leading bird walks. This is awesome and really helps enrich the young birder community, as well as the birding community as a whole. […]
                      • Young Birder Blog Birding #34 November 3, 2014 4:34
                        October is one of my favorite months for birding. While, at least where I am, most Neotropical migrants have already passed through by the end of September, October brings some really great birds into the area. […]
                      • Young Birder Blog Birding #33 October 31, 2014 8:00
                        Wow. September brings migrating birds, exciting cold front fallouts, and exceedingly productive birding blogs. The results from the summer are in, flooding the pages with posts about fun summer camps, projects, and birding excursions, followed closely by fall, with new birds and weekend trips. […]

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