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Blog Birding #354

The ABA-Leica Sub-adult Wheatears are preparing for the Champions of the Flyway. If you are need more reasons to donate, hear directly from one of the members, Aidan Place, at The Eyrie.

Anyone who has been present at a young birder camp, or perused the results of the ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest, or just generally come into any sort of contact with the young birder community can attest to just how much skill, talent, and potential is captured within it. It should therefore come as no surprise that the ABA’s young birders now have yet another feather in their cap (pardon the unintentional bird pun). For the first time ever, a contingent of young birders from the ABA Area will be headed to Israel to compete in the annual Champions of the Flyway bird race!

American Dipper is one of North America’s more endearing little birds. Bryce Robinson gives it the Ornithologi treatment.

I enjoy supplementing each illustration I do with a bit of deeper discussion pertaining to the subject at hand. Because I’m beginning more in-depth study of evolutionary history and relationships in birds, I’ll give a brief synopsis of our current understanding (thanks to Gary Voelker) of the evolution of the five species belonging to the dipper family (Cinclidae) and the origins of the American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) to complement this illustration.

If you’re a bird photographer you know that the ration of good photos to bad often tilts overwhelmingly towards the latter. At Feathered Photography, Ron Dudley offers a reason to appreciate the flaws.

I photographed this male Gadwall this past New Years Eve as he was landing on a local pond. I like his “water-skiing” pose, the sharpness of the duck, the water plume thrown up in front of him and the excellent eye contact but the image has at least one significant flaw.

The bird was too close to the top of the frame to get the composition I prefer so I had to compromise with this near-pano crop to make it look as good as it does. I could have added canvas up top but that’s something I try hard to avoid for reasons I’ve mentioned before. If this bird had been taking off instead of landing I probably would have deleted it.

Hydraulic Fracturing wells are popping up across North America, and the impacts on the environment are still unknown in many cases. A recent study on Louisiana Waterthrush nesting success, summarized at The AOU-COS Pubs Blog however, suggests that efforts need to be undertaken to protect waterways.

The central Appalachian region is experiencing the country’s most rapid growth in shale gas development, or “fracking,” but we’ve known almost nothing about how this is affecting the region’s songbird populations—until now. A new study from The Condor: Ornithological Applications demonstrates that the nesting success of the Louisiana Waterthrush—a habitat specialist that nests along forested streams, where the potential for habitat degradation is high—is declining at sites impacted by shale gas development in northwestern West Virginia.

While fire is an important part of maintaining certain ecosystems in the west, they can be harmful when they are too intense or too frequent, as explained at Phys.org.

On the tail of California’s most destructive and expensive year of firefighting ever, it might seem obvious that vegetation removal would reduce the risk of such a year happening again. But scientists from the University of Arizona and the University of California, Berkeley, are showing that in chaparral, California’s iconic shrubland ecosystem, management can devastate wild bird populations and that fire-risk reduction is only temporary.

Announcing the 2018 ABA Young Birders of the Year!

After months of dedicated work from young people across North America, our esteemed panel of judges has evaluated and tabulated the results of the 2018 ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest. We are very excited to announce the winners!

Your 2018 ABA Young Birders of the Year are 12-year-old Adam Dhalla from Coquitlam, British Columbia (11-13 Age Group) and 16-year-old Teodelina Martelli from Thousand Oaks, California (14-18 Age Group). Congratulations, Adam and Teodelina!

Adam Dhalla

Teodelina Martelli

Winning contestants receive prizes donated by birding-related businesses and organizations. Adam and Teodelina, as the top finishers in each Age Group, will receive a pair of Leica Trinovid binoculars donated by ABA’s Legacy Sponsor for the Young Birder of the Year Program, Leica Sport Optics. Congratulations to everyone who participated in this prestigious competition!

See the complete list of all of module winners over at The Eyrie, the ABA’s Young Birder Blog. And stay tuned to The Eyrie in the coming weeks to see excerpts from the winning entries, interviews with the winners, and more.

The 2019 contest begins on April 15, so mark your calendars! For more information, contact the American Birding Association headquarters at (800) 850-2473 or (719) 578-9703, get in touch with Bill Stewart, or look for contest details on the ABA website.


Rare Bird Alert: February 16, 2018

Continuing ABA rarities are once again headlined by the Mistle Thrush in New Brunswick, where the homeowners hosting the bird have been diligently recording its presence every day since its first arrival. In Texas, continuing Blue Bunting (4), Golden-crowned Warbler (4), and Tamaulipas Crow (4) provide an intriguing trio for would be listers. Both Streak-backed [read more…]

ICYMI: Location, location, location… what’s in a name?

The ABA Blog has been in existence for almost 7 years, and there’s a lot of good content back in the archives that deserves an audience now that it might not have received way back when. So, semi-regularly we will bring some of that stuff back. Here’s one by Jeff Bouton on a common name [read more…]

Blog Birding #353

News about Hawaiian birds always seems to be good news mixed with bad. Mark Devokaitis at All About Birds shares the latest on Iiwi and Alala.

The Iiwi is under siege on several fronts. Avian malaria, transmitted by mosquitoes, is killing the birds outright. Warmer temperatures have allowed mosquitoes to move to higher elevations on [read more…]

#ABArare – Black-tailed Gull – California

On February 11, 2018, Lucas Brug found and photographed an adult Black-tailed Gull (ABA Code 4) at Crescent City in Del Norte County, California.

Crescent City is in far northern California. The closest major city is Portland, Oregon, about 330 miles to the north. San Francisco is 350 miles to the south. The bird [read more…]

Rare Bird Alert: February 9, 2018

The most surprising thing about the second month of this year is the fact that so many of the best birds of the end of 2017 are still around, and now with spring not too far away and the return of some of our early migrants to the southern part of the ABA Area only [read more…]

American Birding Podcast: More than Birds with Jody Allair & Frank Izaguirre

One of the major birding trends of the 21st Century has been a move away from a sole interest in birds. This is facilitated by an ever increasing library of field guides to various taxa, smartphone apps that make it easier than ever to identify and catalog the things we see, and a general [read more…]

Birding Photo Quiz: February 2018

Okay, folks, here’s the first installment of Birding Photo Quizzes for 2018. Before we get underway, we’ll remind you that, as always, the definitive answer and analysis appear in Birding magazine, published by the American Birding Association (ABA). In order to receive Birding and the many other benefits of ABA membership, please join the ABA [read more…]

Ted Floyd’s Let’s Go Birding Available for FREE

Hello blog readers!

The American Birding Association, which sponsors this blog among many other free resources, would like to share a wonderful, free e-book with you.

It’s called Let’s Go Birding! and it’s written by Birding magazine editor, Ted Floyd and beautifully illustrated with bird photography by Bill Schmoker.

You already know how birds can [read more…]

American Birding Podcast
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.
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