It wasn’t planned to be this way, but the October Winging It definitely has a theme: young birders. As a former young birder myself, this is a topic close to my heart. Without the support (both emotional and financial) of my family and other birders, I’d not be where I am today. Scholarships from organizations like my local Audubon Society the ABA allowed me to attend youth camps and build a strong foundation for a career in the birding industry. Along the way, I met a lot of other birders my age, like Ben Winger, who wrote this issue’s lead article. Ben (second from right) took the academic path and, along with two other ABA young birder alumni, ended up discovering what is to many of us the holy grail: a species new to science. Another of this issue’s authors, Aaron Gyllenhaal, is still a high school student and only just starting to pore over the map of life to choose a route for himself. Long-time ABA member Jeri McMahon of Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, understood that young birders need a little boost, and we’re honored to have been asked to start a Youth Birders’ Fund in her name.
But there’s much more in this issue than just young birders. Rick Wright attempts to get our ducks in a row by telling us “Why Alternate Plumage Isn’t Always Pretty” in “Fowl Language”. Tom Taylor tells us how supporting Birders’ Exchange is good for both local guides and foreign visitors. Paul Hess talks hybrid gulls and Bicknell’s Thushes in “News and Notes”. In Amy Davis’s “Sightings” the highlight is probably the push of “Barolo Shearwaters” from earlier in the fall. And as a departure from our usual book reviews, Julie Zickefoose takes the mic this time to tell us about Feathers.
If you’ve already signed up for access to the ABA’s Members Only area, accessing the full-color October Winging It is as easy as clicking here. If you’re not already signed up, just go to https://www2.aba.org/ and click on the “New User Registration” link. Fill out the form, and once we confirm your membership is active (please allow 1–2 working days), you will have access to all of the “Members Only” online material. If you have difficulty, you can always call our office at (800) 850-2473 or (719) 578-9703. Someone (likely Liz, Nancy, or LeAnn) will be happy to help you.