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More “Sightings” Than Ever Before

Exactly nine years ago, I was in Spain for a press tour. It was great to talk shop with other bird magazine editors—most of them Europeans—about our shared passion for giving voice to the birding communities in our home continents and beyond. We all had questions: Would this internet thing make a difference? Could anybody foresee a future for online magazines? What to do about our aging readerships?

“They” were especially impressed with Birding magazine’s relative gender balance. For my part, I was impressed by “their” ability to report, every single month, stop-press rarities from all over the continent. Birding World was especially notable in this regard, but they weren’t the only European magazine doing it. Could Birding ever pull off a similar feat in North America?

Amy derezNine years later, the answer is gloriously in the affirmative. Effective immediately, Birding is providing monthly summaries of North American rarities. It’s been a work in progress, and various folks have contributed to this outcome, but one person stands out for her role in this important new chapter in the 45-year history of Birding magazine: “Sightings” department editor and rare bird guru Amy Davis.

Amy’s most recent report, available online to ABA members right now, covers North American rarities reported through mid-March. That’s a lag of just one month, and we expect to shorten the lag ever further. Amy’s report covering rarities through the end of March will be available to ABA members within the week—fully a month before the print version of the May/June 2013 Birding is mailed out.

The current report is amazingly detailed. A Pink-footed Goose lingering at St. John’s was Newfoundland & Labrador’s 8th record of the species; a Harlequin Duck in Harlequin County, Tennessee, was that state’s 5th record; two Yellow-throated Warblers in Baja California Sur were 550 meters apart; and so forth. And, yes, Amy—only Amy!—has counted up every single Northern Lapwing reported this past winter in eastern North America.

Or do you just want to read about the rarest of the rare, the megas? They’re in there too: Gray Heron, Black-tailed Godwit, Nutting’s Flycatcher, Red-flanked Bluetail, Citrine Wagtail, Siberian Accentor, Eurasian Bullfinch, and many others.

A final thought. Amy Davis is “just” the compiler of “Sightings.” She’s able to glean a fair bit of content from Birding News and eBird, but the most significant contributions come from a network of local and regional experts—real human beings like you. If you’d like to contribute to “Sightings,” please contact Amy <argdavis AT> and she’ll let you know about guidelines, deadlines, and the like.

801 Gray Heron 802 Black-tailed Godwit803 Longspur804 Razorbill

Left to right: Gray Heron, Newfoundland and Labrador (photo by Jared Clarke); Black-tailed Godwit, Virginia (photo by Dick Rowe); McCown’s Longspur, Georgia (photo by Larry Gridley); Razorbill, Louisiana (photo by Dave Patton). Read about these rarities—and many, many more—in Amy Davis’s “Sightings” column, available right now to ABA members.


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Ted Floyd

Ted Floyd

Editor, Birding magazine at American Birding Association
Ted Floyd is the Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives of the ABA. He is the author of more than 100 magazine and journal articles, and has written four recent books, including an ABA title, the ABA Guide to Birds of Colorado. Floyd is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and state ornithological society meetings, and he has served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations. Mainly, he listens to birds at night.
Ted Floyd

Latest posts by Ted Floyd (see all)

  • Re: “various folks have contributed to this outcome.”

    Among them Virginia Maynard, Cindy Lippincott, Matt Pelikan, Rick Wright, Michael Retter, and Paul Lehman. And I’m sure you can chime in with others!

  • Let’s not forget #ABArare czar, John Puschock.

  • I’m not trying to be argumentative, and I haven’t read an issue of Birding in a while…but I’m curious about the gender balance comments you received…looking at the list of ABA Bloggers on the right, I see 4 women out of a list of 23 writers! Is this ratio completely unreflective of the authorship in Birding?

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