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Birder’s Guide is here!

I’m beyond excited today. Why? Because I can now invite you, as its editor, to view the electronic version of the first issue of ABA’s newest publication, Birder’s Guide!

coverbg11Our first issue, A Birder’s Guide to Travel, is full of practical, useful tips from experienced travelers on what technologies can make your trip most productive, on how and what to pack, and, most importantly, on where and when to go, and why. Making a reappearance is the ABA’s much-valued Pelagic Directory, which had been on hiatus the past two years. Alongside it, you will find tips for the first-time pelagic traveler offered by one the ABA Area’s pelagic pioneers. It’s not all serious stuff, though. We also have a lighthearted and visually stunning article on The 20 Best Birds in Asia.

In the days ahead, I will be discussing some of these articles in more detail here at the ABA Blog, and hope you’ll join the discussion in the comments. I also invite you to check out the Birder’s Guide website from time-to-time. We’ll be updating it with web-only content as the months go by.

ABA members will receive two more issues of Birder’s Guide later this year: A Birder’s Guide to Listing and Taxonomy and A Birder’s Guide to Gear. We’re thrilled to offer the first (and all subsequent issues of) Birder’s Guide as a downloadable e-magazine, available here.

Just to be clear, here’s what Birder’s Guide isn’t: a retooled Winging It. The ABA’s black-and-white newsletter had a good run, but times have changed, and we’re striving to keep up. There are now better and more efficient ways (such as email, blog posts, and facebook) for the Association to communicate quickly with its membership than by a bimonthly 16-page black-and-white newsletter which takes well over a month to produce. That’s so…1989.

Is there something you grew to love and look forward to in each issue of Winging It? As its former editor, I hope so, but don’t worry! The online editions of Winging It will remain available to you on the ABA website. And we are continuing to generate new content; it will just be found in different locations within the ABA’s expanding media universe. “Milestones” and Paul Hess’s “News and Notes”? Look for them in Birding. Eric Salzman’s “Books for Birders”? Our burgeoning selection of book reviews, now shepherded by Rick Wright, now appears at The ABA Blog. Amy Davis’s “Sightings” is still being produced monthly, but exclusively for Birding. Classified ads are now at the ABA’s online Birder’s Marketplace.”Geared for Birding”? Expert contributor Bill Schmoker’s content will appear in Birding, some on The ABA Blog, and some in Birder’s Guide.

So here’s the upshot. Instead of 96 pages of black-and-white content appearing in your mailbox each year (Winging It), you’ll now receive about 192 pages of a full-color, glossy magazine (Birder’s Guide)—on top of the 6 issues of Birding you already get! And that doesn’t include the expanded online content we have up our sleeves.

Do you have any general comments, criticism, or praise to offer? Please share your thoughts by commenting here on the ABA Blog or by contacting me directly. What do you like? What do you want to see more of? Less of? None of? Or best of all, what would you like to write about? We want to hear from you!

We at the ABA are excited to be able to offer you more and higher-quality content going forward. We’re not downsizing; we’re upsizing. And we hope you like the change!

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Michael Retter
Michael L. P. Retter is the editor of the ABA's newest magazine, Birder's Guide. He also wears his ABA cap while working as a Technical Reviewer for Birding magazine. When not at home, Michael is often leading tours in Middle America (Mexico through Panama). He currently lives with his fiancé, Matt, in Fort Worth, Texas. In his fleeting free time there, he pursues interests in horticulture (especially orchids), music, cooking, and numismatics. Michael also runs GBNA, the continent's informal club and email list for LGBT birders.
  • G Tans

    What an eye-catching publication. Very nice. I did have problems trying to print, though. I tried to select 4 consecutive pages to print, but despite numerous attempts, the print dialog never gave me more than 2. Usually it was one page, but one time it offered 2 of my pages and another time 0 pages. So I abandoned the print idea and instead downloaded the desired pages as a pdf file. That worked flawlessly. The pictures in the pdf file are so bright I ought to turn down my screen brightness! Beautiful.

    • Guest

      Thanks for the feedback, G. Perhaps we should recommend that folks download the PDF and print from that.

  • Amar Ayyash

    The first issue looks great, Michael. Bravo and congrats! I’m looking forward to future issues. Thanks.

  • Frank Murphy

    Awesome !!! What a great publication. I just returned from a great trip to Colombia and was delighted to see a front cover story about birding there. Birding there was awesome and safe and the people are very friendly and very pro-American. I never saw a hint of any trouble anywhere. We went with an outstanding local guide, Pablo Florez of Multicolour Birding, and he treated us real well and found us a lot of the endemics and other unusual species, well over 400 species in two weeks, and about 650 species for those who spent three weeks. Costs were as low as you could find anywhere.

    Anyhow, Congratulations on a great publication and I look forward to seeing more.

    Thank you,


  • Bill Pranty

    Typo alert: on Page 2, the blue box, the President is listed as Jeffrey A. “Gordona”

  • Will Burt

    I loved it! Thank you!
    And the Louisiana article reminded me of the some-time-ago discussion about how they still shoot rare birds in Louisiana before birders have a chance to see them. Is there going to be some discussion of that? Until then, I don’t go to Louisiana.

    • Michael Retter

      Hi, Will.

      Thanks for the complement!

      There was a ton of discussion on that topic four years ago when the taking of the US’s first Crowned Slaty-Flycatcher made it a current event. Much happened on the ABA facebook group, and much more on other blogs, like this one: As for choosing not to bird in a state because there happens to be a university (which was not employing the collectors in that instance) based in it that collects birds? That seems rather silly to me. You travel there isn’t going to affect their actions one way or the other.

      • Will Burt

        I recall more recent discussion maybe last spring – not sure. Jeff Gordon was in on it. Anyway, yes, probably silly. But only have so many birding travel $$, so I see no reason to make it MY priority.

  • marshrail

    I can’t find how to download it. I’m using a Mac. Magazine shows up as html or as embedded in flash. Can’t find where to download as a PDF. Help! Thanks.

    • Nate Swick

      Hi Marshrail,

      When you get to the magazine, look at the toolbar at the top of the screen. There should be a small icon with a clover looping design and a small PDF in the corner.

      Click on that and you should have the option to download.

      Hope that helps!

      • marshrail

        Thanks. That did work.

  • Duncan Himes

    Get many ideas of where to travel from articles such as in first issue of Birders Guide on Louisiana and Columbia. Thanks. would like to see bird finding articles on best places to find recent split of sage sparrow. Where to find North Americas hardest birds like Black Rail and Bicknells Thrush, etc. I first learned of Tandayapa in Ecuador from article in Winging It and spent two weeks there total. Others experience so useful, the more ideas the better. Think Birders Guide excellent idea. Blessings, duncan himes

    • Michael Retter

      Thanks, Duncan. Funny that you want to know where to find Sagebrush and Bell’s Sparrows. A little bird tell me there will be an article on that in the next issue of Birder’s Guide.

  • Marian

    I read it cover to cover and then sent the South Africa article to my son’s in-laws as they are now on their way to South Africa. Even though they are not birders, there was a lot of wonderful information in that article. I also liked the 20 Best Birds in Ecuador, though all the articles were good.

  • William Fiero

    I’m as fascinated with taxonomy as I am in bird ID, so I welcome the issue devoted to the subject. I keep track of the ABA/AOU system as well as the IOC world checklist, and try to keep up with the changes of each (and the seeming differences of opinion between the two). Thanks for a well written series of articles discussing different aspects of the science of classification.

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