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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, and the author of The ABA Field Guide to Birds of Illinois. When not at home gardening, Michael is often leading tours for BRANT Nature Tours in Middle America (Mexico through Panama). He currently lives with his husband, Matt, in Fort Worth, Texas. Michael also runs QBNA, the continent's informal club for LGBTQ+ birders. A former chair of the Indiana records committee, he is an eBird reviewer for Mexico, Illinois, and Indiana.
Michael Retter

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