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SNEAK PEEK! Birder’s Guide to Gear

So that you can get your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping on, we’ve made the 2013 issue of Birder’s Guide to Gear available online today, in its entirety!

2013 Birder's Guide to GearInside, you’ll find tips and suggestions from experts on some wonderful holiday gift ideas for the birder in your life. From roof-prism binoculars and SLR cameras to woolen mittens and waterproof sketchbooks, the choices can be daunting. Our authors have distilled the available information (and disinformation) into an easy-to-read, no-nonsense set of suggestions and advice.

Some people are real “gear-heads”, and love checking out the newest products, comparing them to what’s already out there, and making their own decisions about what to buy. But if you’re like me, you just don’t have the time, the ability, or–bluntly–the interest in devoting hours upon hours to decide which is the best Product X to achieve Goal Y. I just want someone I trust to to tell me which model is best.

But often, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. In those cases, it pays to have at least a basic understanding of the products you’re considering. That’s where Ben Lizdas’s “Binocular 101” comes in. This primer on how binoculars work, and how they differ from one another, is essential reading for all birders.

Whether they’re built into your phone, separate and in your coat pocket, or slung over your shoulder, cameras have undergone a revolution in the last decade. The quality of image has increased exponentially, and the cost has decreased, even if not as quickly. Consequently, more and more birders are carrying–or considering carrying–a camera into the field. But what kind is right for you? In “Birding Photography” Derek Lovitch groups the thousands of models into just a few, easy-to-understand categories, outlining the pros and cons of each. Sherrie Duris and Sharon Stiteler then go into more detail about two of those categories in their articles.

But there’s more to birding than just the high-tech. Bird artist Sophie Webb explains the virtues of carrying a simple notebook into the field, and how to best utilize that tool. And Duluth resident Erik Bruhnke offers his (well-tested!) suggestions for how to keep warm during winter birding.

As always, we at the ABA love to hear from folks who want to offer their own advice to fellow members, so please don’t hesitate to contact me with ideas for your own future articles. Was this issue useful to you? If not, please let us know what you thought was missing, so we can try to offer it in future issues. Good birding!

P.S.–You can easily download the entire issue, or just certain pages, allowing you to read Birder’s Guide on your Nook, Kindle, or other tablet, when offline. Or your laptop, if you’re old-fashioned. Just click on the fourth button from the right in the toolbar above the eMagazine. (See image at right.)

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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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