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    ABA's 2014 Bird of the Year Revealed!

    Jay Lehman, left, and Neil Hayward, right, opening the envelope that reveals the ABA's 2014 Bird of the Year

    Jay Lehman, left, and Neil Hayward, right, opening the envelope that reveals the ABA’s 2014 Bird of the Year

    Over the weekend of January 5 and 6th, I was in eastern Massachusetts, ringing out the old and in the new. Liz and I got to bird with Dorian Anderson, who had just commenced “Biking for Birds,” his 2014 ABA Big Year by bike. He is off to a sensational start! Expect to be seeing and hearing more here about Dorian’s amazing efforts very soon. We also attended a surprise party for Neil Hayward, whose Accidental Big Year has likely established a new all-time record for the ABA Area, pending decisions on 3 potential ABA first records. Jay Lehman of Ohio, who attended the party at Neil’s, also had a tremendously successful ABA Big Year, too, smashing the 700 mark by a wide margin.

    I sat down with Neil and Jay in Neil’s kitchen for a wide-ranging discussion about Big Years, birding in general, comparing lists, conservation, and popularizing birding, among other topics. I’ll be sharing excerpts from that interview in the coming weeks. I can tell you that the conversation was interesting, fun, and thought-provoking.

    Today, I’ll give you just a snippet, wherein we gave Jay and Neil the honor of announcing the ABA’s Bird of the Year for 2014. Have a look!

    So there you have it! The brand new ABA Bird of the Year! Whatever kind of birding you’re planning in 2014, we hope you’ll display your ABA BoY stickers proudly and prominently. Good birding, everyone!

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    Jeff Gordon

    Jeff Gordon

    Jeff Gordon is the president of the American Birding Association. There's very little about birds, birding, and birders that he doesn't find fascinating, though he's especially interested in birding culture and the many ways we all communicate our passion for birds, including this Blog.
    • Joshua Stevenson

      Hahaha. Good one

    • Rick Wright

      Great choice. A lot to say about that little bird!

    • http://nemesisbird.com/ Drew Weber

      Well played!

    • Jeff Bouton

      too funny! :)

    • David La Puma

      awesome

    • Carl Bendorf

      Neil looked a little rufous-faced at the end! Very funny.

    • Bill

      I’d love to see a comparison of birds these two guys saw. Neil indicated on his blog that he saw all of the “probable” birds (code 1 and 2), whereas Jay was scrambling to add a number of these birds to his list in December. Did Jay actually do better than Neil on the code 3-5 birds and miss a number of the code 1-2 birds? Just curious.

    • Terry Byrne

      ah, you had me going there a sec! (truly, it was Neil’s 449th bird, seen in Texas on April 13 — around the time he decided to turn his bird-fruitful year into a Big Year, I’m guessing). Curious, tho — how do you choose the Bird of the Year?

      • Ted Floyd

        Thanks for asking that question, Terry. The short answer to your question is: (1) geography, (2) cool biology, and (3) outrageous beauty, not necessarily in that order. Three short answers, I guess. Those answers–and a lot more about the Bird of the Year–will be fleshed out in the January/February 2013 issue of Birding.

        • Ted Floyd

          Make that the January/February *2014* issue of Birding.

          Never one not to exploit a gaffe, I’ll take this opportunity to note one of the coolest recent results about avian “deep” taxonomy. I’m not up on all the details, but the genetic evidence seems to show a remarkably close relationship between the nightjars (cf. my gaffe; the Common Nighthawk was the 2013 ABA Bird of the Year, unveiled in the Jan./Feb. 2013 Birding) and hummingbirds. Hummingbirds might be specialized nightjars! Who’da thunk?

          • Ted Floyd

            Here’s the “cladogram” (an evolutionary family tree) showing the hummingbird/nightjar connection. Paul Hess has a nice summary of this work in the January 2009 Birding, available online:

            http://www.aba.org/birding/v41n1p26.pdf

            • Mary

              Whoa! That’s amazing!
              I think it’s a great bird, because of it’s expanded range into new areas recently. We feel like we’re all learning together about how to prepare to take care of one of these if it shows at our feeder and decides to stay. Lot’s of creative ideas I’ve seen out there. Perhaps sometime during the year this can be covered.

            • Mary Lee

              As a matter of fact I have one visiting my feeder in Grapevine, TX, Tarrant County (Dallas/Ft. Worth area). It’s been here since Dec. 18th. A first for me.

    • Jay

      Will there be another art contest this year? What ever happened with the 2013 contest? I don’t recall seeing any winners announced. I think there will be a lot of interest in it this year!

    • Jessica Pellien

      Were these results delivered in a suitcase by PricewaterhouseCoopers?

    • kt

      Hmmm… any chance of transcripts for those of us who can’t stream video for whatever reason (bandwidth,equipment, personal situation)?

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    • Ted Floyd, in Remembering Matthiessen... { You got it! }
    • Ted Floyd, in March/April 2014 Featured Photo... { Here's more video of the Anna'x x Magnificent hybrid, with Birding magazine and the ABA in the credits (at the end, of course): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOlX2zRG73g&feature=youtu.be }
    • Frank Izaguirre, in Remembering Matthiessen... { "One imagines with a sense of foreboding this strange, solitary bird passing astern, its dark, sharp wing rising and vanishing like a fin as it... }
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