Nikon Monarch 7

aba events

The Way We Were–And Still Are?

14-3-03-01 [Harriet Davidson]ABA member Harriet Davidson (right) is the very essence of the modern birder: She’s an unrepentant lister, an S&D (“status and distribution”) junkie, and a widely published author (including new-media offerings like DVDs about penguins). Okay, she’s the essence of a particularly ambitious and energetic sort of modern birder.

There’s more. Davidson was the only woman on the first exploratory team at Attu. Which, if you know anything about Attu, means she’s been around for a while. A very long while. Harriet Davidson is 95 years young.

Davidson’s commentary, “On Rereading Jean Piatt’s Adventures in Birding,” appearing on pp. 16-20 of the May/June Birding, is a bewitching and effective blend of reminiscence and modern-day musing. At one level, I read the commentary as a straightforward retelling of the way things used to be. At another level, I can’t help but feel a trans-epochal link with the great birders who were active well before my birth. Channeling the mid-20th century birding great Jean Piatt, Davidson affirms a great capital-B “Brotherhood” of birders. In this view, we’re all birding brothers and sisters, as different as we might otherwise be.

What about you? If you’re an ABA member and have read Davidson’s commentary, what do you think? How do her reflections comport with your own? Are you struck by all the ways birding has changed in the past several decades? Or are you more impressed by the timelessness and universality of Jean Piatt and Harriet Davidson’s “Brotherhood”?

Facebooktwitter
The following two tabs change content below.
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)

American Birding Podcast
Birders know well that the healthiest, most dynamic choruses contain many different voices. The birding community encompasses a wide variety of interests, talents, and convictions. All are welcome.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
Read More »

Recent Comments

Categories

Authors

Archives

ABA's FREE Birder's Guide

If you live nearby, or are travelling in the area, come visit the ABA Headquarters in Delaware City.

Beginning this spring we will be having bird walks, heron watches and evening cruises, right from our front porch! Click here to view the full calender, and register for events >>

via email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Open Mic: Young Birder Camp at Hog Island: Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens September 11, 2017 3:07
    At the mic: Dessi Sieburth, an avid birder, photographer, and conservationist, is a 10th grader at Saint Francis High School in La Canada, California. He is a member of the Pasadena Audubon Young Birder’s Club and Western Field Ornithologists. Dessi enjoys birding in his home county of Los Angeles. Last summer, Dessi attended Camp Colorado, […]
  • Introducing the Whimbrel Birders Club! September 7, 2017 2:33
    Whimbrel Birders Club was established at the first annual Illinois Young Birders Symposium in August 2016. We are a birding club truly meant for everyone, no matter your age, disability, or ethnicity. […]
  • Open Mice: Kestrels–An Iowa Legacy May 16, 2017 6:29
    A few years ago, a short drive down my gravel road would yield at least one, if not two, American Kestrels perched on a power line or hovering mid-air above the grassy ditch. Today, I have begun to count myself lucky to drive past a mere one kestrel per week rather than the daily sightings. […]

Follow ABA on Twitter