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The Birding Agenda

I’m asked from time to time if Birding magazine has an “agenda.” And it’s something I personally think about all the time.

I can think of several themes for the magazine: bird identification; bird biology and bird conservation; new resources for birders and new ways of engaging bird study; and the timeless sense of wonder we all bring to the enjoyment of birding.

But where do those things all come from? Well, they come from, they are intended to give voice to, and I hope they advance what we at Birding magazine consider to be the singular, overarching, defining agenda for Birding magazine: the real, live, actual human beings who are the American birding community.

Hence, the content in the current issue of Birding.

BrumfieldIn some instances, The Birding Agenda is blatant. Case in point: “Milestones.” I confess, I was a bit wary when this column migrated last year from Winging It to Birding. What can I say?–My misgivings were misplaced. In its new home at Birding, the column is flourishing as never before. See for yourself, and if you’re an ABA member, please consider contributing a milestone of your own.

In other instances, the agenda is only thinly veiled. For example: ABA President Jeffrey A. Gordon’s gentle but persuasive exhortation that we birders get on board with the association’s newly established partnership with “The Duck Stamp” (officially, the “Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp”). Sure, this initiative is about bird conservation, and that’s a good thing, a very good thing. But it’s also all about birders–about who we are, how we view ourselves, and what we’re really all about.

The Birding Agenda is pervasive on the pages of Birding magazine. It’s blatant in places, a bit more subtle elsewhere. But it’s unmistakably there, from cover to cover. Speaking of the cover: Jen Brumfield’s cover art for this issue. Brumfield’s cover is wonderfully exemplary of the whole tradition of American nature study, with the object of our devotion–an exquisite Lesser Sand-Plover–front and center, yet everywhere imbued with and immersed in human sensing and sensibility.


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Ted Floyd

Ted Floyd

Editor, Birding magazine at American Birding Association
Ted Floyd is the longtime Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives with the ABA. Ted has written 200+ magazine articles and 5 books, including How to Know the Birds (National Geographic, 2019). He is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and has served on several nonprofit boards. Join Ted at The ABA Blog for his semimonthly spot, “How to Know the Birds,” celebrating common birds and the uncommonly interesting things they do.
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