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The ABA Blog’s Top 10 Posts of 2015

It’s the time of year for year-end lists, or maybe I’m a a couple weeks late. In any case, I want to publicly thank all of those tho contributed to the blog this year, from regular contributors to guest writers to those who work behind the scenes keeping the whole thing functioning.

The following are the 10 most popular posts published on this blog, determined by traffic, for the year 2015. This may or may not inspire readers to head back into the archives for some of our more fascinating contributions, but more likely will provide a peek into what drove the online bird conversation this past year.


10) #ABArare – Common Scoter – California – by Nate Swick

At the beginning of last year, the most exciting vagrant in the ABA Area had to be the Common Scoter that turned up in northern California. The timing couldn’t have been better, as Common and Black Scoter had just been officially split by the AOU the year before. This one is likely to make the list of best rarities of last year.

Photo by Bill Bouton, used with permission

Photo by Bill Bouton, used with permission

9) Your Turn: Does a Girl Go in the Woods – by Michael Retter

Last year’s Birder’s Guide to Gear was particularly memorable for an essay by Sharon Stiteler that covered the crude but crucial topic of women peeing in the field. The discussion that followed was eye-opening and the lack of similar resources available made that post one of the top of the year.

8) Photo Quiz: December 2015 Birdingby Ted Floyd

The ABA’s Photo Quiz’s usually offer well-known birds obstructed or at weird angles. What can we say? It’s a winning formula. But the Photo Quiz in the most recent issue of Birding magazine was diabolical in that it consisted of a tack sharp photo of a common North American bird in the hand. It was, to put it mildly, nearly impossible. Want to take your own crack at it? Check out the post.

7) The Ultimate Big Year – by Noah Strycker

Sure, we’ve all heard about the result of Noah Strycker’s amazing 2015, but we were there when it started. Looking back on this, the first post of last year, seems fascinating now. Noah wanted to see 5,000 species in the year. How quaint!

6) The Top 10 Best ABA Area Vagrants of 2014 – by George Armistead and Nate Swick

It’s one of our favorite posts of the year to put together, a completely subjective compendium of the most interesting vagrants of the past year. And one year hence, I can say that the real best vagrant of the year didn’t even make the Top 10. It was the Wood Thrush on St. Paul, Alaska, because how the heck did that get there. Anyway, look back on that post and start to think about the one for 2015, which should be coming soon.

Nazca Booby, a great bird, but not an unexpected one. Photo by Tim Hammond, used with permission

Nazca Booby, a great bird, but not an unexpected one. Photo by Tim Hammond, used with permission

5) 2015 ABA Bird of the Year – by Nate Swick

2015 was the year of the Green Heron, a singularly popular pick and a nod to the masses who have called out for it since we started doing this Bird of the Year thing (seriously, no other bird has had such a fan club). Our launch for last year was also notable for the artist, Rafael Galvez, who created two videos, one in English and one in Spanish, specifically for the occasion.

4) Get Your Limited Edition 2015 Bird of the Year T-Shirts Now – by Nate Swick

And along with the Bird of the Year, came the limited edition shirts from PRBY apparel. They sold exceptionally well this past year, so look for a Chestnut-collared Longspur version later this year.

3) 2015 AOU Supplement is Out – by Michael Retter

We are listers, of course, so the AOU supplement means something in terms of potential new species to various lists by virtue of splits (or, god forbid, lumps). But the AOU supplement is fascinating for other reasons beyond the person. It’s a living document of our current understanding of bird taxonomy, which these days is changing with dizzying regularity. Yes, even though not every bird makes it to our list, we still care about what the science says, because it makes the bird world more interesting.

2) What Birders Should KNow ABout the Migratory Bird Treaty Act Threat – by Nate Swick

This past summer the venerable MBTA was under the greatest threat it has faced in it’s decades of existence. A rider attached to an appropriations bill stuck in Congress threatened to remove the enforcement mechanism of the law, leaving it a shell of itself. The bill eventually failed, and the MBTA is safe for now. But birders should stay vigilant for shenanigans like this in the future.

1) Birding is Hard – by Greg Neise

The most experienced birders know how hard it is. They know the ways a bird can fool them and that sometimes there’s nothing you can do but throw up your hands and let it go. But that’s also what makes birding exciting, the never-ending quest for the new that’s always right in front of you. Greg Neise lays it all out in what was our most popular post of last year.


Thanks again to everyone who contributed, everyone who commented, and everyone who continues to read this blog and support the ABA.

Happy New Year!

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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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Recent Comments

  • Steve Hampton, in #ABArare - River Warbler - Alaska... { Photo by Clarence Irrigoo! Great guy that makes birding on Gambell possible. }
  • Nate, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { That's fair about the weather timing. I recall the observers saying something about Hurricane Nate being involved, but how much is not clear. As to... }
  • Gary Bloomfield, in Birding with a Tricorder... { Great essay, Ted! Feel sorry for the guy in the photo who's wearing a red shirt, though. }
  • Steve Shultz, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { I believe the NC swift was seen on Saturday, October 7 (unless the date indicated by the observer on the photo was incorrect). Nate did... }
  • Rick Wright, in #ABArare - Yellow-breasted Bunting - Newfoundland & Labrador... { What a great bird! Sadly topical: }
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