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SNEAK PEEK! Birder’s Guide to Listing & Taxonomy, 2016


The 2016 issue of Birder’s Guide to Listing & Taxonomy is at the printers. American Birding Association members should find Jen Brumfield‘s lovely cover illustration in their mailboxes over the next couple weeks. But you don’t have to wait until then to see what’s inside. You can see the entirety of this issue of Birder’s Guide right now. Simply click here. (Birder’s Guide is just one of the free resources that the ABA provides to the birding public.)

Listing and taxonomy may not immediately seem related, but dive a bit deeper, and it soon becomes apparent. Of course, ABA Area listers depend on the American Ornithologists’ Union to maintain its checklist because they use its taxonomy as the scorecard for their listing endeavors. Alan Knue explains what evidence is weighed by the committee when deciding to make changes to the checklist, and he lists some possible future splits and lumps. Our annual “Check-list Redux” explains in simple terms all that’s changed on the AOU Check-list this year.


You can use this information to update your list totals in ABA’s Listing Central. Greg Neise tells us what’s new there in the “Listing Central Update”, and last year’s top totals are found in the “Listing Snapshot”. Other listing articles in this issue include details on an impressive Big Day effort in Texas, a new world-record Big Day in Ecuador, and a strategy for seeing all of the world’s bird families with the least amount of travel.

Whether your passion is attending bird walks in a local park, competing in Big Days, or keeping up-to-date on the latest details on storm-petrel identification, I hope you will find something of interest in this issue. Please take a moment to let us know what you did and didn’t like, and what was missing. Or even better–sit down and write something for us. We look forward to hearing from you!


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 e-magazine. (See image below.)


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Michael Retter
Michael L. P. Retter is the editor of the ABA's newest magazine, Birder's Guide. He also wears his ABA cap while working as a Technical Reviewer for Birding magazine. When not at home, Michael is often leading tours in Middle America (Mexico through Panama). He currently lives with his fiancé, Matt, in Fort Worth, Texas. In his fleeting free time there, he pursues interests in horticulture (especially orchids), music, cooking, and numismatics. Michael also runs GBNA, the continent's informal club and email list for LGBT birders.
  • Noah Arthur

    Very interesting! I love looking at lists of potential future splits and lumps… One correction to the list of potential splits and lumps in this article: The common names mentioned in the list for the western subspecies of Nashville Warbler (Oreothlypis ruficapilla ridgwayi) are Ridgway’s Warbler and Cabanis’s Warbler. The standard common name that I’ve heard used for this subspecies is Calaveras Warbler, and from a quick Google search, it looks like Cabanis’s Warbler is actually a subspecies of Golden-crowned Warbler…

    • AJ Knue

      Good catch. As I have a reading and writing disability I rely rather heavily on technology including word prediction. I have a dictionary of world bird names and I’m guessing Cabanis’s looked correct to me at the time and despite having it read outloud to me many times, it sounded close enough I missed that it was the wrong word. It should have been Calaveras.

      • Noah Arthur

        Sorry to nitpick about this warbler name… (Although I guess we’d all probably nitpick when it comes to the name of our favorite warbler! 🙂 It’s interesting how many impending splits there are compared with impending lumps; at this point it seems like we’re going to keep adding more and more and more species… I wonder if this is going to be a permanent trend or just a temporary “splitting spree”…

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