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American Birding Podcast: How Photography has Changed Birding

There is arguably no technological shift that has changed birding more in the last decade or so than the proliferation of cameras. Taking photos and sharing photos has become synonymous with birding for many and it’s hard to remember time now when that wasn’t the case. In this episode, I talk broadly about photography in the birding world with a couple American Birding Podcast regulars, webmaster Greg Neise and Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd. We discuss records committees, social media, and whether this change is good for birding on the whole.

Also, birds and bird conservationists in the Caribbean are hurting following the passage of two major hurricanes. Our friends at Wildside Nature Tours give you an opportunity to help.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

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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

Latest posts by Nate Swick (see all)

  • Ted Floyd

    I absolutely love the last 30 seconds. 😉

    (And the first 30+ minutes ain’t bad.)

  • Wim van Dam

    I like listening to these podcasts in my car, but I would enjoy them even more if the loudness was more level. Often Nate is too dynamic as his voice goes from quiet to loud to quiet again in one sentence. During the intro texts things are fine, but when he gets excited (i.e. during the rare bird reports) it becomes quite straining follow what he is saying. Maybe that there is a technological solution for this, or maybe Nate should take a Xanax before recording. As expected Ted was much louder than Greg; I don’t know if there is a solution for that.

    • Ted Floyd

      “As expected Ted was much louder than Greg; I don’t know if there is a solution for that.”

      It’s just one of those things–like the sun rising in the east, or seven preceding eight, or silent empids.

  • Jorge Garcia

    I see the point about not relying entirely on field marks anymore and how that art has been replaced somewhat by photography. On the other hand, I feel that photography has helped me greatly in becoming a better birder. I started birding this February and before I go out birding to a particular place, I sometimes look up the species I might see and look at pictures of them online so I know more or less what to look for. I see both pros and cons of photography. Great episode!

  • Bob Keener

    Love the blog! Thanks Nate, Ted, Gregg, for the discussion and the rare bird notes. The consensus that whether ID in the field or by photo, both lend to more time in the learning mode!

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.
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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: }
  • Older »




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