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The ABA Blog’s Most Popular Posts of 2017

Before we rush headlong into 2018 I want to make a small acknowledgement of the year that was, one that saw a lot of changes at the ABA, from the official inclusion of Hawaii to the official announcement of new big year records to a heckuva lot of rare birds. Thanks to readers, commenters, guest authors, and everyone whom makes this website hum. We couldn’t do it without any of you.

The following are the 10 most popular posts published on this blog, determined by raw traffic, for the year 2017. 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 – Swallow-tailed Gull – Washington – Nate Swick

Rare birds always drive a lot of attention our way, and there were few more spectacular than the ABA’s 3rd Swallow-tailed Gull that showed up in Seattle, Washington, this past fall. Unlike the ABA’s 2 previous records, this bird stuck around for many days, even if it wasn’t always the easiest bird to find.

9) 2017 AOS Classification proposals, Part 2 – Nate Swick

If there’s one thing that is certain to get birders’ hearts racing, it’s the potential for new birds via splits or birds taken away via the lump. As such, our annual run-down of the American Ornithological Society’s proposals always get a lot of eyes. This second batch, however, was the lightest of the three, likely because it did not contain the exciting proposals the others did.

The 2nd batch did include the resurrection of the confusing family Icteriidae, containing the Yellow-breasted Chat. (Photo: Doug Hitchcock/Macaulay Library S8995042)

8) New and Noteworthy: Swarovski’s BTX Provides an Eye-opening Scope Experience – Jeffrey Gordon

Early in 2017, ABA President Jeff Gordon was part of a contingent of bird industry folks who headed over to Austria to have a look at an innovative new piece of equipment from Swarovski. The new BTX scope module marked an interesting direction from the optics heavy-weight, and Jeff shared his review on the blog.

7) 2017 AOS Classification Committee Proposals, Part 1 – Nate Swick

The first set of proposals from the AOS Classification Committee contained a handful of expected split proposals including the long-anticipated and not-realized split of Yellow-rumped Warbler and Willet. In this batch, though, we were first introduced to the Cassia Crossbill, the Idaho endemic newly elevated to full species status last year.

Chandler S. Robbins (1918–2017) was one of the leading ornithologists of the 20th and early 21st centuries.

6) Chandler Seymour Robbins: 1918-2017 – Ted Floyd

2017 saw the passing of a legend in the birding and ornithology communities. Chandler S. Robbins was known to many of us as the primary author of the ground-breaking “Golden Guide”, but there was very little of birding culture that he didn’t touch in some way. He left an enormous legacy but, as Ted Floyd wrote, what stood out the most was his extraordinary kindness.

5) #MySantaAna: What Birders Can Do Right Now – Ellen Paul

The proposed border wall across the levee at Santa Ana NWR in south Texas mobilized a great many birders and refuge advocates to take action. As of yet, nothing more than preliminary surveying has taken place, but the threat is still real. Take this as another opportunity to remind your Representatives and Senators that birds and birders matter to the economic welfare of the Rio Grande Valley, and these problems require solutions that don’t destroy one of the jewels of the National Wildlife Refuge system.

4) 2017 AOS Classification Committee Proposals, Part 3 – Nate Swick

What was it about the 3rd installment of the AOS Committee proposals that got more attention than the others? Was it the proposed split of Brown Creeper and Nashville Warbler? Or was it the sordid tale of the proposed lump of Iceland and Thayer’s Gull? Good-bye Thayer’s Gull, we barely knew ye.

3) 2016 ABA Big Year Results – Nate Swick

2016 was a very big year for four birders, all of whom passed the previous record set by Neil Hayward in 2013. It came down to the wire between John Wiegel and Olaf Danielson with Weigel just surpassing Danielson at the end of the year.

The 2016 Big Year birders, whose fame extended even into 2017.

2) #ABArare – Black-backed Oriole – Pennsylvania – Nate Swick

One of the most unlikely occurrances of 2017 had to be the discovery of a Black-backed Oriole, a mostly sedentary Mexican endemic, at a feeder in eastern Pennsylvania. The bird became quite a celebrity, and was visited by hundreds, if not thousands, of birders during the weeks it visited the feeder. What becomes of the record now is an open question, with Pennsylvania’s bird records committee deliberating on it, but regardless of whether it is accepted or not it was still a pretty wild ride.

1) 2017 AOS Supplement is Out! – Michael Retter

For the second year in a row, the most popular post of the year at The ABA Blog is Michael Retter’s comprehensive account of the American Ornithological Society’s classification supplement, and it should come as no surprise with the attention given to the posts simply covering the proposals. This year was a big one, with the anticipated splits to Yellow-rumped Warbler and Willet not materializing and the Thayer’s Gull being subsumed into Iceland Gull. It’s hard to say whether 2018 will see the same sort of high-profile votes, but we’re looking forward to it all the same.

Thanks, everyone, for a great 2017. 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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