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Introducing the 2019 ABA Bird of the Year

It’s that time again, to launch a year honoring a special bird!

It feels a bit obvious, doesn’t it? That the ABA, celebrating our 50th year in 2019, would choose our long-standing logo bird, the Red-billed Tropicbird, Phaethon aethereus, to be the Bird of the Year in 2019. And it is, of course, but it’s more than that.

We’ll be looking back over the past 50 half century quite a bit in the upcoming 12 months, and the tropicbird is an important part of our organizational history. On the surface, it’s admittedly a little strange that a birding organization based primarily in the English-speaking parts of North America would choose a bird like a tropicbird for its logo. It is a species that is undeniably tropical and unapologetically exotic. More than a species that is familiar, it is a species that is sought after. It’s a bird that a birder typically doesn’t come across well into their birding career. But it’s a bird that has also come to mean different things over the nearly 50 years that it has represented the American Birding Association, a change that has more or less mirrored the way the organization itself has changed.

We’d also like to thank our 2019 Bird of the Year artist, Megan Massa, for this beautiful piece of art that will grace the cover of the February 2019 issue of Birding magazine.

Get more information on this bird at our Bird of the Year page, and look for an interview with Megan Massa on the next episode of the American Birding Podcast and in the February issue of Birding.

Welcome Red-billed Tropicbird!

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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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