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Blog Birding #396

At 10,000 Birds, Jason Crotty shares a brief history of the ABA in a time when  birding information is more plentiful than ever.

As Claudia Wilds wrote:  “If you ask the founding fathers what the birding scene was like before ABA, they present a world heavily dependent on friends and friends of friends and marked by a lack of information available to most birders about finding birds or identifying the difficult ones.”

Thus, at that time, birding information was scarce and local, distributed, if at all, by individuals or rudimentary networks of birders.  In that world, a mimeographed newsletter was a giant leap forward.

The migratory lives of two of North America’s most familiar grassland species are explored in research summarized by Karen Borque at The Vermont Center for Ecostudies Blog. 

Data retrieved from the geolocators held many surprises. Among the most astonishing findings was that Grasshopper Sparrows do not begin fall migration in August as biologists had previously assumed; they actually stay put on the breeding grounds until October. The data also revealed that Grasshopper Sparrows make short, nearly daily migration flights, and that the North American Great Lakes region likely serves as a migratory divide between Midwest and East Coast populations. Data from Eastern Meadowlarks provided evidence of a diversity of individual movement behaviors, ranging from year-round residency in the same location to short‐ and long‐distance migration strategies.

Portland Birder Eric Carlson shares some simple tips for would-be bird photographers.

If you want to create a compelling bird photo, you have to get on the bird’s level. Exceptions exist, of course, but the majority of photos of birds high in trees or sitting down on the ground are more suited for bird identification than contests.

If you want a great bird photo, you have to get it from the bird’s perspective. Be the bird. Get dirty (bend over, lay on the ground, stoop). Do what it takes to get on the same plane as the bird.

Keeping 365 consecutive days of eBird checklists taught Miles and Teresa Tuffli a little about birding and themselves. They explain at I’m Birding RIght Now. 

The main thing we love about birding is how good it makes us feel. Simply being outside and observing any bird brings us so much joy and a sense of connection to our natural world. In 2018, we decided to focus on exploring our county and its birds. We wanted to set a measurable goal we had control over, and decided upon keeping at least one checklist every day, no matter what.

Some people like gulls, and some people absolutely love them. At Gizmodo, Ryan Mandelbaum follows one man’s enthusiastic exploration of North America’s most misunderstood group of birds.

20-year-old Tasmanian George Vaughan had three main goals for his trip to the United States last month: see a Metallica concert, visit Niagara Falls, and go to a landfill in southern Alabama. The landfill, he hoped, would help him realize a dream he’d held for six years: to see a laughing gull, a “seagull” generally considered a nuisance by your average American beachgoer.

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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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