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Blog Birding #398

Kaeli Swift of Corvid Research considers the bird of many names, the Canada Jay.

On May 23rd, 2018 the American Ornithological Society announced that Perisoreus canadensis, the bird formerly known as the gray jay, would be officially recognized as the Canada jay.  Although this change felt disruptive to some, for the folks spearheading the campaign, including foremost Canada jay expert Dan Strickland, this was the righting of a historical wrong more than a half-century in the making.

Maine’s official state bird is the “chickadee”, but some in the state want to clarify whether that’s Black-capped or Boreal. Steve Mistler has more at Maine Public.

Brian Olsen, an associate professor of biology and ecology at the University of Maine, refuses to take sides in the great chickadee debate, but he does want state lawmakers to know there are big differences between the boreal chickadee and the black-capped chickadee, which are both found in Maine. He says the black-capped has a song in the springtime, which he demonstrated for the State and Local Government Committee.

“Birding” or “Birdwatching”? That’s the predicament Erika Zambello at 10,000 Birds finds herself in these days.

Sliding the glass door to my Florida backyard, I shuffled my slipper-clad feet and closed the opening behind me. The sun had broken through an early morning haze, warming my backyard to over 70 degrees F – a bright spot in what had been a generally gloomy February. Plopping myself down on a bright blue chair, I carefully placed my binoculars on my lap and picked up my knitting. My view? A straight shot to my bird feeder.

Georgia Silvera Seamens at Audubon explores the joys of patch birding, and how birding your patch can make you a better birder.

The first time I heard the term “patch birding,” I was chatting with author and bird guide Heather Wolf in a coffeeshop overlooking Washington Square Park in New York City. She used the term to describe birding regularly in a place close to home, whether it be in Manhattan or her previous stomping grounds on the Florida Gulf Coast. A novice urban birder myself, I was intrigued by what the method entailed.

Researchers studying bird migration have found that climate changes has encouraged some species to migrate earlier than others. Learn more at 

According to a new study, migratory birds in Europe and Canada have substantially advanced the timing of their spring migration due to climate change. The average migratory bird has advanced its spring migration by approximately one week in five decades, and the duration of the migration season has increased.

The greatest advances were found among short-distance migrants that winter in Europe or North America: about 1.5–2 days per decade. Long-distance migrants that winter in the tropics have also advanced the start of their , but only by approximately 0.6–1.2 days per decade.

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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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