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Birds and Healing

Birders are well aware that even the unlikeliest of things can sometimes come true. Rarities and mega-rarities bring us so much joy, but an unlikely thing made this past year a very difficult one for me. For the second time, I was diagnosed with colon cancer, this time Stage 4. I thought I had beaten [read more…]

Common Names in Different Families, Full List

In the March/April 2014 issue of Birding is an article I wrote discussing the many common bird names like “flycatcher” and “shrike” that are used in multiple taxonomically distinct families. As I compiled the list, it became clear the entire list was way too long to publish in the magazine. At least 53 different common [read more…]

The Mystery of Communication: If You Could Talk to One Bird, Which Would It Be?

The immensity of the psychic and linguistic distances between us and birds is something we rarely think about. It doesn’t make us sad that we cannot talk to or become friends with the birds we encounter in the field, at least not typically. Which is exactly why I found the chapter “The Friendly Bicolored Antbird” [read more…]

Remembering Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen, the esteemed writer and naturalist, has passed away. I imagine many ABA members are familiar with his work and mourn his passing. For me, his writing is an inspiration, from At Play in the Fields of the Lord, an excellent novel about missionaries in the Amazon, to The Snow Leopard, a travelogue about [read more…]

Introducing: The Lifelook

One of the most interesting facets of birding culture is its unique vocabulary. From lifers to dips to cripplers, there’s an inherent joy in communicating with others about the highs and lows of birding using our own terminology. Maybe the best part of birding vocabulary is that it shows how alive and dynamic the culture [read more…]

What Bird has the Longest Lifelist?

When learning about the immense migrations of many North American birds, the more zoomorphic among us may find themselves imagining what wondrous things these birds must encounter throughout their travels. From high Andean cloud forests to tropical Central American beaches to stark Alaskan tundras, these birds see a lot. Which may in turn lead us [read more…]

Birds and Poetry

When I read the following words in Leonard Nathan’s illuminating Diary of a Left-handed Birdwatcher, I was delighted:

Valmiki is the first, the father, of all poets. He is also the first known birdwatcher, and it is his birdwatching that has occasioned his invention: from shoka (grief) comes shloka (poetry).

So there you have it. [read more…]

On Birds and Books

After a love of birds, the most commonly shared interest in the birding world is probably a love of books. Even with the rise of apps and massive internet databases, birders reliably look forward to the latest book about species identification, life histories, birding memoirs, and any number of other ornithological topics.

I think [read more…]

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.
If you like birding, we want to hear from you.
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Recent Comments

  • Ted Floyd, in The Big Night... { Just so that the whole world knows: Bill's photos, appearing in the post above, look much better without my doctoring... :-) }
  • Ted Floyd, in The Big Night... { If anybody can track this down, please let me know. }
  • Mark Stevenson, in The Big Night... { Somewhere way back in an old issue of Birding is an article about a nightbird big day (?night ) in Arizona. }
  • Terry Bronson, in Rare Bird Alert: May 29, 2015... { Amazingly, West Virginia had a second Common Gallinule on May 27 and 28 in Lewis County. }
  • Denis Lepage, in Rare Bird Alert: May 29, 2015... { In the latest summer edition of the QuébecOiseaux magazine, there is a photo of an Apus swift, which appears to be a Common Swift, taken... }
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  • Meet Dessi Sieburth, 2015 ABA Young Birder of the Year May 17, 2015 12:00
    Learn more about Dessi Sieburth, the 12-year-old 2015 Young Birder of the Year! […]
  • Wildlife Ecology Research April 22, 2015 11:35
    Rensselaerville Falls, Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station. July 13, 2014. What: Wildlife Ecology Research Program for high school students entering their Junior or Senior Year. Where: Huyck Preserve and Biological Research Station 5052 Delaware Turnpike Rensselaerville, NY 12147 When: Late applications due May 1 by 5 PM, EDT. Session I—July 5-26 Session II—August […]
  • Young Birder Blog Birding #37 April 8, 2015 4:19
    For many birders, February is a month of waiting. After February, the snow will melt and the first Killdeers and American Woodcocks will usher in a parade of exciting spring migrants. […]

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