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Big Days Aren’t Easy

“Big” birding of any flavor is challenging. The essence of it all is simply trying to see as many different species as possible in a pre-determined amount of time. For the past few years, my perennial Big Day buddy, Jeff Skrentny, and I have been whacking away at the various Illinois Big Day records. There’s [read more…]

Birding is Hard

I started birding in 1972, and took to it like an ibis takes to drainage ditches. I pretty quickly learned all of the birds that could be reasonably expected in the city parks of Chicago, where I grew up. By 1975, I was a fully fledged, vagrant-hunting birder. By the time I was 13 years [read more…]

Smoked Hawk

The radar showed birds moving as we got started at 2:30 am. But it looked like birds moving out of central Illinois, rather than moving in.

Anyone who’s read much of my drivel over the years, knows I like doing Big Days. With my perennial Big Day buddy Jeff, we have been working at [read more…]

Still as a Pine Cone

January, 1976 I don’t know if it was just a particularly good year for them, or if I was just on a roll, but I was having tremendously good luck finding owls in the park across the street from our apartment. One of the really great old things (of which there were many) in Chicago’s [read more…]

Quality Time with Hoary Redpolls

This past Sunday, I had a very pleasant experience … two experiences at once, actually. One was spending the morning in my local turf with a posse of great birders, including Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd.

Left-to-right: my big mug, Shawn Chandler, Danny Akers, Amar Ayyash, Andy Sigler, Ted Floyd, Joel Greenberg. At William [read more…]

My Kinda Town

Chicago at dusk, from the roof of the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. Photo by Greg Neise.

1972 was the year that I came to life. I was born nine years earlier in California, but I don’t remember a minute of any of it. In May of 1972 I saw a notice posted on the [read more…]

The Chicago Connection

So, Ted Floyd sent me the cover of the current issue of Birding (about to hit your mailboxes, and available online right now for ABA members):

…and pointed out that on page 3 of the magazine, it says:

What do Chicago in winter, the ABA Checklist Committee, field ID of the Slaty-backed Gull, and [read more…]

Meet My Friend Tony

Tony Fitzpatrick and I have more than a couple things in common. We grew up in the same neighborhoods. We know a bunch of the same people. We both did less than savory things for some pretty shady characters in our youth. We’ve both graduated Magna Cum Laude from the School of Hard Knocks. When [read more…]

The Unlikeliest Twitch

This little tale is a perfect storm of a rare bird (or two), a joke, the craziness and power of social media, and a kind benefactor…

Saturday, August 16, 1:11 pm

John posts to Facebook:

At 4:04 pm, I reply: “Wait … I want in too. It will be so much better if we [read more…]

It’s Your Big Day

One of the things I love most about birding is how challenging it can be. Note that I didn’t say, how challenging birding is. Because the challenge is what you make it.

“Big” birding is taking the rather passive (and thoroughly enjoyable!) day of birding and expanding or contracting it to add a [read more…]

American Birding Podcast
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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