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Birding Apps 2.0

Diana Doyle, in her “Tools of the Trade” column in the April 2016 Birding, writes of “Bird ID 2.0 for Apps” [ABA member password required for full access]. I’d like to turn that idea inside-out, and ask about “Apps 2.0 for Bird ID,” or more generally, “Apps 2.0 for Birding.”

In the past few [read more…]

The Least-Identified Birds in the ABA Area: Thoughts on the Featured Photo, April 2016 Birding

Fourteen years ago in Birding (April 2002 issue), there appeared a feature on “The Most Misidentified Birds in North America.” Basically, Kenn Kaufman and David Sibley took turns talking about the ID challenges that give us fits: winter loons, dark buteos, and peeps; Short-tailed vs. Sooty shearwaters and Rufous vs. Allen’s hummingbirds; Thayer’s Gull, of [read more…]

Ship Happens

Like any birder, I delight in seeing a vagrant—a bird far out of range. Transoceanic vagrants are particularly exciting; there’s something bewitching and inspiring about a bird flying all the way across the ocean. And among the transoceanic vagrants, the passerines are the cream of the crop. It’s one thing for a Whiskered Tern or [read more…]

Birding is Easy and Hard

About a year ago, my ABA colleague Greg Neise wrote in this space that birding is hard. I get it. Flight calls and preformative molts, empids and Thayer’s Gulls—those things are hard. Just a few weeks ago, though, Greg seemingly had a change of heart: He wrote here that birding is easy. Yes, I can [read more…]

Birding at the Zoo


Years ago a friend and I were planning a New Jersey Big Day, and a non-birding acquaintance overheard our deliberations.

“You’re going to the zoo?” she asked incredulously. “That’s cheating!”

Even non-birders know you can’t count zoo birds.

It’s true, I explained, that you can’t count the zoo’s flamingos, but the zoo grounds are [read more…]

Photo Quiz: February 2016 Birding

First things first. Where are we? It makes a difference if we’re off North Carolina, say, vs. central California. Answer: Neither—this bird was photographed off Kona, Hawai‘i Island, this past November.

No fair! These images are supposed to be from within ABA Area waters! Well, storm-petrels and other “tubenoses” get around, and we maximize our [read more…]

Sex in the Sitta: The Curious Lives of Brown-headed Nuthatches

In their article in the February 2016 Birding, Jim Cox and colleagues tell the fascinating story of the Brown-headed Nuthatches that enliven the Tall Timbers Research Station near the Florida–Georgia line. We at Birding are especially proud to have included with the article so many of Tara Tanaka’s extraordinary photos of the nuthatches, but there’s [read more…]

That Was So Fun, Let’s Do It Again

We had so much fun with that mystery bird from northeastern Alberta, we’ll do it again. Same region: northeastern Alberta. Same time of year: summer.

And if you like these two, you’ll love the December Birding, winging its way to ABA members’ mailboxes right now, with 15 such images!

Anyhow, what is this bird? And, [read more…]

Photo Quiz: December 2015 Birding

Hmm… Well, it’s a decent photo, and the bird is well presented. This can’t be all that hard, can it?

It’s hard. It’s very hard.

Where to start? The location is northeastern Alberta, and the date is July 14. The location rules out, oh, Seaside Sparrow and Bronzed Cowbird. And the date is important: Think [read more…]

Refuge: Thoughts on Birding at Bon Secour


The seven of us, perfect strangers, stand together at an unpaved roadside pullout. I’m eager to start the bird walk, but first things first. First, Denise McInturff, Park Ranger at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, gives us the 4-1-1 on the place: when it was acquired, how it’s managed, why it’s important, and so [read more…]

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