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The Most Evil Photo Quiz Ever

You’ve heard of The Most Interesting Man in the World, yes? Well, Amar Ayyash is on anybody’s shortlist for The Most Interesting Birder in America. Not just interesting, but generous, intelligent, and, in his way, as All-American as they get. To see what we mean, read the interview with Amar [ABA member account required for [read more…]

Show Your Work[*]

Remember word problems in math? “Ava runs 3 meters per second; her friend Ella runs 3.5 meters per second. Ava starts 100 meters ahead of Ella…” If you’re a 4th grade math savant, you already know the answer: 3 minutes, 20 seconds.

The thing is, We’re not all 4th grade math savants. The rest of [read more…]

The Big Night, Take 2

A little more than a year ago, some friends and I attempted a “Big Night” in Boulder County, Colorado: non-stop birding from sunset, 8:16 pm, on Saturday, May 23, 2015 till sunrise, 5:39 am, on Sunday, May 24, 2015. In those nine hours and 23 minutes of darkness and semi-darkness, we experienced lightning and thunder, [read more…]

ICYMI: Indeterminacy

The ABA Blog has been in existence for almost 6 years, and there’s a lot of good content back in the archives that deserves an audience now that it might not have received way back when. So, semi-regularly we will bring some of that stuff back. Here’s one by Ted Floyd that has the honor [read more…]

A Feeling for the Organism

Back on Nov. 29, I found a Gray Catbird at my local patch, Greenlee Preserve, Boulder County, Colorado. Catbirds are locally common in Colorado in the warmer months, but they are rare in winter. eBird needs documentation of catbirds in late November, so I tried for a photo. The results weren’t pretty—but good enough for [read more…]

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…]

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.
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