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Stealth Birds

One of my earliest memories of the fourth edition of the Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds has to do with something that appears on p. 29. Half way down the page, Peterson writes:

“Allan Phillips argued convincingly in American Birds that practically all of the Semipalmated Sandpipers so freely reported [read more…]

Darwin, Schoenberg, and Sibley: A New Dawn for Nature Study?

Pete Dunne, in his wonderfully didactic Essential Field Guide Companion, classifies the Brown-headed and Pygmy nuthatches as the “pack nuthatches.” I like it! For starters, I like how “pack nuthatch” conveys—shall we say?—essential information about the flocking behavior of these peripatetic pixies of the pinewoods. I also like how “pack nuthatch” hints at something about [read more…]

The ABA, Wikipedia, and You

Google the word “birding” and one of the very first hits will surely be the Wikipedia entry for our passion and pastime. See for yourself:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birding

The entry runs to 4,982 words, according to my computer, covering such topics as “The history of birdwatching,” “Competition,” “Code of conduct,” and “Famous birdwatchers.” And this: “Networking and [read more…]

Do they get it?

I was recently interviewed as an “expert” by Boxoffice Magazine, for an article they do about new movies called “Expert Opinion”. It was a fun interview, and I think the resulting piece captures most of what I wanted to say about the movie (and, they ran my mug alongside Steve Martin … good work, if [read more…]

The Eubanks Challenge

Ted Eubanks, in a recent post to The ABA Blog, said this:

[M]ost hard-core birders, those who pursue birds as aggressively as collectors once chased Cabbage Patch dolls, appear to care little about the unwashed masses. The crowds are little more than traffic congestion to bypass before reaching the next lifer.

I [read more…]

A Pox on Politics (I Ain’t No Stool Pigeon!)

I, for one, feel no such obligation. I care little for lists. What attracts me to this story is the bird, its improbable appearance and its mysterious origins. Since we can never know its provenance, we can allow ourselves to put birder on the shelf and go back to simple bird watching. We can return to a time and age when committees didn’t matter and we celebrated the simple existance of a wayward soul. There will be many more rare birds for the lists; not all will be so enigmatic. But for this moment, these precious days and hours, we have been offered a glimpse at a bird whose value transcends the constrictions of our recreation. The sparrow humbles us, and reminds us that there is a limit to what we can know. [read more…]

Job Opening at the ABA

Hello, Birders!

This blog post consists of two parts. First is a position announcement; we need somebody to produce our “Sightings” column for Birding and Winging It. Second is some commentary from me about this column.

First things first. Interested in producing the “Sightings” column for Birding and Winging It? Then please carefully study this [read more…]

Return of the Sparrow

One of the most famous passages ever penned by Aldo Leopold goes like this:

One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of a March thaw, is the spring.

He goes on:

A cardinal, whistling spring to a thaw but later finding himself mistaken [read more…]

“The Club,” Take 2

Long, long ago, Pete Dunne wrote in American Birds about bird club meetings. His core message, as I recall, was that all bird club meetings are basically the same. He meant it in the best possible way: Bird club meetings are all the same in all the best ways. Call it the Anna Karenina Theorem of [read more…]

The Great Voice

Sunday, June 5th. With Paul Rodewald, a birding companion from my college days, I’m listening for birds along a country road in Adams County, down in far southern Ohio. It’s not yet dawn. A Chuck-will’s-widow is singing its head off. We hear another in the distance. A Purple Martin calls as it flies over in the darkness.    “Let’s [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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Recent Comments

  • Nate, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { That's fair about the weather timing. I recall the observers saying something about Hurricane Nate being involved, but how much is not clear. As to... }
  • Gary Bloomfield, in Birding with a Tricorder... { Great essay, Ted! Feel sorry for the guy in the photo who's wearing a red shirt, though. }
  • Steve Shultz, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { I believe the NC swift was seen on Saturday, October 7 (unless the date indicated by the observer on the photo was incorrect). Nate did... }
  • Rick Wright, in #ABArare - Yellow-breasted Bunting - Newfoundland & Labrador... { What a great bird! Sadly topical: http://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/yellow-breasted-bunting-next-passenger-pigeon?utm_source=BirdLife+International+News+Notifications&utm_campaign=3435eeef02-Top_news_notification&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4122f13b8a-3435eeef02-133889729&goal=0_4122f13b8a-3435eeef02-133889729&mc_cid=3435eeef02&mc_eid=8db37ed8c1 }
  • Nate, in Rare Bird Alert: October 13, 2017... { Whoops. You're right. Those I names turned me around. I'll fix when I get a chance. Sent from my phone }
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  • Open Mic: Young Birder Camp at Hog Island: Coastal Maine Bird Studies for Teens September 11, 2017 3:07
    At the mic: Dessi Sieburth, an avid birder, photographer, and conservationist, is a 10th grader at Saint Francis High School in La Canada, California. He is a member of the Pasadena Audubon Young Birder’s Club and Western Field Ornithologists. Dessi enjoys birding in his home county of Los Angeles. Last summer, Dessi attended Camp Colorado, […]
  • Introducing the Whimbrel Birders Club! September 7, 2017 2:33
    Whimbrel Birders Club was established at the first annual Illinois Young Birders Symposium in August 2016. We are a birding club truly meant for everyone, no matter your age, disability, or ethnicity. […]
  • Open Mice: Kestrels–An Iowa Legacy May 16, 2017 6:29
    A few years ago, a short drive down my gravel road would yield at least one, if not two, American Kestrels perched on a power line or hovering mid-air above the grassy ditch. Today, I have begun to count myself lucky to drive past a mere one kestrel per week rather than the daily sightings. […]

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