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The History of Bird Names, Across the Pond and Beyond

A review by Frank Izaguirre

Mrs. Moreau’s Warbler: How Birds Got Their Names, by Stephen Moss

Faber & Faber, 2018

368 pages—softcover

ABA Sales / Buteo Books 14980

Birders love talking about bird names. Who among us hasn’t scrolled through the new AOS proposals just to see what the most absurd name change proposal was, [read more…]

Hitting the Right Note

A review by Caitlin Kight

A Sweet, Wild Note: What We Hear When the Birds Sing, by Richard Smyth

Elliott and Thompson, 2017

208 pages—softcover

ABA Sales / Buteo Books 14983

Between my sophomore and junior years in college, I worked as a field ornithologist for the Institute for Bird Populations (IBP). I had been [read more…]

2019 AOS Supplement is Out!

Every summer, birders anxiously await publication of the “Check-list Supplement” by the American Ornithological Society’s Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of North and Middle American Birds (a.k.a. the NACC). The supplement, available here, details revisions to the NACC’s Check-list. Below is a brief rundown of those changes.You can read all the proposals on which the [read more…]

Starlings and Humans on the Continuum of Life

A review by Capper Nichols

Mozart’s Starling, by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

Little, Brown, and Company, 2017

288 pages, softcover

ABA Sales / Buteo Books 14944

Out in the California desert, a dozen starlings perched in the branches of a spindly honey mesquite. The tree grew out of a concrete island at a roadside oasis, [read more…]

Happening NOW: Western Tanagers Invade the Midwest

There are some birds we think of as being inherently prone to irruptive behavior. The winter finches are a famous example, as are Snowy Owls, Rough-legged Hawks, and a handful of other, mostly northern species. Western Tanagers are not one of these species. While prone to vagrancy, the patterns of vagrancy they undergo tend to [read more…]

Birding for a Cause: Breeding Bird Atlases Need Your Help this Summer

If you’re ready to hit the road this summer, consider putting your birding skills to work for a great cause. Breeding bird atlases are heavily reliant on volunteer effort, and there are several occurring in North America right now that need your help!

New Challenge for Birders

Atlasing adds a new element to birding beyond [read more…]

A Beauty of an Introduction to an Idea of Beauty

A review by Manuel Lerdau

The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us, by Richard Prum

Doubleday 2017

428 pages—hardcover

ABA Sales / Buteo Books 14815

Rick Prum’s The Evolution of Beauty has been reviewed many times in both the popular and the professional scientific press. My [read more…]

2019 AOS Classification Committee Proposals, Part 3

The third and fourth batches of 2019 bird taxonomy proposals submitted to the American Ornithological Society’s North and Middle America Classification Committee have recently been released. For those who might not know, this committee is the volunteer group of ornithologists who make the split, lump, and name-change decisions that influence the ABA Checklist and our [read more…]

Happening NOW: Signs of Spring (and Bomb Cylones!)

Stepping out of my work truck on the side of a snowy, windblown county road in the panhandle of Nebraska, I hear a rising, tittering song originating from somewhere nearby, though its source evades my sight against the wide open blue sky. While the Horned Lark is anything but scarce or unusual in this part [read more…]

Happening NOW: Alcid Invasion on the East Coast

With Jerald Reb

Several years ago from Ocean City Inlet in Worcester County, Maryland I was standing at the end of a long exposed jetty. It was a bitterly cold and excessively windy day. As I watched, every now and then a few small, black-and-white shapes hurtled out of the surf and shot up the [read more…]