American Birding Podcast



ABA Bird of the Year 2012: The Grosbeak Flock

If you haven’t seen our extremely goofy “reveal” video for the 2012 ABA Bird of the Year, it’s here.

Now that the bird is out of the bag, I wanted to introduce you to a few of the people who have been working hard to make this year’s Bird of the Year program even bigger and better than last year’s.

The first is Robert Mortensen, our BoY coordinator. You may remember this post from a few months back when he came on board in that capacity.

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Robert has been busy digging into the program with the ardor that Evening Grosbeaks go after sunflower seeds. You’ll be hearing from him directly in the coming weeks and months. In fact, he’s got a post up on his own multi-author blog, Birding Is Fun!, talking about the BoY. And don’t forget the ABA Bird of the Year web site, which Robert put together with the help of our web developer, Greg Neise, and others.

We are delighted to have Julie Zickefoose as our artist this year. Her painting, “Tick Ridge Rhapsody,” graces the cover of the March issue.


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Julie Zickefoose photo by Bill Thompson III

One thing Julie and I agreed on from the get go was that we didn’t want to show Evening Grosbeaks in a snow-tipped conifer, which seems to be so often the way they’re depicted. We wanted something far more vernal, with plenty of color and life, befitting the arrival of Spring. I think you’ll agree that Julie did a great job.


Birding 12-2 cover2

Julie also did a smaller grosbeak study that we used to make the Bird of the Year sticker and badge. Again, she did wonderful work capturing the shape and attitude of the species in such a way that it would come across even at the small size necessary for the stickers.


ABA BoY 2011 sticker  009


Julie will be giving us an inside and in-depth look at how she created these works of art in a series on her own blog that begins this Thursday. We’ll post links here as she does it, but if you aren’t already a regular visitor to Julie’s site, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

One final person I’ve got to give a major hat tip to: Ed Rother, our designer. He took Julie’s artwork and made it into the cover and the sticker images you see above. Ed’s a consummate behind the scenes guy, so much so that I haven’t managed to snap a decent photo of him yet. But his fingerprints are, in the best way, on just about everything the ABA puts out. Thanks, Ed!

Of course, pretty much everything here at the ABA is a team effort. A list of all those who had a hand in producing the Bird of the Year would be pretty much a staff directory. Thank you all. It’s a pleasure working with you.

And finally, thanks to all of you that gave us feedback on the Bird of the Year program. We’ve tried hard to make what was already a success a good deal better this time out.

Now get those stickers up! And most of all, good birding!