American Birding Podcast



The ABA Blog’s Most Popular Posts of 2014

It’s not too late to do end of the year countdowns, right? I sure hope not. I want to publicly thank all of those tho contributed to the blog this year, from regular contributors to guest writers to those who work behind the scenes keeping the whole thing functioning.

The following are the 10 most popular posts published on this blog, determined by traffic, for the year 2014. This may or may not inspire readers to head back into the archives for some of our more fascinating contributions, but more likely will provide a peek into what drove the online bird conversation this past year.


10. The TOP 10: Craziest ABA Area Vagrants of 2013 – George Armistead and Nate Swick

Particularly appropriate since we just published this year’s list. Few things in the birding world are as exciting as vagrants and 2013 was an exceptional year for those. The top 2 entries on this list were equally improbably and equally valid examples of how mind-blowing vagrancy in birds can be sometimes. Will we ever see another Rufous-necked Wood-Rail in the ABA Area?

photo by Jeff Gordon

photo by Jeff Gordon

9. The Unlikeliest Twitch – Greg Neise

Rare birds make us do weird things, like create and produce a music video based around the successful chase of two quality ABA Area vagrants. Greg Neise and raconteur John Puschock did just that. This one is worth checking out again, if just to remember those hazy days of late summer, when all seemed possible.

8. Galveston Bay Oil Spill: What we Birders can do. – Laura Erickson

Sometimes it’s easy to feel helpless in the face of a massive environmental disaster. The Galveston Bay Oil Spill in March of this past year was just such an event. Houston Audubon, a phenomenal bird and environmental organization, was on the scene doing great work, and Laura Erickson gave us some practical tips on how the birding community can support them.

Sibley7. The New Sibley – Jen Brumfield

It was, without doubt, the most anticipated bird publication of the year, an overdue update of David Sibley’s ground-breaking 2000 volume.  And bird artist Jen Brumfield provides an appropriately excited response to what has turned out to be, in its second printing, a book worthy of all the accolades.

6. ABA Checklist Committee adds Egyptian Goose to ABA Checklist – Bill Pranty

We love our lists, though some birders may try to deny the pull. The maintenance of that list is of utmost important to many of our members. And why not, listing is a game and games have rules. The ABA Checklist Committee’s inclusion of Egyptian Goose, based on expanding populations in Florida, was one of the most shared posts of the year.

5. Open Mic: Apparent Japanese Murrelet in California – Steve N.G. Howell

First ABA records are like catnip, even when the details are, by admission of the finder, not all there. The saga of the California Japanese Murrelet is a fascinating one, even if the bird was most likely an abnormal Ancient Murrelet. In fact, we arguably learn far more from those sorts of birds than we ever could from one lost and improbable individual.

BOY 20144. ABA’s 2014 Bird of the Year Revealed – Jeffrey Gordon

The ABA’s 2014 Bird of the Year was the much beloved Rufous Hummingbird, a western species increasingly regular in the east. In fact, one could say that no other species better represented the ABA during its move from Colorado to Delaware last year, than this one. The video, starring Jay Lehman and Big Year champ Neil Hayward, was a perfect curtain-raiser for 2014.

3. Make Birders Count: Buy Your Duck Stamp Through the ABA – Nate Swick

Birders are nearly unanimous in their belief that the Duck Stamp is a phenomenal conservation tool, but thoughts differ as to whether its advantageous for birders to purchase a stamp marketed towards hunters without our numbers being counted. The ABA sought to fix this by allowing birders to purchase their stamps through the ABA, allowing us to start to get a ballpark figure on the number of birders contributing. And it’s still going on! In fact, we’re fewer than 20 stamps away from raising $15,000 for bird conservation. There’s still time to help!

2. On Stringing – George Armistead

It’s the seedy underbelly of birding. Our hobby is so predicated on trust that it’s occasionally tempting for someone to take advantage of the community. It has happened before and it likely will happen again. George Armistead takes a walk on the dark side.

1. 2014 AOU Check-list Supplement is Out! – Michael Retter

Splits and lumps. They’re the currency of birding. This year’s AOU supplement was a good one, adding a number of new species to the ABA Checklist including Ridgway’s Rail and the three albatrosses from the Shy complex. Michael Retter’s comprehensive breakdown of the AOU’s decisions was the most popular post on the ABA Blog for 2014.

Rail 02

The new Ridgway’s Rail

Thanks for a fun 2014. Happy New Year to you all.