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Bulletin: New Splits

The American Ornithologists’ Union “Check-list Committee” has published an online preview of its decisions on dozens of taxonomic and nomenclatorial proposals that will take effect this year if there are no last-minute revisions.

The report includes splits of four species involving ABA-area birds, but none of them adds a species to the ABA Checklist. That’s because [read more…]

A Bird of Hope; a Mystery Solved

The Bermuda Petrel is a bird of almost tragic fate, reduced to near extinction. It is a bird of hope, whose population is recovering thanks largely to the almost superhuman efforts of a man named David Wingate and of his successors in intensive recovery efforts. It is the Holy Grail of many a birder on [read more…]

Robo-Hummer in the News

Everyone is talking about the tiny robotic hummingbird whose aerodynamics are based on those of a real hummer. It's an amazing achievement that links biology and engineering. Don't miss the manufacturer's video that demonstrate its versatility.  

Incidentally, the May issue of Birding will include an article about discoveries of hummingbird aerodynamics that helped to make the [read more…]

New ABA-area species in store?

The American Ornithologists’ Union has a new slate of taxonomic proposals to consider, a number of them involving ABA-area species:

• Elevate Mexican Duck to species status–again.

• Split Yellow-throated Warbler into two species: Yellow-Throated Warbler and Bahama Warbler.

photo by Jerry Oldenettel, Used via Creative Commons

• Split Mexican Jay into two [read more…]

Where Are the ECDs?

Check out the eBird map for the Eurasian Collared-Dove’s distribution, and you’ll see a mystery. Since the early 1980s, the dove has rapidly colonized almost all of the western U.S. and parts of southwestern Canada. Now it has begun to appear in small numbers as far north as southern Alaska and adjacent British Columbia. Yet [read more…]

More “New” ABA Area Species?

If you missed Bill Maynard's post on ABA’s PEEPS Online last month, be sure to go back for a look at his reports about proposed splits of Mountain Chickadee into two species and Yellow-rumped Warbler into as many as four.

Bill’s post also called worthwhile attention to the source of his information: the web pages of the [read more…]

Let’s Help the Rusty Blackbird

After looking at some shocking numbers, I can't help but sound an alarm. Can the Rusty Blackbird survive as a species without a massive effort to save it?

Birders can help to improve the odds by joining a “Rusty Blackbird Hot Spot Blitz” from 29 January through 13 February, 2011, to find and report locations, [read more…]

The Mystery of Deformed Beaks

Readers of Birding magazine saw a grotesque photographic gallery three years ago—a set of portraits of birds in Alaska and Washington with terribly deformed beaks. The shocking images accompanied an article by Caroline Van Hemert in the September/October 2007 issue.

Van Hemert described large numbers of Northwestern Crows and Black-capped Chickadees in Alaska and Washington [read more…]