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The Allure of the Sea, From Shore

A review by Amar Ayyash

Peterson Reference Guide to Seawatching: Eastern Waterbirds in Flight, by Ken Behrens and Cameron Cox

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

xi + 602 pages, $35—hardcover

ABA Sales / Buteo Books 13931

Perhaps the most challenging form of birding, the identification of birds in flight from a distance is a [read more…]

Pterodroma Petrels

A review by Tom Johnson

Multimedia Identification Guide to North Atlantic Seabirds: Pterodroma Petrels, by Bob Flood and Ashley Fisher

Scilly Pelagics, 2013

316 pages and two DVDs, $69.95—hardcover

ABA Sales / Buteo Books 14180

Few birds are as amazingly tough, enigmatic, beautiful, athletic, and rare as the gadfly petrels. The Multimedia Identification Guide to [read more…]

Charismatic, Colorful, Diverse

A review by Edward H. Burtt, Jr.

The Warbler Guide, by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle

Princeton University Press, 2013

560 pages, $29.95—softcover

ABA Sales / Buteo Books 13877

This is a book that every serious birder should own.

There. Now that I’ve stated my conclusion, let me tell you why.

Tom Stephenson and Scott [read more…]

Certainty, Experts, and Confirmation

A couple of friends and I were birding around Jamaica Bay in New York a few years ago. We came upon a couple of people, a man and a woman, looking out over the water and discussing a bird perched in plain view, but a bit distantly, out in the marsh. They didn’t seem to [read more…]

Been Banding Lately?

Last weekend I had the pleasure of visiting an educational bird banding station run by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory at Barr Lake State Park, just northeast of Denver.  Meredith McBurney and her team of volunteers do a fantastic job of engaging school groups, bird club trips, individual birders, and passers-by (the banding table is [read more…]

Why Is Sound So Hard?

One of the skills most birders use is the ability to recognize birds by the sounds they make. In most bird groups (seabirds being an obvious exception), each species (and sometimes subspecies or regional variations or even individuals) can be recognized by the sounds that it makes. If you've spent much time around serious birders, [read more…]

On Avian Subspecies: Buyer Beware? – Part 4

By Steve N.G. Howell

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

Part 3 is here

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Part 4

Subspecies and the Birder: Variation and Probability

            Putting names to birds, especially at the level below species, is often about probability. Few subspecies are so well defined that 100% of individuals can [read more…]

On Avian Subspecies: Buyer Beware? – Part 3

By Steve N.G. Howell

Part 1 is here

Part 2 is here

–=====–

Part 3

 Subspecies and the Birder: The Problem with Subspecies X

             Many birders I talk to seem to believe that a subspecies name refers to something that is well defined, but as we've seen this is not [read more…]

On Avian Subspecies: Buyer Beware? – Part 1

Editor's Note: The ABA Blog is excited to offer a four part series by renowned field ornithologist and researcher Steve N.G. Howell on the history and relevance of avian subspecific identification.  Steve is a senior international bird tour leader for WINGS and has written several books including A Guide to the Birds of Mexico and [read more…]

Lovitch: How to Be a Better Birder

And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? The goal of birding, of any hobby, is expertise gratia sua, and the only reason we do it is to do it better. This slender new volume by Derek Lovitch will help almost any birder do just that.

Relatively new birders who take this book [read more…]