American Birding Podcast



Big Year Records Busted in 2015

Noah Strycker wasn’t the only person to bust a Big Year record this year. A number of birders in the ABA Area made serious efforts at their own state/provincial records in 2015, some putting up some impressive number in what was an impressive year for vagrancy in the ABA Area.

California birder John Sterling set [read more…]

YOUR TURN: Clarifying What Counts

“What Counts?” is a perennial question we hear at the ABA. That’s understandable since the ABA–or, more specifically, its Recording Standards and Ethics Committee–creates and maintains the set of guidelines used for reporting list totals to the ABA’s Listing Central. These reports are what we use to create the annual “Listing Snapshot“.

The assistant copy [read more…]

YOUR TURN: Understanding Phylogenetics

These days, when you hear about a species bing “split” or “lumped”, you can probably bet that at the heart of the decision was a scientific paper about genetics that included phylogenetic trees. And unless you have a background in biology, you may be confused about what you’re seeing. That’s why we asked ornithologist Nick [read more…]

How should we pronounce Trindade?

In the 2015 version of the annual Check-list Redux article in Birder’s Guide to Listing and Taxonomy, one of the changes I listed was a split of Herald Petrel. The species found in the northern Atlantic Ocean (and, thus, in the Gulf Stream) is now called Trindade Petrel. Trindade isn’t a word most of us [read more…]

SNEAK PEEK! Birder’s Guide to Listing & Taxonomy, 2015

The 2015 issue of Birder’s Guide to Listing & Taxonomy is now being printed. That means that, if you’re an ABA member, you should find it in your mailbox in the next couple weeks. But you don’t have to wait until then to see what’s inside. And neither do non-members. You can see the entirety [read more…]

The Palest Ink Is Better Than The Strongest Memory

If you’ve kept a life list for more than a couple of years and keep it updated, you’ve probably had the experience of “earning” a few lifers at home from the comfort of your favorite chair. This can happen when the American Ornithologists’ Union splits one species into two (or more) separate species. If you [read more…]

2015 AOU Supplement is Out!

Every summer, birders anxiously await publication of the “Check-list Supplement” by the American Ornithologists’ Union’s Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of North and Middle American Birds (NACC). The Supplement details revisions to its Check-list. Below is a brief rundown of those changes. (You can see the Supplement here.) Be sure to check out the ABA’s [read more…]

ABA Checklist Committee Adds Rufous-necked Wood-Rail to ABA Checklist

The ABA Checklist Committee (hereafter, CLC) recently voted 8–0 to accept the Rufous-necked Wood-Rail to the ABA Checklist as a natural vagrant. As is well known, the wood-rail was observed by hundreds of observers at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico, 7–18 July 2013.

photo by Jeff Gordon

In October [read more…]

Big Days Aren’t Easy

“Big” birding of any flavor is challenging. The essence of it all is simply trying to see as many different species as possible in a pre-determined amount of time. For the past few years, my perennial Big Day buddy, Jeff Skrentny, and I have been whacking away at the various Illinois Big Day records. There’s [read more…]

Smoked Hawk

The radar showed birds moving as we got started at 2:30 am. But it looked like birds moving out of central Illinois, rather than moving in.

Anyone who’s read much of my drivel over the years, knows I like doing Big Days. With my perennial Big Day buddy Jeff, we have been working [read more…]