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Day of the Dead Tribute: A Visit to the Eighth Continent

The Day of the Dead, which takes place on November 2nd, is a holiday celebrated in Mexico. It is acknowledged around the world in other cultures, including All Souls’ Day. The purpose of the holiday is to remember friends and family members who have died. It occurred to me that this holiday is [read more…]

Open Mic: The Joys of Patch Birding

At the Mic: Vjera Thompson

I used to think I had to go somewhere special to go birding. I started birding as a kid and got to tag along on lots of field trips, bird walks, and chases. After I started college, birding was a hobby I did on some weekends, at parks, wildlife refuges, [read more…]

Open Mic: Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel(s) in California

At the Mic: Steve N.G. Howell

Bodega Bay, an hour or so north of San Francisco, California, is the best place on the West Coast, indeed, in North America, for pelagic birding. Yet not many birding trips go out of there—go figure. Thus, some friends and I charter a 6-pack fishing boat each year and [read more…]

Open Mic: Being the Mother Hen (or What It’s Like to be the Parent of a Young Birder)

There is nothing in the parenting books that explains what to do when you discover a wild bird hatching in your child’s bedroom. [read more…]

Open Mic: Bird-window collisions and “green” buildings on Duke’s campus

A wild bird’s life ends with a thud against glass. Repeat one billion times per year and this tragedy becomes a statistic compelling enough to serve as a call-to-arms for conservationists. [read more…]

Open Mic: Rich Stallcup’s Legacy Lives on at Point Reyes

At the Mic: Carolyn Longstreth

As many ABA members know, Rich Stallcup, of Marin County, California, was an outstanding naturalist, teacher and “extraordinary human,” who touched the lives of countless people. He played a pivotal role in the rise of birding as a national pastime—and especially the love of birds as a motive for conservation. [read more…]

Open Mic: The Fine Weirdness of the Dry Tortugas

At the Mic: Mark Hedden

The thing no one tells you about the Dry Tortugas: It’s kind of weird to bird there.

The Tortugas are a small cluster of islands 70 miles west of Key West. They are largely made up of broken coral and sand, and they tend to grow and shrink and sometimes [read more…]

Open Mic: Battling Bye-Bye Blackbird – Conserving a Declining Species

At the Mic: Dr. Judith Scarl

Blackbirds are often taken for granted. Red-winged Blackbirds, Common Grackles, and Brown-headed Cowbirds seem omnipresent, singing from the reeds in a marsh, chattering in huge flocks in agricultural fields, or perhaps guarding feeders against smaller, more colorful species. And then suddenly, and without any fanfare, the Rusty Blackbird largely [read more…]

Open Mic: The Great Miami Winter Bird Count 2015

At the Mic: Carlos Sanchez

Through actions or words, individuals have the power to set either a positive or a negative social dynamic within a local birding community. The consequences of a relentlessly negative and divisive dynamic can be dire at the local level, creating ripple effects with far-reaching impacts, from dissuading a younger generation [read more…]

Open Mic: More than Just a Name

At the Mic: Donald Jones

Thanks, Rick and Derek, for interesting and thought provoking pieces on bird names, bird codes, and the birders’ psyche. Although I enjoyed Rick’s take and I think he makes many good points, I have to say, I respectfully disagree with his overall premise: “It’s not about the birds, it’s about [read more…]