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American Birding Podcast

The American Birding Podcast brings together staff and friends of the American Birding Association as we talk about birds, birding, travel and conservation in North America and beyond. Join host Nate Swick every other Thursday for news and happenings, recent rarities, guests from around the birding world, and features of interest to every birder.
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Apr 18, 2019

Birders have been portrayed onscreen for decades now, with mixed accuracy. While this has definitely changed for the better in recent years there's still room to grow and the web-series Birds of North America is pushing the public perception forward once again and it definitely deserves your attention. The series is produced by the media group Topic, it can be found on their website and on YouTube. It is hosted by Bronx-native and bird twitter stalwart Jason Ward and directed by filmmaker Rob Meyer, who wrote and directed A Birder’s Guide to Everything. They both join me to talk about this new venture and what it means for birders.

Also, a great idea in Portland that we might have heard before and a little bit on the LIVE episode of the American Birding Podcast that we're hosting at the Biggest Week in American Birding.

Thanks to Zeiss Sports Optics for their support of this episode!

Apr 4, 2019

Dr. Kaeli Swift knows crows. And she's watched them do some pretty extraordinary things. In fact all corvids-the family that includes crows, jays, magpies, and others-have a well deserved reputation for intelligence and fascinating social behaviors. Dr. Swift's research has provided insights into how crows interact with us, with their dead, and with each other. She joins host Nate Swick from Denali National Park where she is working with Canada Jays to talk about corvid culture and cognition. 

Also, Fantasy Birding makes the big time! Sort of. And some thoughts on the passing of a giant of modern birding

Thanks to the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival for their support of the American Birding Podcast.

 

Mar 21, 2019

Birders know the South American nation of Colombia as the most bird-rich country on the planet, but Colombia’s reputation among the general public is unfortunately somewhat more mixed. That is something that the Colombian government and non-profits who work there are trying to fix, as Colombia is heavily playing up its bona fides as a travel destination. Luckily for nature-lovers, birding is a big part of that strategy and John Myers of Conservation International has been working to build advise ecotourism initiatives in Colombia that promote conservation and lay the groundwork for an organic birding culture, and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about the amazing things going on in the biodiversity capital of the world. We mention the film, The Birdersas a great example of how birding has taken off in Colombia.

If this episode whets your appetite to visit Colombia, join us at our Colombia event this summer!

Also, more birding in the news, birding board games, and a new birding web-series!

Thanks to the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival for their support of the American Birding Podcast. 

 

Mar 7, 2019

Spring is finally on its way and with it, the promise of returning migratory birds to the United States and Canada. Among the first to arrive every year, and beloved among birders and non-birders alike, is North America’s largest swallow, the Purple Martin. With their chatty and gregarious nature martins have inspired so many people, one of whom is Dr. Kevin Fraser of the Avian Behavior and Conservation Lab at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. A migration ecologist with a particularly interest in neotropical migrants, Kevin has worked with Purple Martins for years, and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about the uncommon lives of these common birds. 

Also, congratulations to the ABA's 2019 Young Birders of the Year, don't forget to help the ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears, and some thoughts on Old Media, New Media, and learning about birds. 

Thanks to Zeiss Sports Optics for sponsoring this episode of the American Birding Podcast!

 

Feb 21, 2019

The February 2019 issue of Birding magazine is noteworthy not only for being the Bird of the Year issue, or for launching the 50th Anniversary of the ABA, but for another, less obvious, reason. February 2019 is the 100th issue of Birding for which Ted Floyd has been editor-in-chief. The 16 years that Ted has been in charge of the ABA's flagship publication have seen a lot of changes, not just in the way that the ABA has reached its members and the birding community, but for birding itself. Ted joins host Nate Swick to talk about how birding has changed over the years, and how Birding has changed along with it. 

Plus, an update on the border wall and a Dark-billed Cuckoo in Florida. 

Come join the ABA in Colombia this summer!

 

Feb 7, 2019

The Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas is one of the most special places in the ABA Area­ for birders and naturalists, hosting some exceptional species and some iconic birding locations. It’s why so many birders have watched the politics around the proposed construction of a border wall in the Valley so closely and why we, along with many other stakeholders, have mobilized to protect those places. One of those on the forefront has been Tiffany Kersten, a biologist, educator, and board member of Friends of the Wildlife Corridor. Her article "Walling Off Wildlife" was published last year in the Birder’s Guide to Conservation and Community. She joins host Nate Swick to talk about birding around a border wall, and the current state of affairs in South Texas. 

Resources that Tiffany mentions in the interview include the No Border Wall Facebook page and and Valley Green Space Resistance Kit

Also, a eulogy for a Great Black Hawk. The song by Troy R. Bennett that plays at the end can be found here

Come join the ABA in Colombia this summer!

Jan 24, 2019

Cornell’s eBird has been around for 16 years now, and 2019 finds it as ingrained in the birding community, especially in North America, as it’s ever been. More users than ever plugging more data than ever into the project, which in turn facilitates a ton of great information that informs research, conservation, and everyday birding. In the last few weeks of 2018, eBird launched a new status and trend database, an incredibly detailed spatial and temporal information on bird populations, combining eBird data with NASA data that takes into account land cover and topography. Cornell's Tom Auer is the Geographic Information Science (GIS) Developer charged with creating these maps, and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about them. 

Also, Fantasy Birding and a little on McCown's Longspur and the question of who bird common names are for. 

Thanks to Rockjumper Birding Tours for sponsoring this episode of the podcast. Come join the ABA in Colombia this summer!

Jan 10, 2019

Multimedia bird artist Megan Massa is the latest artist to create the Bird of the Year cover art, an auspicious list that includes David Sibley, Julie Zickefoose, and Louise Zemaitis, among others. Her experiences have run the gamut from the hobby side of birding to birds research to art and her creation, a Red-billed Tropicbird soaring over a boat full of birders will be featured on the cover of the February 2019 issue of Birding magazine. It's the first Bird of the Year work to exist completely in a digital realm, a fascinating process that allowed Megan to add some cool artistic easter eggs. She joins host Nate Swick to talk bird art, research, and the needs of college-aged birders. 

Plus, a good-bye to the Iiwi, a bird that asked all of us to learn a little more about Hawaiian native birds. 

Thanks to the Space Coast Birding Festival for sponsoring this episode. We'll be there! Will you?

Dec 27, 2018

Days are short, weather is at or near its coldest, and it's easy to just suspend birding for a few months and wait for Spring. But that would be missing out on some truly great birding experiences, including Christmas Counts, which many birders consider to be a highlight of their year. We are currently in the middle of the CBC season host Nate Swick welcomes two birders who are no strangers to winter weather conditions, ABA Web Developer Greg Neise, of Chicago, Illinois, and Birding editor Ted Floyd of Boulder Colorado, to talk winter birding, Christmas Bird Counts, and more. 

Thanks to everyone who made this year a great one. If you enjoy what we do here, please consider making a donation to the ABA's Year-End Appeal, or joining the ABA.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Dec 13, 2018

Birds are everywhere. They are in your movies and TV shows, on your sports team logos, even in your Google Street View. There is no shortage of ways that your interest in birds can manifest itself beyond time in the field. Maybe no one knows that better than Nick Lund. Nick is The Birdist on his own blog of that name and on social media, a frequent contributor to National Audubon and Ray Brown’s Talking Birds and works in outreach with Maine Audubon. He joins me to talk about birds in non-bird places, what he calls “Birds at Large”. 

Also, I have enough correspondence to do a mailbag! And I talk a little about the new AOS Taxonomy proposals, which you can learn more about here. 

Thanks to Land Sea and Sky for sponsoring this episode!

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Nov 29, 2018

We're getting to the end of the year and it's time for a look back at the best bird books published in 2018. Once again, 10,000 Birds book reviewer Donna Schulman joins me to talk about our favorites. Donna and I each share our Top 5, including field guides, family specific guides, and narratives from well-known authors and publishers.

Thanks to Space Coast Birding & Nature Festival for sponsoring this episode. Join the ABA in Titusville this January for great birding and fellowship!

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

 

Donna’s Top 5

1) Birds of Central AmericaAndrew Vallely & Dale Dyer

2) Birds of Prey of the East/WestBrian K. Wheeler

3) Peterson Guide to Bird Identification in 12 StepsSteve NG Howell & Brian Sullivan

4) The Feather ThiefKirk Wallace Johnson

5) Belonging on an IslandDaniel Lewis

 

Nate’s Top 5

1) Birds of Central AmericaAndrew Vallely & Dale Dyer

2) Gulls SimplifiedPete Dunne & Kevin Karlson

3) Birds of NicaraguaLiliana Chavarria-Duriaux, Robert Dean, & Robert T. Moore

4) Birds of Prey of the East/WestBrian K. Wheeler

5) ABA Field Guide to Birds of OregonDave Irons & Brian Small

Nov 15, 2018

One of the more exciting aspects of birding and birding science in the 21st Century has been the reveal of a great many secrets of bird movements and migration, much of it the result of technology. Increasingly small trackers that are fitted to various bird species enable scientists, and those of us on the sidelines, to follow along, sometimes in real time, with where these birds are going. Mike Lanzone s the 2017 recipient of the ABA's Chandler Robbins Award for Conservation and Education, and he's the co-founder and CEO of Cellular Tracking Technologies, the people who develop the devices and figure out the best way to use them. He joins host Nate Swick to talk about how it all works and what amazing things he has planned. 

Also, the 2018 ABA Awards recipients are out, and they are an amazing group of birders, conservationists, and scientists. And Nate share some thoughts about that Central Park Mandarin Duck. 

Join the ABA in Thailand early next year for Birding and Photography. Get more information at the ABA Travel!

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Nov 1, 2018

It’s the dream of many birders, to travel the US and Canada by car for one entire year, taking in as much of the continent’s birds as you can along the way. It is the reality of Marc Kramer and Eliana Ardila Ardila, the Birding by Bus duo. They’ve spend the whole of 2018 crossing the country in their Volkswagen Westfalia and documenting the whole thing on social media to the delight of those of us who get to follow along. They’re join host Nate Swick from a stop at ABA headquarters in Delaware City to talk about their amazing year and where they'll go from here. 

Also, Major League Soccer is pretty great for birds in a couple different ways. 

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Oct 18, 2018

For many of us, birding is about community, and for retaining people in the hobby finding a group of people you like to bird with is as important as that first pair of binoculars or a field guide. Molly Adams of Brooklyn, New York, knows this more than most. In 2016 she founded the Feminist Bird Club, an inclusive bird watching club dedicated to providing a safe opportunity to connect with the natural world in urban environments. Molly and the FBC were featured in a New York Times article earlier this year about young urban birders. The group has only grown in numbers and ambition since then and she joins host Nate Swick to talk about it. 

Also, Birds Aren't Real and other avian conspiracies, and ABA President Jeff Gordon shares a story of wonder and melancholy while birding on his bike. 

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Oct 4, 2018

Few birders would dispute that Cape May, New Jersey, is among the continent’s most storied birding locations, both in terms of birding spectacle and influence on North American birding culture. It feels like Cape May Bird Observatory, New Jersey Audubon’s center for bird research and education, has always been at the center of it all. CMBO has been doing research and outreach about birds and especially bird migration since 1975, and Dr. David La Puma is the current director. He and the New Jersey Audubon crew are hosting the Cape May Fall Festival later this month and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about that, as well as fallouts, next-generation bird research, and what it's like to be the steward of all that history. 

Also, Nate shares some thoughts on his recent trip to Cuba, thinks about the USFWS's recently released Outdoor Recreation Survey, and catches up on all the rare bird news for the last 4 weeks. 

Come join us at the Lower Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival this November!

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Sep 20, 2018

Have you ever had to describe birding to a friend or family member who just doesn't get it? What analogies do you use? Is birding like a religion? A sport? An obsession? Guest host Greg Neise brings Birding editor Ted Floyd and young birder liaison Jennie Duberstein to bear on the issue in a rollicking discussion that tries to figure it out.

Regular host Nate Swick in Cuba this week so no Rare Bird Focus, but stay turned for it the next time around.

Thanks to our episode sponsor Rockjumper Birding Tours, proudly offering quality birding adventures, expertly guided by passionate and experienced professional tour leaders. Their 300 scheduled tours annually explore the world’s prime birding areas, including Colombia with the ABA next summer.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Sep 6, 2018

Birders in North America are increasingly keen to combine the somewhat separate skills of birding and photography, but around the rest of the world birding is pretty much synonymous with photography to the point where sometimes you don’t even carry binoculars. It seems strange to us, but it’s the way things are to birder and photographer Keith Barnes, who joins host Nate Swick to talk about how birders use cameras, tips for would-be photographers, and the way birding culture differs in east Asia. Keith is one of the founders of the bird tour company Tropical Birding, a South African expat now living in Taiwan, and he is the architect of the ABA’s Birding with a Camera Tour of Thailand early next year.

Also, is a great list schism on the horizon? And listeners write in with tips for new birders that they wish they knew when they were getting started.

Thanks to our episode sponsor, Land, Sea, and Sky. Since 1940, the optics experts at Land Sea & Sky to purchase just the right pair of binoculars for their birding adventures. This shop has hundreds of binoculars and spotting scopes in stock, an industry-leading 90 day return policy, and experienced staff to lend you a helping hand.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Aug 23, 2018

The American Birding Expo is returning to the Philadelphia area once more next month. Running from 21-23 September, it is billed as “the world of birding in one place” and with exhibitors from 6 continents that is a pretty fair description. Expo-runners, Bill Thompson III and Ben Lizdas join me to talk about the Expo and what birders can expect in the way of exhibitors, workshops and keynoters. In addition to running the Expo, Bill is the editor of BirdWatcher’s Digest, and Ben runs the new optics retailer Redstart Birding. They are also the co-hosts of the podcast “Out There With the Birds", and we cover it all from the Global Big Year Challenge (tm) to the joys of matching people with the perfect pair of binoculars. 

Plus, the feral cat problem and a bright spot thanks to our friends at the American Bird Conservancy. 

Thanks to episode sponsor, the Partnership for International Birding, combining 200 scheduled tours to destinations around the world with unmatched support for local bird conservation.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Aug 9, 2018

One of the issues that the birding community has been reckoning with for the last several years is our relative lack of diversity, at least in terms of black and brown faces in the field, and how we can encourage a broader coalition of nature enthusiasts to join us and to share the joy of birding. It's an issue that Dr. Drew Lanham has given a great deal of thought. Lanham is a distinguished professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, he sits on the boards of both National Audubon and the American Birding Association, and his memoir, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair With Nature was published in 2017. Drew was recently profiled in the August/September issue of Garden & Gun magazine and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about his experiences as a black man who loves what he calls one of "the whitest things you can do".  

Also, news from the border as birders are given another opportunity to make their voices heard on the proposed border wall that will cut off several great birding locations. 

Thanks to our episode sponsor, Land, Sea, and Sky. Since 1940, the optics experts at Land Sea & Sky to purchase just the right pair of binoculars for their birding adventures. This shop has hundreds of binoculars and spotting scopes in stock, an industry-leading 90 day return policy, and experienced staff to lend you a helping hand.

Jul 26, 2018

When Birding editor Ted Floyd and host Nate Swick did their first Birding Without Tears episode a few weeks ago they were called to the carpet by the fact that we were only telling half of the story. Ted and Nate are both birding dads and our experiences are similar but not exactly like, those of birding moms, and there's no better time to revisit this topic than during our Nesting Season Appeal anyway! To help tell the rest of the story, Nate is joined by Seattle-based writer Bryony Angell, who draws on her experience as a birding mom and her past as a birding kid to offer insight into a topic that many birders deal with at some point--"how do I get my kids to go birding and all of us have a good experience?"

Also, birding in the news! Recent articles in the New York Times and Outside Magazine cast birding in a positive light.

A listener asks for advice for a new birder. Can we help him out! Send us tips you wish you knew when you started at The ABA Blog, on Twitter or Facebook

Thanks to episode sponsor, the Partnership for International Birding, combining 200 scheduled tours to destinations around the world with unmatched support for local bird conservation.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

 

 

Jul 12, 2018

Hawk-watchers are easily the most established sub-groups within th birding community, and the hawk-watching community in North America is close-knit and passionate. One of its undisputed authorities is Jerry Liguori of Salt Lake City, Utah, the author of Hawks at a Distance and Hawks from Every Angle and the co-author of many more. He is the 2017 recipient of the ABA’s Robert Ridgway Award for publications in field ornithology and his articles have appeared many times in ABA’s Birding magazine. Jerry joins host Nate Swick to talk about the magic of watching hawks, his diagnosis with ALS, and what birders need to know about hawk-watching. 

Thanks to our episode sponsor, Land, Sea, and Sky. Since 1940, the optics experts at Land Sea & Sky to purchase just the right pair of binoculars for their birding adventures. This shop has hundreds of binoculars and spotting scopes in stock, an industry-leading 90 day return policy, and experienced staff to lend you a helping hand.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Jun 28, 2018

For decades, the ABA Big Year has been a man's game, but in the last few years that has changed, with more women than ever tackling the grueling endeavor in a number of creative and personally enriching ways. This year's Biggest Week in American Birding featured a panel discussion that included five women who have taken on Big Years: Laura Keene of Ohio, who did an ABA Big Year in 2016 which, along with three other birders, broke the previous record and set a new standard for a photographic Big Year, Lynn Barber of Alaska, who was the first woman to crack 700 species in a year, Laura Erickson of Minnesota, who did a Lower 48 Conservation Big Year in 2013, Nancy McAllister from Maryland who did a "Mom’s Big Year" in 2016, and, of course, Yve Morrell of Florida, she of the most recent Big Year in 2017.

Thanks to Kim Kaufman of The Biggest Week in American Birding for allowing us to produce this panel as a podcast, and thanks to our episode sponsor, the Hawai'i Festival of Birds held this September on the big island. 

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Jun 14, 2018

Another year, another trip around the world of bird taxonomy courtesy of the American Ornithological Society’s classification committee. That group of bird scientists informs the field guides and lists we birders use every day and they are once again making those decisions presently. As we have before, we lean again on Dr. Nick Block, professor of Biology at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts and Secretary of the ABA’s Recording Standards and Ethics Committee, He joins host Nate Swick to help break down some of 2018’s taxonomy proposals up for consideration by the AOS. 

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

May 31, 2018

If you’re a naturalist or a nature lover on social media chances are you have come across Bird & Moon, an exceptionally fun series of webcomics filled with colorful and endearing and accurate nature themes. Bird & Moon is the creation of New England-based artist and writer Rosemary Mosco. Her new book, Birding is my Favorite Video Game, is a collection of many of her most viral creations and a lot more. Rosemary joins host Nate Swick to talk birds, video games, science communication, and the fun of gross-out science. 

Also, a watershed moment in the history of birds in media, and the yanny-laurel theory of bird mnemonics.

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

 

 

 

May 17, 2018

It's natural for birding parents to want to share their passion with their children. Birding with kids often brings additional complications, but also additional pleasures, and opportunities to appreciate birding in different and delightful ways. Both Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd and host Nate Swick are veterans of birding with children, with a few decades of experience between them, and they lay out the struggles and strategies of taking kids into the field for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, mentors, or anyone else who wants to introduce birding to the young people in their lives.

Also, what happens when birders teach a weatherman about Doppler Radar.

Interested in joining the ABA in Thailand next year? Get more information here!

You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

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