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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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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!

May 3, 2018

The Champions of the Flyway is one the world's premiere birding events, a combination bird race/conservation fundraiser held annually in southern Israel that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help stop illegal bird poaching around the Mediterranean. While North American teams have participated in the event before, this was the first year that ABA helped sponsor a team, the ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears, consisting of college-aged birders who all have connections to ABA young birder programs: Johanna Beam, Marky Mutchler, and Aidan Place.

Host Nate Swick joins the wheatears as driver and documentarian and brings you in the car with the wheatears as they tackle Champions for the first time. 

Special thanks to Jonathan Meyrav and Leica's Jeff Bouton for their support in all matters, and to everyone who donated to help the Subadult Wheaters reach their conservation goals!

Interested in joining the ABA in Colombia 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 Podcasts, Stitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Apr 19, 2018

Spring is right around the corner. And if you're going to be birding, you might as well be eBirding. You should definitely be eBirding on May 5th, eBird’s annual Global Big Day. Last year birders recorded more than 6600 species from 160 different countries on one day. eBird’s Project Coordinator Ian Davies joins host Nate Swick to talk about the Global Big Day initiative.

Also, radar ornithologist Kyle Horton talks about Cornell’s Birdcast project, which recently launched live migration maps, an amazing tool to help birders maximize their opportunities to see great birds this spring. 

Nate is back in the driver's seat to talk about warbler obsession, Florida birding, and birds at airports.

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

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

Apr 5, 2018

Few birders in North American have taken on the mantle of urban birding like Cleveland native Jen Brumfield. Her Cuyahoga County Big Years are the stuff of legend, not only for their high totals but for the passion she throws into birding her hometown and getting others excited about the birdlife and birding opportunities there. Guest host and Chicago native Greg Neise who has his own long history birding in urban areas, steps in for Nate Swick to talk to Jen about her Big Years, her favorite local patches, and what she loves about birding in the city.

Birding editor Ted Floyd shares a commentary about his favorite urban bird.

Interested in joining the ABA in a trip to Thailand with Tropical Birding in 2019? Get more information here!

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

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

Mar 22, 2018

For birders interested in Status & Distribution, that is the wheres and whys of birding, the ABA’s quarterly journal, North American Birds, has always been a much anticipated part of the ornithological canon. After a year or so in stasis, North American Birds is back under the charge of editors Mike Hudson of Baltimore, Maryland, and Tom Reed of Cape May, New Jersey. The much-anticipated volume 70 came out earlier this year. Mike and Tom join me with me now for what I hope will be a seasonal thing on the podcast, to talk a little about North American Birds but mostly about the winter that just was in birding, covering crossbills, Nazca Boobies, Rufous-backed Robins, Tufted Ducks, and more.

Plus, have you visited a particularly nice airport for birding in your travels? By that I mean, one that isn't awful? I want to hear about it.

Last chance to help the ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears at Champions of the Flyway!

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

Thanks to Land, Sea, and Sky for sponsoring this episode of the American Birding Podcast. Land, Sea, and Sky offers great selection and unparalleled customer service for birders seeking the perfect optics.

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

Mar 8, 2018

Jim Carpenter opened the very first Wild Birds Unlimited store near his home in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1981. At the time it was one of very few bird specific retail outlets in the country, and since then, Wild Birds Unlimited has grown to include more than 300 stores across the US and Canada. His new book, The Joy of Birdfeeding, The Essential Guide to Attracting and Feeding our Backyard Birds, was published late last year. Jim joins host Nate Swick to talk about how Wild Birds Unlimited came to be, and what he thinks are the most important things people should know about feeding birds.

Also, Greg Neise and Ted Floyd are back to talk about the most magical sounds of spring, duck songs. Or rather, the things that ducks do that aren't quacks.

If you think the yellow Northern Cardinal was great, check out this yellow Scarlet Tanager! Come birding with yours truly in Cuba this fall!

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

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

Feb 22, 2018

In 2017, Florida birder Yve Morrell did what many of us dream of doing--she took an entire year off for birding all around the continent. Her 2017 Big Year ended in December with 813 (+4 provisional species), a total that will likely place her 3rd all time. Yve joins host Nate Swick to talk about her Big Year, including the strategy of including Hawaii, unexpected struggles, and reflections on a year spent among the birds and birders of the US and Canada.

Also, the ABA-Leica Subadult Wheatears are heading to the Champions of the Flyway competition in Israel next month to bird and raise money to support Birdlife International's efforts to stop illegal bird hunting and trapping around the Mediterranean. They talk about why they felt like this is an important issue, the responsibilities of young birders to the conservation movement, and what they are looking forward to. You can help them along the way by donating to Birdlife International in their name.

Also, Happy Great Backyard Bird Count and congratulations to the ABAs's 2018 Young Birders of the Year!

Thanks to Land, Sea, and Sky for sponsoring this episode of the American Birding Podcast. Land, Sea, and Sky offers great selection and unparalleled customer service for birders seeking the perfect optics.

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

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

Feb 8, 2018

One of the major birding trends of the 21st Century has been a move away from a sole interest in birds. This is facilitated by an ever increasing library of field guides to various taxa, smartphone apps that make it easier than ever to identify and catalog the things we see, and a general nature aesthetic that has become a bigger part of how we interact with the natural world. In this episode host Nate Swick welcomes two birders who have whole-heartedly thrown themselves into this new reality. Jody Allair is researcher and environmental educator with Bird Studies Canada at Long Point, Ontario, and Frank Izaguirre is a writer and naturalist, currently in Morgantown, West Virginia. His Tools of the Trade article, All the Wonders of the World: iNaturalist and Birding is featured in the latest issue of the ABA’s Birding magazine.

Jody and Frank share a ton of great resources for birders looking to expand their nature knowledge at The ABA Blog.

Also in this episode, opinions on the proposal to change the name of Gray Jay to Canada Jay. You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

 

Jan 25, 2018

It’s the time of year when Arctic birds are moving south into the populated parts of the continent, and citizen scientists are there to meet them, trap them, and use cutting edge technology to track their movements. It’s a testament to our interest in nomadic tundra birds that that could apply to a couple different projects, but this time around we are talking about Snow Buntings and the Canadian Snow Bunting Network. Dr. Emily McKinnon is a researcher at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and the administrator of this project, she talks with host Nate Swick about about the fascinating things they've discovered about these consummate winter birds.

Also mentioned in this episode, A Jonathan Franzen essay on the Year of the Bird from National Geographic and a New York Times essay on owl politics.

You can also help us out by filling out our advertising survey. Thanks in advance. And be sure to help support the ABA-Leica Young Birders Team participating in the Champions of the Flyway!

Thanks to episode sponsor, the Port Aransas Whooping Crane Festival on the Gulf Coast in Texas. Experience the last naturally-occurring population of North America’s largest bird at its traditional winter home.

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

Jan 11, 2018

When we chose Iiwi as the 2018 Bird of the Year, there was really only one person we could ask to do the artwork. H. Douglas Pratt is a bird artist, author, and researcher, currently based in Raleigh, North Carolina, whose work has been featured in the National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America, among other works, and he wrote wrote and illustrated The Field Guide to Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific. Doug spoke with host Nate Swick about the cover art he created for the February issue of Birding magazine, as well as what he's seen in his 50 years of working on the Hawaiian Islands with Hawaii's native birds. 

Also, new contributor Alain Clavette debuts on the podcast, with a field interview with Peter Gadd, a New Brunswick birder who, for the last few weeks, has hosted a very lost thrush.

Thanks to episode sponsor, the Port Aransas Whooping Crane Festival on the Gulf Coast in Texas. Experience the last naturally-occurring population of North America's largest bird at its traditional winter home.

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

Dec 28, 2017

It's Christmas Bird Count season, and in this episode of the American Birding Podcast we bring you past guests and ABA friends and staff sharing their own CBC stories. We have tales of found birds, of missed birds, of fun and fellowship and legacies involving this longest-running citizen science initiative in North America. Hear stories from host Nate Swick, Greg Neise, Jody Allair, Scott Somershoe, Noah Strycker, and Jeff and Liz Gordon. 

If you're still looking for a holiday gift for 2018, please check out a wonderful 2018 calendar from Rogue Birders, the proceeds of which go to help support the ABA's Young Birder Programs. And don't forget our ABA End of Year Appeal, going on right now!

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

 

Dec 14, 2017

What is in a bird common name? It’s a question that many of us might not think about immediately, but there’s a lot going on in those lists we are so familiar with. Capitalization, honorifics, patronyms, how names are assigned, how they’re changed. The names are an important part of how we interact with birds around us, though perhaps the least considered. Birding editor Ted Floyd joins host Nate Swick to talk about it in a wide-ranging discussion.

Also, it's Snowy Owl season, and that means not only opportunities to enjoy the spectacular birds but also inevitable conflicts. Check out Project SNOWstorm's Snowy Owl ettiquette and the ABA's Code of Birding Ethics.

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

Nov 30, 2017

We all love bird books and 2017 was a good year for them with a number of exciting titles seeing publication this year. As we reach the end of the year it's a good time to look back at the ones we loved, and 10,000 Birds book reviewer Donna Schulman joins host Nate Swick to talk about our favorites. Donna and Nate each share our Top 5, including field guides, family specific guides, and narratives from well-known authors and publishers. Find those lists here!

Also, the new ABA Checklist is out and it includes Hawaiian birds. Nate talks about why that's exciting and one, completely arbitrary reason why it's not.

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

Nov 16, 2017

Before 2015, a 365 day round the world Big Year had never been attempted. The playing field was intimidating, the perceived cost was daunting, and the logistics were demanding. But in 2015 Noah Strycker tossed all that aside, tackling an ambitious year of birding that took him to all 7 continents and saw him finish with a list of over 6,000 species - well more than half of the world’s species - and an amazing collection of experiences and stories. His recently published memoir detailing his exceptional year is called Birding without Borders: An Obsession, A Quest, and the Biggest Year in the World. In this episode, Noah joins host Nate Swick to talk about his big year, his book, and what he learned at the end of it all.

Also, Birding editor Ted Floyd and webmaster Greg Neise are back to talk about winter finches, specifically crossbills. This winter looks like it is going to be a good one for the fascinating little finches.

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

Nov 2, 2017

The 2017 Hurricane season was notable for the scale of the tropical storms involved and the destruction they caused not only where they made landfall in the United States, but also the islands in the Caribbean that they passed over. Alvaro Jaramillo of Alvaro’s Adventures joins host Nate Swick to talk about it. He's spent time on all these islands and has a lot of insight on the birds there and the unique conservation challenges they face in the wake of these storms.

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

Oct 19, 2017

When birders think about the Farm Bill they might be forgiven for thinking immediately about corn and soybeans. But the Farm Bill is more than an agricultural omnibus, it also funds projects that provide important habitat for more than 100 species of birds and is the largest source of funding for habitat conservation on private lands. Amanda Rodewald of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology joins host Nate Swick to talk about this most recent State of the Birds report, which features the Farm Bill, and all that it does for birds.

Also, ABA President Jeff Gordon responds to conversation about Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and what the "ABA Area" really means. You can find that conversation here, and the Birds Caribbean GoFundMe started by our friends at Wildside Nature Tour here. 

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

Oct 5, 2017

There is arguably no technological shift that has changed birding more in the last decade or so than the proliferation of cameras. Taking photos and sharing photos has become synonymous with birding for many and it’s hard to remember time now when that wasn’t the case. In this episode, host Nate Swick talks broadly about photography in the birding world with a couple American Birding Podcast regulars, webmaster Greg Neise and Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd. We discuss records committees, social media, and whether this change is good for birding on the whole.

Also, birds and bird conservationists in the Caribbean are hurting following the passage of two major hurricanes. Our friends at Wildside Nature Tours give you an opportunity to help.

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

Sep 21, 2017

There's more to a successful bird tour than just pointing out the birds, from logistics to managing personalities, a bird tour guide has to be part ornithologist and part psychologist. Rockjumper Birding's George Armistead has led bird tours on all seven continents and has a lot to say on the subject, and he joins host Nate Swick to talk tour tips, places he loves to take birders, and much more.

Also, the new Duck Stamp art for 2018 is out, but Nate argues that the subject leaves a little to be desired. Plus a whole host of rare birds on opposite ends of the continent.

Resources referenced in this episode include The ABA Blog Hurricane Irma round-up.

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

Sep 7, 2017

Later this month, birders and tour operators from across the globe will converge on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the 3rd American Birding Expo. This "World of Birding in One Place" is the brainchild of Bill Thompson III, editor of Birdwatcher's Digest, author, podcaster, and pied piper of the North American birding community. Bill joins host Nate Swick to talk about the upcoming expo, the bird festival landscape in North America, and what birders attending the event can expect, up to and including zombies (not kidding).

Plus, Nate talks birding big storms and the hurricane paradox, and Birding editor Ted Floyd shares a commentary about the magic of birding in the mundaneness of normal life.

Resources referenced in this episode include Houston Audubon and Ted Floyd's essay on The ABA Blog.

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

Aug 24, 2017

Rails are a mysterious and enigmatic family, often requiring and rewarding effort. Researcher Auriel Fournier knows that more than most, and her work with rails in Missouri has shed some light on how these birds migrate and how they use the landscape when they do. Auriel joins me to talk Rallidae and STEM outreach for women.

Also, Greg Neise and Birding editor Ted Floyd are back to discuss the much-maligned House Sparrow. Or, at least, to discuss their remarkable molt.

Some other things mentioned in this episode include ABA President Jeff Gordon's Facebook Live posts from the Protect Santa Ana Protest March, and the Dead Birds Facebook group.

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

Aug 10, 2017

The 2017 American Ornithological Society Check-list Supplement was notable for the taxonomic decisions that were not made as much as those that were. Yellow-rumped Warbler and Willet were not split, but Cassia Crossbill was. We also saw the unprecedented lump of Thayer's Gull into the holarctic Iceland Gull. Biologist Nick Block returns along with Birder's Guide editor Michael Retter to discuss the changes made and the AOS's process.

Also, we hear from Laura Erickson, author of the new ABA Field Guide to Birds of Minnesota, about writing the book and some of her favorite experiences birding in that part of the world. And Nate has a little something to say about the rise of millennial birders via this Maclean's article

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

Jul 27, 2017

A changing climate means a different world for many bird species, particularly seabirds which may find themselves exploring new paths over the top of a melting Arctic. Ocean Researcher Seabird McKeon joins host Nate Swick to talk about one part of the massive global experiment we inadvertently find ourselves in, and what it could mean for birders in either ocean.

Also, Nate discusses the troubling news about a the plans for a border wall on Santa Ana NWR in south Texas. Birders have an opportunity to make their voices heard on this issue, and the ABA provides some guidance. We've also love to hear your #MySantaAna stories, tell us about your experiences in this special place

Thanks to Global Rescue for supporting this episode of American Birding Podcast. Global Rescue is the ABA's official emergency medial and evacuation provider. When ABA members purchase a Global Rescue membership, a portion of the proceeds go to support ABA conservation and community programs.

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

Jul 13, 2017

Birders have always been great at taking advantage of technological tools to pass on birding information. The birding community has made especially good use of Facebook, and the internet giant has taken note. The ABA was received as a guest at the 1st Facebook Communities Summit to talk about two of our more vibrant groups, ABA Rare Bird Alert and What's This Bird. Jeff Gordon, Greg Neise, and Liz Gordon join host Nate Swick to talk about their experiences, and why it is that birders are so adept at social media.

And be sure to read Jeff's post on The ABA Blog about his experience, it was really cool that birders and the birding community played such a large role in the event.

Nate talks briefly about the recent split and lump news, you can read Birder's Guide editor Michael Retter's comprehensive run down of all the taxonomic changes.

Thanks again to Rockjumper Worldwide Birding Tours for sponsoring this episode and ABA Events, and to Samson Technologies for providing equipment used on the podcast.

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

 

Jun 29, 2017

In demand actor, 7 time winner of the Teen Choice Award, and avid birder?

Ian Harding is best known for his work on the Freeform network's teen-drama Pretty Little Liars, but in his new memoir Odd Birds he talks about how birds and birding have provided him with opportunities to find peace and focus in a life in the public eye. Ian joins me to share some stories from his new book and thoughts on what it could mean for birding to have such a high-profile advocate. I think listeners are really going to enjoy this one.

Don’t forget to help support young birders through the ABA’s Nesting Season Appeal!

Thanks to Samson Technologies for providing support for this podcast!

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

Jun 15, 2017

The ABA has a long history of supporting young birders through our Young Birder of the Year competitions and the young birder camps in Colorado and Delaware, programs that have had real positive impacts on the young people who participate in them. Host Nate Swick talks with four young birders--Cayenne Sweeney, Bailey Eichhorn, Diego Blanco and Johanna Beam--about their experiences. They share what it means to participate in these programs, and what the birding community can do to support them.

Also, Nate wraps up his, er, interesting spring.

Thanks to Rockjumper Birding Tours for supporting the podcast!

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

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