It's taxonomy time again, bird nerds! The 2019 proposals to the American Ornithological Society's Classification Committee are chock full of splits, name changes, and a couple proposals that may or may not set some interesting precedents in the way we interact with bird common names. 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, to break it all down. He joins me to talk about some of those 2019’s taxonomy proposals and what they might mean for birders in the US and Canada.
Thanks to Caligo Ventures for sponsoring this episode. Caligo is North America's one and only representative for Trinidad's famous Asa Wright Nature Center. Get your birding vacation started by going to caligo.com or call 800.426.7781.
What do birding and board games have in common? More than you’d expect! Birder and game designer Elizabeth Hargrave has made it a mission to bring these two things together and her bird-themed game Wingspan, released earlier this year to great reviews, does just that.
Wingspan has been covered by the New York Times, Smithsonian, and Science magazine among other places and has managed to elicit interest at a time when enthusiasm among the general public for both birding and board games are at an all-time high. She joins host Nate Swick to talk about both.
Also, Birding editor Ted Floyd shares some thoughts about an extraordinary Western Tanager phenomenon.
Thanks to Zeiss Sports Optics for sponsoring this episode of the American Birding Podcast.
The ABA's 50th Anniversary and The Biggest Week's 10th Anniversary coincide this year and it's a great time to celebrate both stalwarts of the birding community. We threw a bird party and recorded the very first LIVE episode of the American Birding Podcast featuring special guests, live music, and more! We're excited to share it all with those who couldn't be with us that evening.
Special thanks to Jason Guerard from Black Swamp Bird Observatory, Wendy Clark and David Mosher for the amazing music, and panelists Jordan Rutter of the American Bird Conservancy, Eliana Ardila Ardila from Birding By Bus, and field guide author David Sibley. We had an amazing time discussion the past and future of birding and the ABA.
Thanks to L.L. Bean and the L.L. Bean Birding Festival for sponsoring this episode. The L.L. Bean Birding Festival is held May 24-26, 2019, in Freeport, Maine.
Kenn Kaufman is one of America's best known birders, and he has done just about everything a person can do in the birding world. He's a guide, an artist, an incredibly skilled birder, and an author of several books, the latest of which is called A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration. Kenn's new book is a love letter to northwest Ohio, a compelling story about the phenomenon of migration, and a call for action to protect these extraordinary birds and these important places. He joins Nate Swick to talk about the book and all things spring.
Also, why you should be leading bird walks (seriously), dipping tales from Florida, and a big podcast event at the Biggest Week!
Interested in our West Virginia Adult Birder Camp? Get more information here!
Thanks to Zeiss Sports Optics for sponsoring this episode and their continuing support of the ABA's Young Birder Programs.
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!
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.
Thanks to the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival for their support of the American Birding Podcast.
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 Birders, as 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!
Thanks to the Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival for their support of the American Birding Podcast.
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.
Thanks to Zeiss Sports Optics for sponsoring this episode of the American Birding Podcast!
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.
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.
Also, a eulogy for a Great Black Hawk. The song by Troy R. Bennett that plays at the end can be found here.
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!
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?