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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American Birding Podcast



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Jun 1, 2017

Mike Parr is the new president of the American Bird Conservancy, one of the premier bird conservation organizations in the Americas. ABC has done a great deal of work supporting bird conservation initiatives in Hawaii, the archipelago often referred to as the "Bird Extinction Capital of the World". Mike joins host Nate Swick to talk about ABC's projects, what birders and the ABA can do to help support these efforts, and why he believes that there is absolutely reason to hope that Hawaiian birds can recover.

Also, Hawaii birder Lance Tanino joins Nate to talk about just how you are supposed to pronounce the names of those native Hawaiian birds.

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!

May 18, 2017

The ABA was once again excited to have a presence at The Biggest Week in American Birding in northwest Ohio in 2017. At this year's festival, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt editor Lisa White and ABA President Jeffrey Gordon hosted a keynote panel featuring contributors to the new book Good Birders Still Don't Wear White. Hear highlights from that engaging discussion featuring host Nate Swick, artist Catherine Hamilton, author and recordist Tom Stephenson, editor Chuck Hagner, Big Year birder Greg Miller, and Panamanian bird guide Carlos Bethancourt as they discuss what it is about birding that they find most fascinating.  

Thanks to Samson Technologies for providing support for this podcast!

May 4, 2017

Bird Studies Canada is the premier bird conservation organization in Canada, and their annual Great Canadian Birdathon is a the world's oldest sponsored bird race. It's a great way for Canadian birders to support conservation work across the country. Researcher and educator Jody Allair of Bird Studies Canada joins Nate Swick to talk about BSC and the Great Canadian Birdathon, and the conservation priorities in the northern part of the ABA Area.

Also, Nate heads out to search for a Yellow Rail in the marshes of North Carolina, and the ABA is heading to The Biggest Week in American Birding. We hope to see you there!

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

Apr 20, 2017

Every year, birders look forward to the check-list supplement from the American Ornithological Society (formerly the American Ornithologist's Union), and this year is no exception. In fact, 2017 offers a bounty of potential splits for your armchair ticks, as well as some very compelling lumps. In this episode, Nate Swick breaks down some of those taxonomic decision with Nick Block, professor of Biology at Stonehill College and member of the ABA's Recording Standards and Ethics Committee, talking Yellow-rumped Warblers, redpolls, willets and more!

And Greg Neise and Ted Floyd return with guest and gull expert Amar Ayyash to talk about one of the most fascinating proposals in this year's batch, the lump of Thayer's and Iceland Gulls. Clines and hybrid swarms are on the agenda!

Subscribe to the podcast at iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play, and please leave a review if you are so inclined! It definitely helps people find us.

Apr 6, 2017

The Biggest Week in American Birding is one of the biggest birding events on the calendar, and a wonderful opportunity for birders to make a difference while enjoying the best spring birding on the continent. Biggest Week creator Kim Kaufman joins Nate to talk about this year's event and the conservation ethos that inspired it.

Also, the ABA remembers Chandler Robbins, author of the Golden Guide, creator of the Breeding Bird Survey, and one of the most influential and beloved birders and ornithologists in North American birding history. Be sure to read Birding editor Ted Floyd's remembrance, and the interview with Chan published in 2014.

Thanks to Zeiss Sports Optics for supporting this episode. Their Spring Promotion ends on April 10, 2017!

Mar 23, 2017

Nathan Pieplow's new Field Guide is a departure from the traditional book of bird images. It depicts images of bird sounds as spectrograms, showcasing the diversity of vocalizations in North America. Nathan joins Nate Swick to talk about his new book, the Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America, and the need for birders to establish a common vocabulary for bird sounds.

Also Greg Neise and Ted Floyd check back in during the waning days of winter to talk snowbird diversity. Juncos are one of the most fascinating groups of birds on the continent and now is a great time to appreciate them.

Plus, the ABA is excited about the new book Good Birders Still Don't Wear WhiteJoin now and you could win a copy!

If you are interested in sponsoring an episode of this podcast, and reaching the thousands of birders who listen to is, please be in touch with John Lowry at

Mar 9, 2017

Bird-trapping and shooting are huge problems around the Mediterranean, which prompted Israeli birder Jonathan Meyrav to create the Champions of the Flyway, a 24 hour bird race in Eilat, Israel, that raises money and awareness to combat the threats to migratory birds in Europe and Africa. He joins host Nate Swick to talk about Champions, and the great work they they are helping to fund. 

Also, we talk about birding awards, from Piper's win at the Oscars, to ABA Awards and Young Birders of the Year, and John Lowry and ABA President Jeff Gordon discuss an innovative new product from Swarovski.

Thanks to Global Rescue, the ABA's official emergency evacuation provider, for sponsoring this episode

Feb 23, 2017

Master bird recordist Lang Elliott joins Nate Swick to talk about his new project, a sound-recording expedition to the western US.  Lang hopes to record in a wide variety of locations and habitats, and he's documenting his journey on his website, Music of Nature, and sharing his recordings in a new podcast he has launched.

Also, ABA president Jeff Gordon checks in, reporting from eastern Pennsylvania where a Black-backed Oriole has been attracting birders from all over to a nondescript neighborhood outside of Philadelphia full of people who had a front row seat to a real birding phenomenon.

Plus, owl baiting and recent Rare Bird news!

Thanks to Naturalist Journeys for sponsoring this episode!

Feb 9, 2017

With the ambitious and impressive Merlin app, Cornell Lab of Ornithology will identify your mystery bird photos! Project Manager Drew Weber joins Nate Swick to talk about how it works and what kind of applications this program has for every birder and birdwatcher.

Plus we discuss potential ornithological taxonomic changes coming down the pike, and Nate shares your Ruddy Turnstone stories as we continue to celebrate the 2017 Bird of the Year.

Thanks to Song Bird Coffee for sponsoring this episode! Song Bird Coffee is the gold-standard for shade-grown, environmentally friendly coffee.

Jan 26, 2017

2016 was an exceptional year for ABA Area Big Year birders, with four individuals all breaking the record in one year! Nate Swick talks with all four - Christian Hagenlocher, Laura Keene, Olaf Danielson, and John Weigel - about their experiences and insights in a jam-packed episode.  Nate also has a conversation with previous record-holder Neil Hayward, whose book, Lost Among the Birds, was published in 2016.

Thanks to Naturalist Journeys for sponsoring this episode!

Jan 12, 2017

Welcome Ruddy Turnstone, 2017 ABA Bird of the Year! Nate Swick has a conversation with scientist, author, and 2017 BOY artist Sophie Webb ( whose image of Ruddy Turnstones will be featured on the cover of the February 2017 issue of Birding magazine. We discuss turnstones, art, and what she looks for in her role as a Young Birder of the Year judge.

We also want to hear your Ruddy Turnstone stories! One of the wonderful things about this bird is that you can find them when you're birding just about anywhere in the world, as Nate Swick recently discovered. He shares the story.

Share your Ruddy Turnstone stories with us! We'd love to hear them!

Dec 29, 2016

Merry Christmas Bird Count Season, and congratulations to Canada for their new national bird, Gray Jay, and the birdy headlines it spawned.

Then it's good-bye to 2016 with Scott Somershoe, a bird researcher with USFWS, who joins Nate Swick to talk about the work he does with the ABA's 2016 Bird of the Year Chestnut-collared Longspur and other prairie species.

Last, Greg Neise and Ted Floyd discuss identification of white-cheeked geese, and share tips that might help you on your next Christmas Bird Count.

Dec 14, 2016

Laura Kammermeier of Nature Travel Network joins us to talk about birding travel, what birders want when they head abroad, and how traveling for birds helps establish ecotourism and conservation initiatives around the world.

Nate Swick offers a commentary on a cool birding tourism initiative in Colombia.

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