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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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Now displaying: Category: natural sciences
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!

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!

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