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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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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!

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 jlowry@aba.org

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

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