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The 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 Thursday for news and happenings, recent rarities, guests from around the birding world, and features of interest to every birder.
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The American Birding Podcast
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Jan 26, 2023

We have reached the end of the first month of 2023 and it is once again time for This Month in Birding on The American Birding Podcast. For this panel we welcome a fascinating group of birders to geek out a little about birds. Martha Harbison, Dexter Patterson, and Jordan Rutter join us to talk about molt terminology, shushers, bright white woodcock tails and more. 

Links to topics discussed in this podcast:

WhatsApp-ened to bird news?

Moult terminology. Let’s make it simpler!

‘Astonishing’ snowy owl spotted in Southern California neighborhood

Eurasian Woodcock has the brightest feathers ever measured

A lyrebird at Taronga Zoo has been mimicking the "evacuate now" alarm 

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

Jan 19, 2023

Birding magazine editor and all-around bird-knower Ted Floyd is back for another bout of Random Birds. He joins host Nate Swick, a big bird list, and a random number generator to create podcast magic. This session includes a number of holarctic species, a pair of warblers and one of Ted’s 10 favorite bird species. Well, maybe… 

Plus, some thoughts and the most gull rich metro in the ABA Area. 

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

Jan 12, 2023

Much of North America is gripped in the depths of winter. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s frequently unpleasant. But for those that push through, the birding can be oh so rewarding. This is especially true in places where the winter hits hardest. Diehard Minnesota birder Erik Bruhnke is guide for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours and a stalwart at birding festivals. He joins Nate to talk about winter birding, leading bird tours and cool bird facts. 

Also, Nate talks Costa Rica birding and a frustrating anti-feeder law. 

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

Jan 5, 2023

Happy New Year List! It's finally time to celebrate our 2023 Bird of the Year, the Belted Kingfisher! And to help jumpstart a year of kingfisher content, we're excited to welcome this year's artist, Liz Clayton Fuller. Host Nate Swick chatted with Liz about kingfishers, her 2023 cover art "Queenfisher", and her work streaming art on Twitch. I think you'll agree that she is a delight. 

Also, Nate shares his first Belted Kingfisher experience and invites listeners to send theirs to podcast@aba.org

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

Dec 22, 2022

Thanks to all our listeners and supporters for another exceptional year. To wrap up 2022, we welcome back some insightful and entertaining birder friends to the last This Month in Birding for the year. We're joined by Popular Science's Purbita Saha, science writer Ryan Mandelbaum, and The Birdist, Nick Lund to talk about the biggest birding trends of 2022 and our best birding experiences of the year. 

Links to article discussed in this episode:

New Shazam for Birds will Identify that Chipping For You

Female Blue Tits Sing Frequently

Old Bones Suggest Presence of Thick-billed Parrots in the Southwest

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

Dec 15, 2022

ABA staffers Katinka Domen and Ted Floyd recently accompanied an ABA excursion to the land of penguins and albatrosses. They join host Nate Swick to talk about what it's like to visit the southernmost continent on Earth, and what ecotourism looks like in this unique place. 

Also, the ABA Bird of the Year 2023 is Belted Kingfisher!

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

Dec 8, 2022

It is time once more for the most anticipated Birding Book Club of the year, our annual Best Bird Books of the Year episode for 2022. With the holiday gift-giving season is right around the corner there's no better time to give the gift of bird books to the birder in your life. Or yourself, we don't judge. We are joined by 10,000 Birds book reviewer Donna Schulman and Birding magazine editor Frank Izaguirre to talk about what we loved this year in bird books.

For a full list of the books discussed, please see the ABA Podcast website. 

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

Dec 1, 2022

One of the issues that the birding community has been reckoning with for the last several years is 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, a recent MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, and his memoir, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair With Nature was published in 2017. In this encore episode from 2018, 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, a small adjustment in our winter finch expectations.

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

Nov 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating! How about a fun bird discussion to go along with our one and only bird-related holiday? Nate Swick is joined by Bird Sh*t's Mo Stych, aeroecologist Mikko Jimenez, and the ABA's own Greg Neise to talk about eBird status and trends, hybrid chickadees, bird rediscoveries, and our avian zodiac signs. 

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

Smartphone-based Study Reveals Mental Health Benefits of Birding

Evaluating crowdsourced data to Quantify Inequitable Access to Urban Biodiversity. 

Hybrid Birds in Human-altered Landscapes

Researchers Rediscover the Black-naped Pheasant-Pigeon

What is Your Birth Month Bird?

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Nov 17, 2022

The ABA is gearing up to announce its 2023 Bird of the Year but we’re not ready to say good-bye to the year of the Burrowing Owl just yet. With that in mind, we welcome Colleen Wisinski and Susanne Marczak of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Burrowing Owl Recovery Program to talk about their efforts to protect the local population of Burrowing Owls and what they’ve learned about the species in doing so.

Also, Nate is back from a great Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.

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

Nov 10, 2022

A warmer and drier world means, unfortunately, a world in which wildfire becomes a greater risk. We know, all too well, the risk these fires pose to wild places, but there is surprisingly little we know about the risk to wildlife. That is the work of Dr. Olivia Sanderfoot, a researcher at UCLA looking at the impacts of wildfire smoke on wild birds and trying to answer a few of those increasingly relevant questions.

Also, a new bird endurance record!

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

Nov 3, 2022

If the English language is an amalgamation of words from thousands of other languages and cultures, then English common bird names are that writ small. They're a hodgepodge of from every possible source and an endless supply of amazing bird history and trivia. WINGS guide Susan Myers's new work, called The Bird Name Book, is a fascinating combination of etymology and ornithology, and she joins us to talk about it. 

Also, a really cool new study about convergent evolution

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

Oct 27, 2022

It's the end of October and time for our monthly This Month in Birding panel. This week features a fun crew with MD/DC Bird Atlas coordinator Gabriel FoleyBirding magazine editor Frank Izaguirre, and Sarah Swanson, author of the new Best Little Book of Birds: Oregon CoastThe panel geeks out over woodpecker brains, commiserates over the sobering State of the Birds, and suggests exciting bird costume ideas for Halloween, among other things. 

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

2022 State of the Birds Reveals Widespread Losses of Birds in all Habitats

Never Before Seen Colorful Bird Hybrid Surprises Scientists

Even a Small Amount of Spilled Oil Damages Seabird Feathers

Woodpecker Brains Process Their Own Tree-Drumming as if its Birdsong

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

Oct 20, 2022

Every spring, thousands of Red Knots congregate on the Delaware Bay to take advantage of the horseshoe crab spawn. Fueled by crab eggs they finish a migration that spans from the southern tip of South America to the northern reaches of North America. That essential link in this migratory chain is, once again, under threat, which concerns the environmental law group Earthjustice and partners. Tim Preso of the Biodiversity Defense Program is here to talk about what birders need to know about this new threat. 

Also, check out the new ABA Community!

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

Oct 13, 2022

Baby birds are arguably one of the great identification frontiers of birding. Try to identify a gangly, fluffy mess of a bird and you immediately recognize the need for a real resource to help you out. Artist and bird rehabilitator Linda Tuttle-Adams is the author of a new book, Baby Bird Iidentification: A North American Guide, to set us right. She joins the American Birding Podcast to talk about identification of baby birds and why bird rehabilitation matters. 

Also, the winter finch report is out!

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

Oct 6, 2022

We’re certainly in the golden age of bird science, with more birders, more researchers, and more tools available to both of them to solve many of the great ornithological mysteries and to marvel at the capabilities of birds. National Audubon and a few bird science partners have put a lot of this modern science in a sleek simple package called the Bird Migration Explorer, a guide to the annual journeys of 450 birds in the Americas. Audubon scientists Melanie Smith and Chad Witko join us to talk the explorer and the wonders of bird migration. 

Plus, a Duck Stamp art winner with a familiar name

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

Sep 29, 2022

It's time for This Month in Birding with Jody Allair, Jennie Duberstein, and Sean Milnes. The panel joins host Nate Swick to talk about the biggest bird news of the month with a wide-ranging discussion that covers a last gasp for the 'Akikiki, how vultures reduce carbon emissions, the state of the exotic bird trade and the answer to the question birders know all too well, "What's your favorite bird?"

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

Important Changes to Exotic Birds in eBird

'Akikiki Rescued Amidst Extinction Crisis

Vultures Prevent Tens of Millions of Carbon Emissions Every Year

Could Songbirds Be Traded to Extinction?

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

Thanks to Visit Tallahassee for sponsoring this episode!

Sep 22, 2022

There is nothing like birding the American tropics, among iconic families like toucans, motmots, antbirds, tanagers, and more! Both Birding editor Ted Floyd and podcast host Nate Swick were fortunate enough to take part in this birding splendor in recent weeks, Ted in Colombia and Nate in Panama, and they share their experiences through their eBird checklists in another edition of the “eBird Annotated” series.

Links to the checklists discussed:

Valle Bonito, Panama

Finca Candalaria, Panama

Playa Rico, Colombia

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

Sep 15, 2022

Several years ago, birding dads Ted Floyd and Nate Swick recorded their first Birding Without Tears episode, but they told only half the story. What about birding moms?? To help tell the rest of the story, I’m 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, Nate talks Panama. Wanna travel with the ABA? Check out our 2023 lineup.

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

Sep 8, 2022

ABA Birders overlook Mexican birding at their own peril. The nation just to the south of the ABA Area hosts amazing culture, friendly people, and fantastic birds. Guest host Frank Izaguirre welcomes Mexican birder, artist, and photographer Jesús Antonio "Chucho" Moo Yam, who brings tales of birding adventure and community involvement, and reports on the the growth of ecotourism in Mexico.  

Also, check out the new Codebreakers feature in Birding magazine!

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

Sep 1, 2022

The first week of September is the official start of fall, meteorologically at least, though ornithologically it’s been on for weeks. It’s a wonderful season for birding and general naturing, but it does require a certain mindset and certain strategies. Who better, then, to talk about it than two legends of the fall, Greg Neise and Amy Davis. They join host Nate Swick to talk about what to expect as birds start moving south. 

Also, we're hosting our 2023 Bird of the Year party in Nashville, Tennessee! More information to come. 

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

Aug 25, 2022

At the end of every month, we host a roundup of recent bird news on the American Birding Podcast. For August we’re thrilled to welcome Stephanie Beilke, Jordan Rutter, and Brodie Cass Talbott to the panel to talk about homogenization of bird species, bird habitats in urban landscapes, wild Rock Pigeons, and how birding has changed in our lifetimes. 

Link to articles discussed in this episode:

As more bird species go extinct, those left may be more alike

The strange reason migrating birds are flocking to cities

Rare wild ancestors of domestic pigeon found on Scottish islands

Here’s How Drastically Birding Has Changed Over the Past 50 Years

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

Aug 18, 2022

One of the most iconic and beloved birds of the North American west is the Clark’s Nutcracker, the highlight of anyone’s trip to the high country. It will come as no surprise to anyone that the bird’s relationship to the ecosystem goes beyond begging for trail mix from hikers, a fascinating symbiosis that was recently the topic of Glacier National Park’s Headwaters podcast, whose host, Peri Sasnett, joins us to talk nutcrackers and conservation.

Also, changes to the ABA Checklist are here, with more potentially on the way. 

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

Aug 11, 2022

Earlier this year the ABA was delighted to award our Lifetime Achievement Award to a pair of birders who have made a very big impact not only on the places where they live, but on the birding community across the continent. J. Drew Lanham is a birder, poet, academic, award-winning memoirist, and JB Brunfield is an environmental educator, artist, and the undefeated Big Year champion of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. We welcome them both to talk about the state of birding, mentorship, and whether Ohio or South Carolina are better for birds. 

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

Aug 4, 2022

Close observers of the ABA might remember when we launched a new publication completely produced by a team of teen birders from all over the ABA Area. It's called The Fledglingand after two issues it is well on its way to being something special. Hannes Leonard and Adrianna Nelson and members of The Fledgling team and they join Nate Swick to talk about this publication and the needs of young birder more generally.

Also, why do field guides to the US and Canada call themselves field guides to "North America"?

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

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