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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 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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May 12, 2022

Maybe more than anyone in North America in the last 20 years, Brian Sullivan has been deeply involved in things that birders do. He was one of the original developers of eBird, which hardly needs an introduction to listeners, and is now project lead of Cornell’s Birds of the World. In the last couple years Birds of the World has absolutely become an essential collection of bird knowledge which is all the more amazing considering the scope of the project. 

Also, Merlin's Sound ID is better than you think. 


May 5, 2022

Friend of the ABA Nick Lund has had a busy spring! He not only published his first book, but his first two books. The ABA Guide to Birds of Maine is the newest installment in the well-regarded ABA guide series from Scott & Nix, and The Ultimate Biography of Earth seeks to reach science fans of all ages with its fun text and colorful illustrations. Nick joins Nate Swick to talk about them both and whatever else they get to. 

Also, turns out Nate had Covid, and he does not recommend getting it during spring migration.

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!

Apr 28, 2022

It’s the last Thursday of the month and that means it is time for the American Birding Podcast This Month in Birding panel where we talk some bird news, share some sightings, and generally have a good time. We welcome to the panel this month Portland Audubon's Brodie Cass Talbott, the American Bird Conservancy's Jordan Rutter, and Birds Canada, Jody Allair.  

Also, wanna travel to Panama with Nate? 

Topic's discussed on this month's episode:

Can birds keep up with earlier springs?

Shakespearian Tall Tale Shaped how we see Starlings

Discovering New Species by Listening for Them

Multiple Lines of Evidence Indicate Survival of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Louisiana. 

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!

 

 

Apr 21, 2022

The incredible variety of bird song in a morning chorus on a spring or summer day is a phenomenon that a lot of birders are familiar with. But even after centuries of study there is still a lot we don’t know about bird vocalizations, especially the world of female birdsong. The vocalizations of female birds are frequently as complex and important to the lives of birds as the songs we associate with male birds, and it’s only relatively recently that we’ve begin to really look into that. Dr. Lauryn Benedict, from the University of Northern Colorado, has been on the cutting edge of this science and she joins host Nate Swick to talk about bird vocalizations and other aspects of female bird biology.

Also, American Ornithological Society taxonomy proposals are out, and Nate hits some of the highlights. 

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Apr 14, 2022

As interest in birding has grown in the last couple years, birders have turned up in some really interesting places, including the streaming platform Twitch. Dr WD40, Liz Clayton Fuller, and Ian Davies are birders who have figured out this live streaming thing and are using it to build a community of bird and nature fans in a seemingly unconventional place, and they join host Nate Swick to talk all about it. 

Plus, if you want prairie-chickens, you've got to get to Kansas

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Apr 7, 2022

Birding editor Ted Floyd is back and ready to remember some birds! He joins host Nate Swick to put their fates in the hands of chance and a random number generator to find some birds to talk about woodpeckers, wrens, and warblers. 

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Mar 31, 2022

It's time again for This Month in Birding! While March is arguably the slowest month of the year for birding in the ABA Area, we haven't given the short shrift with this excellent panel of returnees. From Sonoran Join Venture, Jennie Duberstein, from Birds Canada and The Warblers podcast, it's Andrés Jimenez, and from Birdmodo and a thousand other fun sciency things, it's Ryan Mandelbaum. They join host Nate Swick to talk indigenous science, hardcore eBirders, crafty magpies and Daylight Savings Time. 

Links to topics discussed:

US Senate Passes Bill to make Daylight Savings Time Permanent

Indigenous Conservationists track Vanishing Birdsong

Highly Specialized Recreationists Contribute the Most to eBird

Australian Magpies Remove Tracking Devices

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Mar 24, 2022

Forrest Rowland advocates for ecotourism around the world as a tour leader for Rockjumper and for ecotourism close to home with Landtrust, an effort to connect landowners in the west and outdoor recreationists in some pretty interesting ways. Birders get access to private ranches full of amazing birds and wildlife and landowners get to put their properties to work in an environmentally sustainable way. It's a win-win-win for birders, landowners, and the birds they are working to protect. He joins Nate Swick to talk about how it works and why people need more places to enjoy outdoor recreation in an increasingly crowded west. 

Plus, it's March Madness and bird teams are succeeding on the court, if not in their logos. 

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Mar 17, 2022

In many many parts of the country, and the world, the most accessible greenspaces are cemeteries. And while they have a morbid reputation, they can offer lots of great nature opportunities for those willing to explore. Danielle Belleny is a wildlife biologist in San Antonio, Texas, a co-founder of Black Birders Week, and the author of the essay Lawn of the Dead: Finding Solace, Ecological Integrity, and Good Birding in America’s Cemeteries, which will run in the next issue of Birding magazine. Her new book This is a Book for People who Love Birds is also due out next month. Also, some good new for a lovely birding site in South Texas.

Also, you can find lots of ABA folks at festivals this spring, including Nate at the Kansas Lek Treks prairie-chicken festival in April!

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Mar 10, 2022

The birding world was shocked and more than a little saddened late last year when the venerable magazine Bird Watcher’s Digest announced that it was ceasing operations. Famously founded by Elsa Thompson and Bill Thompson Jr in 1978 it was a real tent pole of the birding community in North America. But the exciting news is that the magazine will be back in 2022, rechristened as BWD and with many of the same people involved. Jessica Vaughn will be the editor and Mike Sacopulos the publisher. They join us to talk about the magazine relaunch and continuing the legacy of Bill Thompson III.

Plus, what being at 99 birds does to you.

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Mar 3, 2022

If a bird calls in a forest, or a swamp, or a grassland, and no birder is there to hear it, did that vocalization really happen? The birds sounds we miss contain so much information about bird behavior and populations, wouldn’t it be useful if we could hear those sounds surreptitiously. That’s the work of Tessa Rhinehart, a researcher, birder, and mathematician at the University of Pittsburgh who trains computers to identify birds for science and conservation. 

Also, birders in Nova Scotia get a car company to overhaul their commercial

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!

 

Feb 24, 2022

It’s the last week of the month and that means it’s time for This Month in Birding. And while February is the shortest month, we do not give you the short shrift with our panel this month. We're joined by Sam D'Jarnett from Always Be Birdin', Orietta Estrada from Amplify the Future, and podcast regular Frank Izaguirre of Birding magazine to talk about murmuration dangers, Rare Bird Alerts pros and cons, and a Black Birders Week temperature check among other things. 

Links to topics discussed:

Birds Fall From the Sky in Mexico

Lead Bullets Stunt Bald Eagle Recovery

Where Have the Rare Bird Alerts Gone?

Conspiracy Theorists Cause Texas Butterfly and Birding Site to Close

Amplify the Future Birders Scholarship Fund

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!

Feb 17, 2022

There is no question that climate change is having an impact on bird populations, but dig a little deeper and you find a tangled web of changing weather patterns, land use, habitat loss, and the different needs of individual species and groups of species that make coming up with management practices a real challenge. But birds, more than most other taxa, have the benefit of decades of data from both professional and community scientists perhaps best exemplified by the Christmas Bird Count. Dr. Sarah Saunders and Geoff LeBaron are authors of a paper published last month in the journal Global Change Biology, on the effects of climate change on bird populations using nearly a century of Christmas Bird Count data collected by birders like you. 

Also, birding makes the Super Bowl. Sort of

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Feb 10, 2022

We have seen, in recent years, an increased awareness of the need to make birding welcoming, inclusive, and accessible. There are many many avenues to making a reality. Birdability is an organization that seeks to do so for people with a wide range of disabilities, from mobility challenges to chronic illness to neurodivergence. My guests are Virginia Rose, the president and founder of Birdability and Freya McGregor, Birdability’s coordinator.

Also, if not Burrowing Owl, perhaps Manuring Owl?

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Feb 3, 2022

We might be well into 2022, but it’s not too late to look back at the previous year in bird and birding phenomena. While the year started slowly, it built into an exceptional one for rare birds, with amazing individuals and stories that captivated birders across the ABA Area. To talk about it we're joined by Amy Davis, associate editor of the ABA's North American Birds journal and Tom Johnson of the ABA Checklist Committee

Also, have you been playing Brdl?

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Jan 27, 2022

It’s the last week of the first month of 2022, and time again for This Month of Birding. One of our panelists Brooke Bateman was scheduled to be with us but unfortunately came down with COVID, and we hope that she is on the mend soon. In her place steps the ABA's Greg Neise, who joins a panel of scientists Mikko Jimenez and Joanna Wu to chat about Ivory-billed Woodpeckers, bird migration science, and how we intend to celebrate Gullentine's Day. 

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

USFWS re-opens comment period on Ivory-billed Woodpecker extinction

Landmark Colombian Study Repeated to Right Colonial-Era Wrongs

Loss of Defaunation on Plants' Capacity to Track Climate Change

Seabird Telemetry Study Reveals Surprisingly Diverse Migratory Routes

Snowy Owls Aren't Really Starving

Gull Foraging Strategies in Urban Environments

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Jan 20, 2022

Texas birder Tiffany Kersten did not start 2021 with an ambitious year of birding in mind. But out of a job because of Covid closures, and with other hobbies unaccessible, the opportunity opened up to do something special. At the end of the year, she had traveled across the Lower 48 US states, raised awareness on the issue of women’s safety in the outdoors, set a new Lower 48 Big Year record of 726 species, and launched her own bird tourism business. She joins us to talk about her Big Year and her bigger purpose. 

Also, more on the fundraiser based on the DC Snowy Owl

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 13, 2022

Editor of the ABA's Birding magazine and frequent podcast guest Ted Floyd just returned a few weeks ago from a trip to Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, for the African Bird Expo. It just so happens to be a place that host Nate Swick has been as well, on an earlier incarnation of that same trip. So with that in mind, they thought it would be fun to apply the random number generator to their lists and remember some birds in Random Birds.

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Jan 6, 2022

Last month the ABA officially announced the 2022 ABA Bird of the Year, which is Burrowing Owl! The excitement over the owl is, no doubt, helped along by the exceptional artwork of our Bird of the Year artist, Christina Baal, whose colorful and personable style seems to fit this species like an owl nestled in a subterranean PVC pipe. She’s with host Nate Swick to talk about Burrowing Owls, inspiration, and art.

Plus, send us your Burrowing Owl stories, like the one Nate shares this week

This episode is brought to you by Buteo Books. 

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Dec 23, 2021

We’re at the end of the month and the end of 2021. So it's time for the This Month in Birding panel. We bring back some of our birding friends from the year that was in the form of The Birdist Nick Lund, Bird Sh*t's Mo Stych, and Portland Audubon's Brodie Cass Talbott. We talk about the brand new ABA Bird of the Year, Burrowing Owls and rats, cursing crows, and our best and worst birding holiday gifts. 

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

Burrowing Owl is the 2022 ABA Bird of the Year!

Farallon Islands Mouse Eradication Plan Splits Community

Foul-mouth Crow Befriends Elementary School

Good Bird Conservation News from Audubon

Colorado Ranch saves farm by betting on rare birds

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Dec 16, 2021

It is one of the great dreams of many birders, to be part of the discovery and description of a bird species that is brand new to science. But it is a process that can be long and involved. Ryan Terrill, an ornithologist at the Moore Lab of Zoology at Occidental College, was in the middle of it with the recent formal recognition of the Inti Tanager, a stunning South American bird known for years as the "Kill Bill" Tanager. Ryan's work surveying the bird's breeding territory in western Bolivia was a big part of that work, and he joins us to talk about the process, and why Inti Tanager is certainly not the last new species to come from this part of the world. 

Join us this weekend for the 2022 Bird of the Year reveal party!

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Dec 9, 2021

It is amazing how many people combine the two interests of birding and music, though few as professionals. Stephanie Seymour manages, however, to do it. As a birder she explores the birds around her home in northern New Jersey and as a musician she has had a long career as a drummer and singer in a number of bands. In 2019 she combined those worlds with her self-produced album There are Birds. She’ll also be featured in an upcoming issue of the ABA’s Birding magazine early next year.

Don't forget to join us at our 2022 ABA Bird of the Year reveal in Philadelphia!

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 2, 2021

Hawk-watchers are easily the most established sub-groups within the 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, two of the most influential family-specific field guides in North America. 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.

Also, the last of our Pileated Woodpecker stories from Gaspard Tanguay-Labrosse of Montreal, Quebec, and a fascinating study that suggests that chickadees segregate by species using smell.

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Nov 25, 2021

The last Thursday of the month means it’s time for This Month in Birding, a very special This Month in Birding for a couple reasons. First, it is Thanksgiving in the United States, the birdiest of our national holidays. And second, it’s a special all Galbatross panel of This Month in Birding, featuring a whole 60% of the Galbatrosses. We're joined by Senior Manager of Conservation Science at Audubon Great Lakes, Stephanie Beilke, Audubon Network Content Editor Martha Harbison, and Popular Science writer and editor Purbita Saha, to talk condor virgin births, shrinking amazon birds, and why the Kill Bill Tanager should have been the Bruce Lee Tanager.

Don't forget to join us in Philly next month to reveal the 2022 ABA Bird of the Year!

Links to articles mentioned in this episode:

Parthenogenisis in California Condors

Climate Change Causing Amazon Birds to Shrink

Evolution of Egg Colors linked to Nest Shapes

"Kill Bill" Tanager formally named Inti Tanager

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 18, 2021

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 2021. And while it is still November, holiday gift-giving season is right around the corner so we want to get this conversation out there for our listeners' sake. We are joined by 10,000 Birds book reviewer Donna Schulman and Birding magazine media and book review editor Frank Izaguirre to talk about what we loved this year in bird books. 

Also, the New Zealand Bird of the Year is a bat for some reason. 

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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