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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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Now displaying: 2020
Dec 31, 2020

We didn't intend to make an episode this week, but friend of the podcast Jordan Rutter came to me and suggested that instead of the regular podcast we should do a special one where she interviews *me* for a change. 

So that's what we did. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

ABA members are eligible for a 15% discount to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of the World subscription. Log into your ABA account to get the code.

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!

Dec 17, 2020

The winter of 2020-21 is one the likes of which we have not seen before. It's a finch superflight year, with boreal grosbeaks, finches, siskins, crossbills, and more pouring out of the north and into places where birders can more easily experience them. This means that it’s an incredible opportunity for us to learn more about why this phenomenon happens, and Matt Young has always been one to have that conversation. He is a leading authority on Red Crossbill call types and now the founder of the Finch Research Network. He joins host Nate Swick to talk about this incredibly finch phenomenon. 

ABA members are eligible for a 15% discount to Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Birds of the World subscription. Log into your ABA account to get the code.

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!

Dec 10, 2020

It’s finally December of 2020, the month of annual superlatives. It was a pretty interesting year for bird books and we convene the Birding Book Club crew to talk about them. 10,000 Birds book review columnist Donna Schulman and Birding media review editor Frank Izaguirre join host Nate Swick to run down our favorites for 2020, including new field guides, books on bird behavior, and lots of fantastic narrative prose in both memoire and essay form. 

Find all of their lists here!

Thanks to our friends at Buteo Books for sponsoring this episode!

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!

Dec 3, 2020

Nate Swick is out of the studio this week so we're sending you a mini-cast to enjoy while he's gone. This one features a pair of ABA friends telling stories of great birding days, one high intensity and one low. 

First, ABA webmaster Greg Neise shares the tale of his epic Illinois Big Day run. Spills, thrills, and warbling trills take stage as Greg and his teammates race the clock and the previous record. 

And then, high schooler Hannah Floyd, daughter of ABP regular Ted Floyd, shares the joys of winter birding during a pandemic. You might expect either of those concerns to be hindrances, but that's not the case. 

While I've got you here, please check out the ABA's Year-End Appeal going on now. It's been a strange year but if the ABA or this podcast has provided you with any joy in 2020, please consider making a donation. 

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!

Nov 26, 2020

The last Thursday of November means it’s time for This Month in Birding coming to you for the holiday. As Thanksgiving is the most bird-centric holiday on the US calendar, why not talk birds instead of eating them? Our panel includes Jody Allair of Birds Canada, Tom Johnson of Field Guides and Out Birding, and Jordan Rutter of the American Bird Conservancy. 

Topics discussed include:

The continuing winter finch explosion adds redpolls

Looking for Red Crossbills

Voter Fraud in New Zealand

Saw-whet Owl trapped in a tree in New York City. 

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!

Nov 19, 2020

We now see ourselves on the cusp of a change in leadership in the United States. A brand new administration will replace the current one in January, and we’re already seeing people looking forward to what this means for birds, public lands, and conservation. Into that conversation comes Tykee James, who is, among other things, the host of the wildlife and politics podcast On Word for Wildlife of the Wildlife Observer Network. He joins host Nate Swick from Washington, DC, to talk about what we can expect in coming months. 

Also, a wild story about the on and off sale of Salineño Preserve in South Texas. 

Thanks to Field Guides for sponsoring this episode. Check out their new video series, Out Birding with Field Guides.

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!

Nov 12, 2020

Despite being one of the most ubiquitous birds in the Americas, the poor Turkey Vulture is saddled with a mixed reputation. Sure, they look weird and eat dead things, but vultures are more than just nature's garbagemen. Katie Fallon, author of the recently rereleased Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird makes the case that vultures are not only important, but worthy of adoration. She joins host Nate Swick to talk about her hands-ons experience with these amazing birds. 

Also, the distant Rio Grande Valley Bird Festival is this week! Join birding celebrities for a game of "Harlingen Squares"!

Thanks to Field Guides for sponsoring this episode. Check out their new video series, Out Birding with Field Guides.

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!

 

Nov 5, 2020

Birders and non-birders alike love urban nesting birds. The drama of life and death in a place where you wouldn’t necessarily expect wildlife is certainly appealing, and when a pair of American Kestrels took up at Cleveland, Ohio's busy West Side Market filmmaker and media producer Najada Davis documented their story, a project that became the documentary Kestrels in the Hood. He joins Nate Swick to talk about that work. 

Also, the pandemic has been good for bird songs

Thanks to Field Guides for sponsoring this episode. Check out their new video series, Out Birding with Field Guides.

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!

Oct 29, 2020

It’s the last Thursday in October and that means This Month in Birding, wherein we convene a august panel of birders to discuss the news that we missed this month, or more likely saved till the end of the month because they’re more fun to talk about with other people.

The panel this week is, for the first time, all returnees, including #cemeterybirder Danielle Belleny, Birdmodo creator Ryan Mandelbaum, and Popular Science writer Purbita Saha

Topics discussed include:

New Duck Stamp Rules put in place

Cassia Crossbills at risk from wildfires

Massive finch movement this winter

Cemetery Birding is the new hot thing

Gynandromorph grosbeak found

Eastern Black Rails put on Endangered Species List

Thanks to Field Guides for sponsoring this episode. Check out their new video series, Out Birding with Field Guides.

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!
Oct 22, 2020

We are now in the 7th month of this COVID pandemic purgatory, and way way back in April of this year Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd and host Nate Swick had a conversation about what birding will look like during the pandemic. Well, here we are in October, looking at a long winter wherein COVID is still a concern, but at least we have a slightly greater perspective on what we know and what we don’t about everything.

Also, join Nate for Auk the Vote this weekend!

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!

Oct 15, 2020

The Greater Sage-Grouse is one of the more bizarre birds in North America and frequently a flashpoint for conservation and land management concerns in the American west.  Ashley Ahearn is a public radio and podcast journalist who put herself in the middle of that conflict to create Grouse, an audio series produced by BirdNote and available at all the usual podcast places. She joins host Nate Swick to talk about sage-grouse politics and what it says about the environmental issues we face in the 21st Century. 

Also, check out Jason Ward on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!

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!

 

Oct 8, 2020

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 host Nate Swick to talk rallidae and STEM outreach for women. This interview was originally released on August 24, 2017.

Here's the link to Paul Riss's documentary Rare Bird Alert.

Also, Nate has some thoughts about wildlife illiteracy and rare bird reporting. 

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!

 
 
Oct 1, 2020

Recording and identifying nocturnal flight calls has been a popular way for birders in the ABA Area to document migration, and has inspired an entire community to keep track of those tseep and chips passing overhead this time of year. The COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders all over the world have motivated a similar passion in the famously intense UK birding community, and birders recording and documenting Noc-Mig, as it’s called, have made some fascinating discoveries about migration in Europe. Naturalist Mark James Pearson of Yorkshire, UK, is a relatively recent convert and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about it. 

Also, the Endangered Species Act is under threat in the Senate, and birders should keep their eyes open for proposed changes

Thanks to Field Guides for sponsoring this episode. Check out their new video series, Out Birding with Field Guides.

Sep 24, 2020

It’s the last Thursday of the month and that means it; time for This Month in Birding, a discussion about all the extra birding news that has been happening for the month of September. This month we've have convened a panel of old and new friends to help me make sense of this crazy crazy world we’re living in, where at least we have birds. Environmental educator Nicole Jackson, The Birdist Nick Lund, and co-host of the Bird Sh't Podcast Mo Stych join host Nate Swick to talk mysterious bird deaths, waffle eating Wood Storks, a bird mascot for the University of Illinois and more. 

Links to topics discussed:

Mysterious bird deaths in New Mexico.

And the likely explanation.

Christian Cooper's new comic.

#BlackinNationalParks and Best National Parks for birding.

Wood Storks eating garbage.

University of Illinois has a new Belted Kingfisher mascot.

Sep 17, 2020

Most people perceive ornithology as a college course, one of those science electives that can get people into birding long-term. But what if we brought it down to high school and appealed to more students from more backgrounds? That’s the goal of high school teacher Steve Maguire, who has been teaching ornithology in a Massachusetts high school for several years. He joins host Nate Swick to talk about his experiences. 

Also, a Migratory Bird Treaty update and Nate teaches you how to be a wicked pisher. 

Thanks to Field Guides for sponsoring this episode. Check out their new video series, Out Birding with Field Guides

Sep 10, 2020

It’s time for the American Birding Podcast Birding Book Club and host Nate Swick welcomes bird media reviewers Frank Izaguirre from the ABA’s Birding magazine and Donna Schulman from the website 10,000 Birds to talk family specific guides. What are those, you might ask. We'll chat about identification guides or reference books that focus specifically on one group of birds, frequently, though not always strictly speaking, a family as defined taxonomically. Shorebirds, warblers, raptors, and birds-of-paradise are on the agenda. 

Thanks to Buteo Books for sponsoring this episode. You can find every one of these titles at their online store and ABA members receive at 10% discount on every purchase. 

For a list of all the books we discuss in this episode, please see the American Birding Podcast website

Sep 3, 2020

The path to becoming a birder is as much as about coming to grips with what is happening to you as it is about finding increasing joy in birding. We all may end up in a similar place but our paths to that place are as individual as we are. Toronto writer and lecturer Julia Zarankin didn't mean to become a birder, but 10 years on here she is. She recounts this odd journey in a new memoir, Field Notes from an Unintentional Birder, out in September in Canada and in October in the United States. She joins host Nate Swick to about how she came to call herself a birder. 

Also, Nate wants you to normalize misidentifying birds. 

Aug 27, 2020

It’s the last Thursday of the month and that means it’s time once again for This Month in Birding. This month's esteemed panel this month has more of a western bent, significantly pulling the mean location of panelists a little bit closer to the Mississippi River at least. We welcome Canada-based bird educator and researcher Jody Allair, ABA Young-birder liaison and Sonoran Joint Venture coordinator Jennie Duberstein, and host of the Fowl Mouths podcast, Sean Milnes. We talk Thick-billed Longspur, Audubon's reckoning with their namesake, the retirement of Ron Pittaway and his Winter Bird Forecast, and the word bird pronunciation mistakes. 

Links to topics discussed:

Welcome Thick-billed Longspur

A new beginning for the winter Finch report

NAOC's online conference

Audubon deals with John James's legacy

Aug 20, 2020

Birders on the mainland of the US and Canada have no shortage of options when it comes to field guides. Our friends in Hawaii, however, have not had such luxuries despite being home to some of the world's most spectacular birds. Now that Hawaii is included in the ABA Area, interest in the islands among birders is high, and the need for a good field guide was dire. Helen and André Raine have created just that guide along with photographer Jack Jeffrey, published as part of the American Birding Association series of field guide earlier this year. They join host Nate Swick to talk about it, and you can even win a copy with our trivia giveaway.

Also, a virtual NAOC was pretty great and a Cedar Waxwing story from Chris Ortega of California. 

Aug 13, 2020

If there’s one thing that this year has taught birders, its how to appreciate your immediate surroundings. The cancellation of festivals, international trips, and even many local bird walks and meetings has encouraged us to be more present and local. It's something that Vermont naturalist Bridget Butler has been pushing for a long time as part of her “Slow Birding” initiative. She joins host Nate Swick to talk about how birding can create a connection to yourself and the place where you live. 

Also, welcome Thick-billed Longspur!

Aug 6, 2020

In 2020 birders have taken to the internet in droves, but the adoption of perhaps the history’s most profound technological advancement by birders hasn’t been entirely smooth. In all those fits and starts, one person who has been here since the beginning has been Mike Bergin.  Mike’s blog, 10,000 Birds, which he now shares with Corey Finger, has been a nearly constant presence in the birdosphere for almost 15 years. He joins host Nate Swick to chat about where we’ve been, where we’re going, and what it's like to be a birder online. 

Also, Travis Audubon is hosting a Spanish for Birders virtual class to those who are interested. 

Jul 23, 2020

Every bird organization on the planet encourages bird-friendly coffee, but what does that mean, why are there so many bird-friendly standards, and why is it so important for migratory birds? Dr. Ruth Bennett of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center has the answers. She’s an avian ecologist with the Smithsonian Bird Friendly habitat initiative which works to optimize bird diversity in commercial coffee and cocoa agro-forests. Hopefully her interview will have you rushing to purchase some ABA Songbird Coffee from Thanksgiving Coffee Company or any coffee from SMBC's list of shade-grown producers

Also, statue news we can all appreciate! And Birding editor Ted Floyd celebrates birding by camera, a modern phenomenon whose time has truly come. 

Jul 16, 2020

John James Audubon is frequently referred to with reverence as the father of the North American ornithology, and has a public reputation that is nearly impeccable. He has birds named after him, the country’s best known bird organization has his name, and is widely acknowledged as both a skilled painter and the best of the gentleman naturalists of the 19th century. But not so fast, says ornithologist and historian Matthew Halley, in a recently published article in Bulletin of the British Ornithologist’s Club called "Audubon's Bird of Washington: unravelling the fraud that launched The birds of America". The product of 10 years of work, Halley's  article blows the lid off of the origins of perhaps North America’s best known bird book and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about Audubon's spectacular grift and his troubled legacy. 

Also, it's our 100th episode! The first 27 listeners to respond to podcast@aba.org will get some American Birding Podcast stickers!

Jul 9, 2020

Birders are undoubtedly familiar with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, at least by name, and recent proposed changes to that venerable piece of conservation legislation by the Trump Administration have environmental groups concerned about the long-term impacts on birds. Tykee James, host of On Word for Wildlife, a wildlife and politics podcast on the Wildlife Observer Network, and a government affairs professional joins host Nate Swick to talk about what the MBTA does and what birders can do to address these changes including commenting here before July 20!

Also, thoughts on the AOS's McCown's Longspur announcement and Nate issues corrections. 

Donate the ABA’s Nesting Season Appeal!

Jul 2, 2020

When it comes to bird conservation in North America, there are so many groups that need to be engaged. You've got government agencies from many nations alongside multiple non-profits all invested in protecting birds. But how do they know to coordinate efforts, to spread their influence, or at least, how not to get in each other’s way? Into this space comes the North American Bird Conservation Initiative - NABCI for short -  whose US coordinator Judith Scarl joins Nate Swick to talk about how they get it all done. 

Plus, another Cedar Waxwing Story from Tyler Wilson of Bend, Oregon. 

Donate the ABA’s Nesting Season Appeal!

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