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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: 2021
Jul 1, 2021

It's Canada Day and this week sees an all Canada special episode of the American Birding Podcast, a tip of the cap to our friends in the northern part of the ABA Area. The Canada panel consists of some birders from across the country and features voices that podcast regulars probably recognize. 

From St, John’s, Newfoundland, we welcome Bird the Rock’s Jared Clarke. From Drumheller, Alberta (by way of Ontario) is 
Birds Canada's Jody Allair. And from Richmond, British Columbia, it's wildlife biologist and keeper of the BC Rare Bird Alert, Melissa Hafting. We talk about the amazing birding opportunities found across the country and the special conservation issues unique to Canada. 

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!

Jun 24, 2021

For June, the The Month in Birding Panel consists of Mo Stych of Bird Sh*t Podcast, Brodie Cass Talbott of Portland Audubon, and newcomer Joanna Wu of Audubon. The panel chats about Black Birders Week, bird habitat as climate sinks, and the many amazing uses of googly eyes. 

Links to items discussed:

The second year of Black Birders Week (05:03)

Floating Googly Eyes Scare Birds Away from Nets (10:35)

Bird Habitats are Climate Sinks (16:35)

Birds Respond More Aggressively in Multi-species Groups (28:25)

Herpers Move Away from Cute Names, Birders Lean in (39:46)

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!

Jun 17, 2021

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 finally tackle birding's great contribution to world literature, the field guide. We start with guides to Mexico and Central America, popular destinations for US and Canada birders and a great place to begin the discussion about what makes a good field guide and who and what field guides are for.

Help support the ABA and the American Birding Podcast by contributing to our Nesting Season Appeal.

For the list of books we discuss, check out the ABA Podcast home page!

Jun 10, 2021

Early summer means that it’s time to talk taxonomy, and that means Nick Block, professor of Biology at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. For the last several years, Nick is person we like to talk to when it comes to reading the tea-leaves of the American Ornithological Society’s North America Classification Committee. We chat storm-petrels, bunting lumps, and the curious case of the Swainson's Thrushes.

Also, there's no better time to sign up to run your own Breeding Bird Survey route!

Help support the ABA and the American Birding Podcast by contributing to our Nesting Season Appeal.

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!

Jun 3, 2021

One of the dreams of the "internet of nature" was a device that birders could put in their yard that picks up GPS fitted and tracked wildlife, and maybe even identifies them when they pass over your home. That device is here and it is called Terra. Mike Lanzone of Cellular Tracking Technologies and birder and writer Scott Whittle, are the creators of this magic device. They both join me to talk about what it can do, and how it will change migration monitoring forever. 

If you want to contribute to their kickstarter, here's the link

Also, do you have birding enemies? Billy Baker of the Boston Globe thinks he does and Nate has thoughts. 

Help support the ABA and the American Birding Podcast by contributing to our Nesting Season Appeal

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!

May 27, 2021

Sean Milnes, Jordan Rutter, and Purbita Saha join the May 2021 This Month in Birding panel to talk about some of the most important bird and birding related news items of the month.

Links to items discussed:

Female Bird Day (6:56)

Colombia boycotts the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Global Big Day (8:52)

AOS moves forward on changing English bird names (17:25)

The period cicada's Brood X is here and impacting birds (24:15)

Chicago releases feral cats into the city (33:40)

Estimates of bird populations mean there are 6 wild birds per human (42:35)

And don't forget that Black Birders Week is next week!

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 Podcasts, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

May 20, 2021

In the United States, we’re over 100 days into a new administration and five months into a new Congress, and our elected officials have been busy with some interesting environmental policies and legislation in that time. Interestingly, many of them impact birds. To chat about it, we bring back to the podcast, Tykee James, host of the On Word for Wildlife podcast from the Wildlife Observer Network. Tykee lays out what birders should be paying attention to, and talks about his new project, Freedom Birders

Plus, another Pileated Woodpecker story from Christy Esmahan in Austin, Texas, and a wild Wall Street Journal article about threatening Bald Eagles

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 Podcasts, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

May 13, 2021

Birding editor Ted Floyd is back to play a new birder game we're calling "Random Birds". Host Nate Swick has a list of birds and a random number generator and is ready to chat about whatever bird pops up. Nate and Ted chat about Snow Geese, Red Knots, Bobolinks, Blue Grosbeaks and more. 

Also, some birds in the news! California Condors and Vaux's Swifts invading homes in California. 

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 Podcasts, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

May 6, 2021

Hummingbirds, perhaps more than any other bird family in the world, seem to elicit a strange sort of mania, and this seems to have been true for as long as human beings have been aware of them. Writer Jon Dunn is one of the obsessed, and his new book The Glitter in the Green - In Search of Hummingbirds is part history, part travelogue, and part quest to see as many of the world’s hummingbirds as possible, including some of the most iconic species on Earth.

Also, another Pileated Woodpecker story from Lerena in Toronto, Ontario and Nate sings the praise of fantasy birding in spring. 

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 Podcasts, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Apr 29, 2021

The last Thursday of the month and that means it's time for the This Month in Birding panel. April 2021 is a special month because it marks one year from the 1st This Month in Birding, and one year since the podcast we went to a weekly format. We're joined by a panel of Birds Canada's Jody Allair, Orietta Estrada of the Birder's Fund, and The Birdist, Nick Lund, who come to talk about the AOS Bird Names Congress, Bald Eagles, big news for the Black & Latinx Scholarship Fund, and thoughts on the accuracy of nature documentaries.  

Links to topics discussed:

The AOS Bird Names Congress

Bald Eagle Mystery Solved

Bald Eagle Population Estimate

Black & Latinx Birder Scholarship Fund News

The Problem with Nature Documentaries

Audubon CEO Resigning

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 Podcasts, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Apr 22, 2021

This time of year is a tough one for many birds, as they make their long dangerous journey from wintering grounds to breeding territories. The path taken by many sees them passing over or stopping to nest in increasingly urban landscapes. These landscape changes affect birds in many ways, some obvious, some more subtle. That is the work of researcher Lauren Pharr, a PhD student at North Carolina State studying urban noise and light pollution and their affect on birds. She’s with me now to chat about her work, wildlife research in urban settings, and community science. 

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 Podcasts, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Apr 15, 2021

There are a few lucky places in the ABA Area where parrots still fly free, even if most have captive origins these day. But these big loud flashy birds have a history and future than is perhaps more interesting than many birders might imagine and these feral populations can even give us some insights into the frequently threatened wild birds in Mexico and Central America. John McCormack, director of the Moore Lab of Zoology at Occidental College in Los Angeles, is one of the authors of a paper about how two closely related Amazon parrots in southern California more or less fit into the landscape together and he joins us to talk about it.

Also, as promised, the link to sign up for the Bird Names meeting on Friday, April 16

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!

Apr 8, 2021

Migratory birds undertake some of the most extraordinary and exhausting undertaking of any living things on the planet, an endurance test made all the more difficult by climate change, habitat loss, and illegal hunting. Few know this better than Scott Weidensaul, a bird researcher, prolific nature writer, and the author of more than 30 books, mostly about birds. He first tackled bird migration with 2000’s Living on the Wind. He comes back to the topic with a new book A World on the Wing: The Global Odyssey of Migratory Birds, out this month. He joins Nate Swick to talk about the new book and the the limits of bird migration. 

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!

Apr 1, 2021

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 that has found out a number of fascinating things about these consummate winter birds.

Also, the ABA added three species to its checklist last month, each with a different story. 

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!

Mar 25, 2021

It’s the last Thursday in March and that means This Month in Birding. It's the first of 2021 that can officially, meteorologically, and birdingly, be said to be in spring, even if that spring is tumbling in like an awkward albatross landing. And to this first spring panel of 2021 we welcome three excellent birders Nicole Jackson of Black in National Parks week, Mikko Jimenez of Audubon's Migratory Bird Initiative, and Ryan Mandelbaum of the Finch Research Network and Birdmodo. 

Also, want to join the ABA team? Here's the info you need!

Links to articles talked about in this episode:

What does the Anthropause mean for birds?

Winter Finches are coming back north

The world's oldest gull discovered in Cleveland

Philadelphia joins Lights Out Initiative

Black-browed Babbler Rediscovered After 180 Years

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!

Mar 18, 2021

Spring is here and birders across North America, including new pandemic birders for whom this might be their very first spring migration as a birder, are looking forward to birds return. And to help them along, we're starting a new regular feature on the American Birding Podcast, an identification roundtable. This time we welcome Field Guides early spring ID challenges with a couple crack birders Tom Johnson from Field Guides and artist and ornithology graduate student Marky Mutchler. Join us as we chat waterthrushes, blackbirds, and strategies for tackling big groups of migrating birds. 

Also, it's March Madness and kudos to Creighton for having the best bird mascot in the field. 

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!

Mar 11, 2021

Birding editor Ted Floyd and host Nate Swick try something a little different this time around. They went birding, each in their respective neighborhoods, and come back together to talk about it. Join them as they wend their way through sparrows, crows, and Bushtits of their homes, with a detour into gannets  and gulls (which neither saw). It's birding, annotated. 

And in case you wanted to follow along, here's Ted's checklist from Lafayette, Colorado, and here's Nate's from Greensboro, North Carolina

Plus, congratulations to our 2021 ABA Young Birders of the Year, Katie Warner of Vancouver, Washington, and Joaquin Galindo of McAllen, Texas!

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!

Mar 4, 2021

GPS devices have been a boon for migratory bird research, and it seems that every year a new species gets a turn in the spotlight. This year, it's the amazing Common Nighthawk's turn. Our guest this week is Elly Knight, a researcher at the University of Alberta in Edmonton and the leader an initiative to describe the migration of Common Nighthawks, the subject of a paper recently published in the journal Ecography

Check out a picture of "Maurice" the fake nighthawk at our website

Also, the Meidum Geese fraud and why it feels like stringing, and a Pileated Woodpecker story from Charley Hesse of the Naturally Adventurous podcast. 

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!

Feb 25, 2021

It’s the last Thursday in February and that means it’s time for This Month in Birding! We're pleased to welcome some birding friends to talk about the birding news of the month, and in this month maybe more than most, we need each other. February's winning panel consists of Jennie Duberstein of Sonoran Joint Venture, Jordan Rutter of the American Bird Conservancy, and Brodie Cass Talbott of Portland Audubon, who come ready to talk about owl ethics, the debunking of the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect, bird extinctions, and more. 

Articles to topics discussed:

Owl Drama in New York City's Central Park

Is the Patagonia Picnic Table Effect a real thing?

(plus the cool PPTE charts Jennie mentions)

Extinct Birds were Not Declining Prior to Colonization of North America

Leave your Comments in Support of Rolling Back Proposed Changes to the MBTA

A Two-headed Grouse in Nova Scotia?

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!

Feb 18, 2021

One of the most underrated bird stories of the last few years, has been the rapid decline of the resident Florida subspecies of Grasshopper Sparrow. In 2017, that population reached a record low of 75 wild birds, and many thought it would fade into extinction much like Dusky Seaside Sparrow before it. But a working group of biologists and conservationists led by the Fish & wildlife Foundation of Florida have stopped that decline. The foundation's president Andrew Walker joins Nate Swick to talk about how they did it. 

Also, congrats to the hummingbird heroes of the polar vortex, and some thoughts on "seen anything good?".

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!

Feb 11, 2021

The year 2020 was an especially difficult one for many of us, but for writer and birder Rebecca Heisman, perhaps more than most. In addition to the responsibilities of being the parent of a young child in a year of pandemic, she dealt with a cancer diagnosis that upturned what was already something of a turbulent year. Through it all, birds became, what she calls in an essay recently published at Audubon, a thread of sanity She joins Nate Swick to talk about her trying year and what comes next. 

Also, Pileated Woodpecker stories from Cecelia Dumois and Redmond Brubaker, and a congratulations to Wisdom the Laysan Albatross, a mother again at 69. 

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!

Feb 4, 2021

Pity the poor cowbird. Under-appreciated at best and outright hated at worst, the cowbird and its nest parasitic ways certain lend themselves to strong opinions. But it is a remarkable bird in its own right, capable of amazing developmental feats that allow it to fit into its very odd niche. Ornithologist Sarah Winnicki of the University of Illinois's "cowbird lab" makes the case for cowbirds, arguing that you don't have to love the, but you should respect them.

Also, a Snowy Owl in Central Park? Uh oh. And another Pileated Woodpecker story from listener Jordan Leahy. 

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!

Jan 28, 2021

It's This Month in Birding for January 2021, and we start the new year off with a panel as impressive as Lady Gaga's gigantic bird pin. Guests including #cemeterybirder Danielle Belleny, host of Always Be Birdin' Sam DeJarnett, and host of Fowl Mouths podcast Sean Milnes talk Audubon internal issues, condor recovery in the northwest, weird birdy presidential pardons and much more!

Articles to topics discussed: 

Audubon in hot water

Condors and the Yurok

An MBTA presidential pardon

Great Snobbery

Birding with Gucci and North Face

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!

Jan 21, 2021

Long-time bird blog fans might remember Clare Kines and his blog The House and other Arctic Musings. It was was a familiar voice on the birding internet, with stories about the nature of Arctic Bay, Nunavut, on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic. Clare is still out there as a birder and photographer sharing stories and images of a part of the world we don’t get to see very often, and he joins Nate Swick to talk about his home north of the Arctic Circle. 

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!

Jan 14, 2021

The wide open spaces of the North American west are frequently spotted with signs of human industrial energy production. Oil and gas wells, massive wind turbines, and the like are impossible to miss and impact, occasionally significantly, the birds that live in these vast prairie ecosystems. Dr Janet Ng studies the effects of this industrial incursion into these wild places in the southern Canadian plains, and works with various partners to keep landscapes "hawky". 

Also the first batch of North American Classification Committee proposals are out with no mention of #birdnamesforbirds. 

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!

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