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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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!
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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.
The annual Winter Finch Forecast is easily one of the highlights of the birding year for many, and a perfect combination of birding science and birding art. When Ron Pittaway retired in early 2020, birders worried that the forecast would be retired as well, but that was happily not the case. Tyler Hoar stepped in and with the help of the Finch Research Network, brought the forecast into the 21st Century. He joins us to talk about how it all works and what it was like filling the shoes of a birding giant.
Plus, come join us as we reveal the 2022 Bird of the Year at a party in Philadelphia!
Perhaps more than any bird in North America, Rock Pigeons suffer for their omnipresence and familiarity. But there is more to the humble and ubiquitous species than meets the eye. They are a great opportunity to learn not just about the wonders of birds, but about the interconnectedness of humans and nature. Naturalist and creator of Bird and Moon comics, Rosemary Mosco dives into the weird world of pigeons in her new book, A Pocket Guide to Pigeon Watching: Getting to know the World’s Most Misunderstood Bird, and joins the American Birding Podcast to talk all about it.
Also, some good new for a lovely birding site in South Texas.
The last Thursday of the month is This Month in Birding with a panel of Jennie Duberstein, Nicole Jackson, and Sean Milnes. We have a wide range of stories to discuss, from escaped birds to birding by ear to landfills to domestic carrowaries.
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The second half of 2021 has been an exciting half-year for the ABA, not least of which because we got to welcome two new colleagues. Katinka Domen and Laura Guerard are the Coordinators of our Travel and Events program and our Young Birder programs respectively. Both come to their positions having worked extensively in their field and with big ideas about how to make these two pillars of American Birding Association bigger, better, and more fun for birders of every age and station. We're excited to introduce them to you.
There's no place on Earth like Colombia. One of the world's only "megadiverse" nations, Colombia boasts friendly people, stunning landscapes, and absolutely mind-blowing birds. Join host Nate Swick and Colombian birders Diego Calderón (The Birders Show) and Eliana Ardila (Birding by Bus) as we travel through the Colombian Central Andes and explore what makes this place so amazing for birders, and how nature tourism is making a positive impact on the lives of so many people there.
When Jonathan Slaght’s Owls of the Eastern Ice came out last year, it was met with high praise. Slaght’s search for the enigmatic Blakiston’s Fish-Owl is a part of natural history, part adventure, and part character study set in a part of the world that very few of us know at all, except, perhaps, as the place many of our rare birds come from. It is out now in paperback, and Slaght joins host Nate Swick to talk about owls, writing, and conservation work in the Russian Far East.
Also, Nate considers the official extinction of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.
It's the last episode of September 2021, and to add to this fall birding bounty comes a super panel featuring Birds Canada's Jody Allair, the Finch Research Network's Ryan Mandelbaum, and Jordan Rutter of the American Birding Conservancy. We're excited to chat about this winter's finch forecast, cutthroat birding, and some analysis of the Covid pandemic pause on birds in urban areas.
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Last Week Tonight satirizes the Duck Stamp Contest (language warning)
Birding editor Ted Floyd returns to join host Nate Swick in another round of "Random Birds", the most fun you can have with a bird list and a random number generator. Ted and Nate talk mergansers, bluebirds, nighthawks, and more as they continue their journey through the combined list of the birds of North Carolina and Colorado.
Plus, Short-tailed Albatross stunts provide an opportunity to talk about birding ethics.
Few birders in North American have taken on the mantle of urban birding like Ohio native J.B Brumfield. Their Cuyahoga County big years are the stuff of legend, not only for their high totals but for the passion they throw into birding their hometown of Cleveland and getting others excited about the birdlife and birding opportunities there. Chicago native Greg Neise has his own long history birding in urban areas, and steps in to talk to J.B. about Big Years, favorite local patches, and what to love about birding in the city.
Birding editor Ted Floyd shares a commentary about his favorite urban bird.
What can we learn from one of the most familiar birds in North America? A bird so well-known that it’s migration is remarked upon by friends and colleagues who might otherwise have no knowledge about birds at all. The American Robin, of course, is ubiquitous but there is a lot left to learn. That is, in part, the work of Emily Williams, an avian ecologist at Georgetown University, currently studying the migration ecology of American Robins. She joins us to talk about what we don't know about a bird everyone knows.
Plus, a Pileated Woodpecker story from Nancy Archer of Richmond, Virginia, and the great conservation question comes to National Geographic.