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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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Feb 15, 2024

2023 was an exceptional year for ABA Rarities, and few can remember a more extraordinary one in terms of both quality and quantity of shocking and spectacular rare birds in the US and Canada. As we do every year, we welcome North American Birds editor Amy Davis and educator and writer at The Nemesis Bird, Tim Healy, to share our favorites and draft the Top 10 (and a few more) ABA Area Rare Birds for 2023.

Also, congrats to Peter Kaestner for becoming the first birder to see 10,000 species.

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Feb 8, 2024

The voyages of migratory shorebirds are cinematic in their scope; certainly an attractive subject for a nature documentarian. Randall Wood is the award-winning writer, director, and producer of Flyways: The Untold Story of Migratory Shorebirds, which aired in the United States on the PBS program Nature on February 7, 2024. He joins us to talk about the film, which focuses on the incredible journeys of three long-distance migrants and the researchers racing against time to preserve these birds and this incredible phenomenon. You can find the film at pbs.org/nature, YouTube and the PBS App. 

Also, the AOS NACC released their first batch of potential splits and lumps, with a lot of potential changes coming to the ABA Area. 

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Feb 1, 2024

Birders use eBird to log their own personal lists, and to help find birds they would like to see, but the heart of eBird, the dream even of eBird, was to create a massive public database of bird sightings that can turn into opportunities to monitor bird populations. That is, in fact, what Harry Stevens, the Climate Lab columnist for the Washington Post, has done in a new interactive feature at the Washington Post which takes a look at why bird populations are declining. 

Also, Artificial Intelligence helps researchers get a bird's eye view.

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Jan 25, 2024

This Month in Birding is back in the new year, with a panel of old friends to talk bird and birding news of the month. This time around, Stephanie Beilke, Jordan Rutter, and Brodie Cass Talbott come by to talk Mallard quasi-domestication, smart binoculars and more!

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

Silent domestication of wildlife in the Anthropocene: The mallard as a case study

Swarovski Optik Launches the World's First Smart Binocular

Missed Connections

Why do middle-aged people love birds so much?

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Jan 18, 2024

A disillusioned adman and casual birder, a mysterious ransom plot, and a conservation program for restoring Peregrine Falcons all combine in Mike Lubow’s irreverent new novel, The Idea People. Mike is a prolific writer and story-teller whose interests intersect with birding in his online journal Two-Fisted Bird Watcher. He joins us to talk about why birders make great detectives, even fictional ones. 

Also, nature illiteracy strikes again in the form of a bonkers proposed law in Kentucky

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Jan 11, 2024

The 2024 Bird of the Year is Golden-winged Warbler--the first of the charismatic and colorful wood-warbler family to be so honored. This gorgeous Parulid has it all, stunning colors, an important conservation story, and a unique taxonomic conundrum with its sister species, Blue-winged Warbler. A lovely illustration of a pair of Golden-winged Warblers on their nonbreeding tarritory in Costa Rica graces the cover of the January 2024 issue of Birding magazine. The creator of this year's cover is artist and field researcher Natasza Fontaine! She joins us to talk about her Golden-winged Warbler memories and the ins and outs of this year's BotY art. 

Do you have a Golden-winged Warbler story? Share it with us! Record it in the voice recorded app on your phone and send it to podcast@aba.org

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Jan 4, 2024

The decision by the American Ornithological Society last year to begin the process of renaming birds currently named after humans has been one of the more animating debates in the birding and ornithological communities in recent memory. The recommendations for these changes were made by an ad hoc English Bird Name committee created by the AOS specifically to explore this issue. Irene Liu, Steve Hampton, and Alvaro Jaramillo served on that committee, and join the podcast to talk about their time on the committee, the discussion they had, and to dispell some of the misinformation that has sprung up in the wake of this big news. 

Also, welcome to the the 2024 ABA Bird of the Year, Golden-winged Warbler!

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Dec 21, 2023

This Month in Birding is The American Birding Podcast’s monthly round table discussion on all things birds and birding. This month features Nick Lund, Sarah Swanson, and Mo Stych talking AI and birding, light pollution, a tragic macaw love story and more.

Links to article’s discussed in this episode:

Artificial light at night is a top predictor of bird migration stopover density

Researchers developing new technology to understand bird migrations

A lovers’ tale of romance, fidelity and the aviary netting keeping them apart

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Dec 14, 2023

It’s a holiday miracle! The podcast feature that was supposed to last one episode, lasted significantly more than that! Birding editor Ted Floyd is back to talk Random Birds. He and Nate cover lots of passerines and two different hummingbirds and ponder the mysteries of the random number generator that knows all. 

The ABA wishes all of you participating in the 124th CBC a Merry Christmas Bird Count!

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Dec 7, 2023

The Birding Book Club is back again to do our annual Best Bird Books of the Year episode for 2023. 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. And why not something for yourself while you're at it? We are joined by 10,000 Birds book reviewer Donna Schulman and Birding magazine media and book review editor Rebecca Minardi to talk about what we loved this year in bird books.

Find links to all our choices at the ABA Podcast website!

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Nov 30, 2023

If there’s one thing that 2020 taught birders, its how to appreciate your immediate surroundings. The cancellation of festivals, international trips, and even many local bird walks and meetings 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, cicadas have unseen impacts on eastern forests and birds are to blame

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Nov 23, 2023

This Month in Birding is The American Birding Podcast’s monthly round table discussion on all things birds and birding. This month features Jennie Duberstein, Tim Healy, and Ryan Mandelbaum covering bird name changes, universal alarm calls, what makes a bird attractive to humans, and more.  

Links to article’s discussed in this episode:

North American Birds Will No Longer Be Named After People

Improving the language of migratory bird science in North America

What's the rumpus? Resident temperate forest birds approach an unfamiliar neotropical alarm call across three continents

What drives our aesthetic attraction to birds?

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Nov 16, 2023

Host Nate Swick is on the road, but that doesn't mean you won't get new content! Birding editor Ted Floyd is back again for another edition of Random Birds, the most fun you can have with a bird list and a random numbr generator. This time around Nate and Ted take discuss ducks, tanagers, sparrows and much more! 

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Nov 9, 2023

One of the biggest taxonomic changes of this year was the long-anticipated lump of the species formerly known as Pacific-slope and Cordilleran Flycatcher back into Western Flycatcher. It’s a story with all the taxonomic highs and lows packed into a slightly confusing and cryptic package. Alec Hopping is a birder and researcher whose article in North American Birds called Unraveling Western Flycatchers; A Case Against the Split played a large role in making the case to the relavant authorities. He joins us to talk about how to get a species lumped. 

Also, the AOS makes a huge announcement regarding birds named specifically for people

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Nov 2, 2023

This past summer, the ABA brought on our new Executive Director. Wayne Klockner comes to us after a long career with The Nature Conservancy in Maryland and beyond, with efforts that have led to the conservation of thousands of acres of natural areas, the restoration of commercial and shell fisheries and the establishment of TNC’s climate strategy. He lives and birds in Ocean City, Maryland, and it is our pleasure to welcome him to the podcast.

Also, amazing new science suggests that albatrosses use infrasonic ocean noise to orient themselves

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Oct 26, 2023

This Month in Birding is The American Birding Podcast's monthly round table discussion on all things birds and birding. This month features Martha Harbison, Mikko Jimenez, and Dexter Patterson covering the USFWS's recent extinction news, Takahe reintroductions, birding at night, and the panel's spookiest birds. 

Links to article's discussed in this episode:

21 Species Delisted from the Endangered Species Act due to Extinction

As city heat rises, bird diversity declines

How L.A.’s bird population is shaped by historic redlining and racist loan practices

Prehistoric bird once thought extinct returns to New Zealand wild

Here's How You Go Birding in the Middle of the Night\

A Southern Giant Petrel to haunt your nightmares

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Oct 19, 2023

Manakins are among the most unique and fascinating neotropical bird families with displays that run the gamut from group line-dancing to bizarre percussive feather snaps. One species, in particularly, has long fascinated UCLA researcher Barney Schlinger, the Golden-collared Manakin of Panama and western Colombia. It is the subject of his book The Wingsnappers: Lessons from an Exuberant Tropical Bird and he joins host Nate Swick to talk about it. 

Also, the eBird taxonomy update is coming! What does it mean for our ABA lists?

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Oct 12, 2023

In 2014, Dorian Anderson pushed pause on his life, which at the time included a career in neuroscience research, a burgeoning relationship, and the ongoing struggles with drug and alcohol addiction, for an ABA Area Big Year. But not just any Big Year, one that was entirely self-propelled. His Big Year plus cross-country trek by bike is recounted in a new memoire out this fall Birding Under the Influence: Cycling across America in search of Birds and Recovery.

Also, a huge migration day in Chicago leads to an inevitable and frustrating bird window strike incident

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Oct 5, 2023

Birds are one of the most commonly encountered elements of human culture across time and across peoples in all parts of the world. Perhaps nowhere is that quite as evident as Las Vegas, Nevada, where humanity of every possible description comes together in a city that exists on the edge of habitability. Those fascinating and often odd relationships between birds and humans are the subject of the documentary The Public Lives of Birds, whose director and producer David Welch is the process of completing with the help of a kickstarter campaign. He joins us this week to talk about it.

Also, the 2023 Winter Finch Report is out! What does it mean for your feeders this winter?

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you get your podcasts and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Sep 28, 2023

It’s the end of the month which means its time for This Month in Birding, and we’ve got a panel of ABA friends and staff here to talk about the beautiful fall season, every birder’s favorite time of year. In this episode Jennie Duberstein, Nick Lund, and Greg Neise join host Nate Swick to talk lost flamingos, eagles, both welcome and not, the incredible movement of rare North American vagrants to the British Isles, and more!

Also, the ABA is going to be at the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival this fall. Come join us!

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

Flamingo visiting central Pa. injured in attack: Will its mate abandon it?

Mega fallout of American birds in UK/Ireland

Stella, the Steller's sea eagle making an economic impact on bird tourism

Eagle effects on seabird productivity: Effects of a natural experiment

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Sep 21, 2023

The Feminist Bird Club has been one of the more interesting and inspiring movements in the birding world over the last few years. They champion inclusivity, social justice, and an approach that is comfortable for novices and other folks who had perhaps not felt seen in birding before. Some of the leaders of that organization have collaborated on a new book, Birding for a Better World: A Guide to Finding Joy and Community in Nature. One of its authors, Sydney Golden Anderson, along with FBC co-chair Meghadeepa Maity, joins us to talk about the book and the what the club means to its members. 

Also, an act of bravery in Hawaii might have saved the futures of two critically endangered birds

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Sep 14, 2023

It's a random time for Random Birds, the American Birding Podcast segment with Birding editor Ted Floyd that involves host Nate Swick, a big bird list, and a random number generator.  We never know exactly what we're going to get, but you'll always get a lot of great bird facts, stories, and appreciation. This session includes a smorgasbord of birds, with ducks, terns, thrushes, and more all making an appearance.

Also, we're excited to announce another ABA webinar featuring author and former podcast guest Rebecca Heisman! ABA members can join us on ABA Community.

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Sep 7, 2023

Moving to Nepal to North Dakota offers quite the ornithological whiplash, but birder and graduate student Anuj Ghimire takes it all in good stride. He joins guest host and Birding magazine editor Frank Izaguirre to talk Himalayan pheasants, North Dakota nemeses, and where to find Nepali food in Fargo. 

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Aug 31, 2023

It's This Month in Birding for August 2023, our monthly round table discussion featuring voices from around the birding world. This month, we welcome back our friends Jody Allair of Birds Canada, Jordan Rutter of the American Bird Conservancy, and Brodie Cass Talbott of Portland Audubon to talk about American Kestrels, Canada Jay siblings, 50 years of Project Puffin and more. 

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

The Mystery of the Vanishing Kestrels: What’s Happening to This Flashy Falcon?

Sibling Rivalry Pays Off for Canada Jays, U of G Research Finds

50 years of Project Puffin

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Aug 24, 2023

How would you describe summer birding? Hot? Humid? Buggy? Unbearable? For many birders it has always been the least exciting and most taxing season for getting in the field, but there’s a lot to be excited about for those who make the effort.  ABA colleagues Jennie Duberstein and Greg Neise join host Nate Swick to talk about what excites them about the season, from molt to shorebirds to birding camp, and how to be prepared to handle the difficulties. Special granola bars for everyone!

Also, Hurricane Hilary brought a storm surge of storm-petrels across southern California and the interior west.

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