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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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The American Birding Podcast
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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.

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 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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Aug 17, 2023

Birders love books, and with so many options out there it’s nice to have some friends around to make suggestions, talk about what we like a lot, maybe what we don’t like quite as much, and celebrate the literary side of the birding lifestyle. That's right, it's time for another meeting of the Birding Book Club. This time, we're setting birds aside and talking about our favorite books about nature other than birds. They're the perfect supplements to your birding library. We're joined once again by regular Birding Book Club member Donna Schulman, reviewer for the website 10,000 Birds, and joining us for the 1st time, out ABA Birding magazine Book and Media Review editor, Rebecca Minardi

Links to books discussed in this episode can be found at the American Birding Association website. 

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Aug 10, 2023

Nestled in the Central Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills, is one of the most biodiverse nations on the continent, all the more impressive given its small size. With nearly 700 species of birds and an impressive diversity of large mammals, including Mountain Gorillas, Rwanda is increasingly a popular destination for nature tourists, including the ABA, which is heading there this winter. Winnie Kyamujara is a nature guide with the Ususambi Crane Preserve and she introduces us to this amazing county. 

Also, Ontario birder and creator of the Winter Finch Report, Ron Pittaway, has passed away. We also celebrate incredible bird brains

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Aug 3, 2023

The birding community is collectively mourning the recent loss of Cape May birder Tom Johnson. Tom was a world-renowned birder and a prodigious contributor to the ABA's media, with insightful articles, phenomenal photography, and occasional appearances on the American Birding Podcast. We've collected a few of his appearances here on the podcast and offer them in remembrance of his incredible influence on all of us with his amazing skill, his generous spirit, and his good humor. We at the ABA, along with his many friends in the birding world and beyond, will miss him very much.

If you have a Tom Johnson memory you'd like to share, please consider recording it on the voice recording app on your phone and send it to podcast@aba.org. We'd love to collect them.

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Jul 27, 2023

Welcome to the end of the July, the turn of the year as we heard into the second half of 2023. It’s also time, once again, for This Month in Birding, our monthly panel discussion about bird news and birds in the news. We're excited to welcome a panel of Stephanie Bielke, Tim Healy and Purbita Saha to talk rare birds at private residences, hummingbirds and alcohol, the most metal bird nests, and more!

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

Badgers and birds may be teaming up to steal honey

Do hummingbirds drink alcohol? More often than you think

Human-made materials in nests can bring both risks and benefit for birds

Extinct warbler's genome sequenced from museum specimens

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Jul 20, 2023

Humans have loved birds for as long as there have been humans. And while many of us in the birding world stay a birder for similar reasons, every birder, bird-watcher or bird enthusiasts has their own path to this world, to this interest, and it is one that frequently leads to a greater appreciation of love of the natural world more generally. Alyssa Bardy has a unique take on that journey. Her’s is a story of indigenous reconnection and revitalization though birds, nature-study, and photography. 

Also, what do Canadian wildfires mean for the birds that breed there?

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Jul 13, 2023

The connections between weather and birds seem both obvious and arcane to many birders. This is especially true in this time of global warming, when weather seems particularly wonky. This summer the globe is experiencing El Niño, a warm phase in the Pacific that causes all sorts of strange things. But what does that mean for birds? To help answer that complicated question, we welcome our friend Alvaro Jaramillo, one of the hosts of the Life List podcast, a pelagic operator with Alvaro’s Adventures, and the author of many bird books.

Plus, the AOS changes are out and we welcome back Western Flycatcher

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Jul 6, 2023

It is an inevitability that as a birder ages, they lose the ability to hear some birds, particularly those with high pitched songs and calls. It is a struggle that nature recordist Lang Elliot has dealt with for decades, but he offers, with the help of modern technology, a solution of sorts called Hear Birds Again. Lang has also written an article introducing this new product in the July 2023 issue of Birding magazine. 

Also, does Merlin really help in a Breeding Bird Survey? FInally we have data! Sort of. 

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

 
 
Jun 29, 2023

It’s the end of June and that means it’s time for This Month in Birding, where we round up a panel of interesting and thoughtful birding friends to round up the latest birding news from around the ABA Area and beyond. Here in the northern hemisphere, June has the longest days of the year, and we might just have the longest episode of the podcast with the sort of items we have to discuss today. We welcome Gabriel Foley, Sean Milnes, and Mo Stych of the newly resurrected Bird Sh*t podcast to talk about bird names, bird songs, and bird theft. 

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

Bird names as critical communication infrastructure in the contexts of history, language, and culture.

When birds sing the same pitch they avoid singing at the same time

Atmospheric pressure predicts probability of departure for migratory songbirds

Hiding Seeds? It Depends on Who’s Watching

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Jun 22, 2023

Birding magazine editor and all-around bird-knower Ted Floyd is back for another bout of Random Birds. He joins host Nate Swick, a big bird list, and a random number generator to create podcast magic. This session includes a smorgasbord of birds, with gulls, warblers, and finches all making an appearance.

Also, Nate reports on the latest ABA Community Weekend in California’s Bay Area.

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 15, 2023

Birders and bird enthusiasts are so fortunate that science writer Jennifer Ackerman so frequently turns her mind to birds. This year, she follows the critically acclaimed The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way with the new What an Owl Knows: The New Science of the World’s Most Enigmatic BirdsOwls have amazed and mystified humans for as long as there have been humans, and new research undertaken by passionate individuals has revealed new insights into these alluring, nocturnal birds.  

Also, the story of a tagged Ferruginous Hawk in Ontario, Michigan, and beyond has capitvated birders. 

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 8, 2023

It’s split and lump season again, and that means that we turn to our friend Nick Block, professor of Biology at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts. He's the person we talk to when it comes to predicting the decisions of the American Ornithological Society’s North America Classification Committee. It's another busy slate for this summer including a possible Western Flycatcher lump, splits to Northern Goshawk and Hepatic Tanager and more. 

Also Black Birders Week wraps up another great year. And don't forget to sign up for our ABA Community Weekend in San Francisco, California, next weekend!

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 1, 2023

On May 19, 2023, the ABA and the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University hosted the For the Love of Birds panel as part of the Academy’s Cheryl Beth Silverman lecture series. If you weren’t able to join us in Philadelphia, we’re excited to share it with you as a podcast. Panelists Holly Merker, Anwar Abdul-Qawi, and American Birding Podcast host Nate Swick talk about birding and the bird community with moderator Maurice Baynard.

Also, join Nate in San Francisco the weekend of June 17 for the next ABA Community Weekend.

And don’t forget to donate to the ABA’s 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 25, 2023

It’s the last Thursday of the month of May and that means it is time to bring on a panel of birding friends to talk about bird news and goings on on the American Birding Podcast. And it’s another excellent panel this month featuring Mollee Brown, Nicole Jackson, and Ryan Mandelbaum talking Lesser Prairie-Chicken delisting, fire loving birds, and bird safe windows among other things. 

LInks to topics discussed in this episode:

House committee votes to delist the Lesser Prairie-Chicken

Incorporating pyrodiversity into wildlife habitat assessments for rapid post-fire management: A woodpecker case study

230K birds die annually by smashing into NYC windows. A new bill aims to save them.

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

 
 
May 18, 2023

Despite being such a charismatic bird, there are very few books about our 2023 Bird of the Year Belted Kingfisher, but this week's guest Marina Richie has written one. Her 2022 title, Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher documents the seven years she spent watching a pair of kingfishers near her home in Missoula, Montana, and her relationship with the birds and with herself. She also writes about it in an upcoming issue of Birding magazine

Also, Nate is back from the Biggest Week in American Birding

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May 11, 2023

In 2016, Arjan Dwarshuis undertook a massive birding year that took him from his home in the Netherlands to 6 continents, 41 countries, and just over 6,800 species of birds. His global big year was a massive feat, breaking the record set, at the time, by Noah Strycker only a year earlier. He wrote about his adventure in a book, and forgive me for this, Een bevlogan jaar, translated this year into Egnlish as The Big Year that Flew By. He joins us to look back on that year. 

Also, join Nate for a panel discussion in Philadelphia next week! And listeners can support this podcast and the ABA's programs and missions by contributing to our 2023 Nesting Season Appeal

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

 
 

 

May 4, 2023

2023 ABA Lifetime Achievement Awardee Peter Pyle has probably been one of the most influential American ornithologists of the last few decades. His Identification Guide to North American Birds, informally known as “the Pyle Guides”, are widely known as the banding bible, and remain some of the most informative and intimidating bird books on birders’ shelves. The much anticipated second edition of which came out this year. But the's also the chair of the ABA Checklist Committee, and was central to the effort to shepherd the birds of the Hawaiian Islands, at long last, onto the ABA Checklist. He joins us to talk about the new books, checklist committees, and Hawaii. 

Also, join us in Philadelphia next weekend for an event with the Drexel University Academy of Natural Sciences

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Apr 27, 2023

It is the most exciting time of year for birders in the ABA Area so it seems only fitting to celebrate it with an exciting group of panelists for April's This Month in Birding. Host Nate Swick is joined by Jennie Duberstein, Andrés Jimenez, and Jordan Rutter to talk about vulture love, nature TikTok, and Night Parrot skulls. Come for the spring migration talk and stay for the bird personality profiles. 

Also, don't forget to sign up for our first ABA Community Weekend!

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

They're Not Pretty, but Turkey Vultures Have Grace

TikTok’s Falco tinnunculus: Getting to Know Urban Wildlife through Social Media

CT scans offer insights on Australia’s rare Night Parrot

Flamingoes have big personalities—and their friendships prove it

Subscribe to the podcast at Apple PodcastsStitcher, and Spotify, and please leave a rating or a review if you are so inclined! We appreciate it!

Apr 20, 2023

The sporting world is full of bird mascots. While there are countless eagles, hawks, and cardinals there are no, so far as we know, Belted Kingfishers. But that might change thanks to the efforts of students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This flagship university has a mascot vacancy that, according to guest Spencer Wilken, should be filled by our 2023 Bird of the Year.  Spencer's story is featured in the April 2023 issue of Birding and she joins us to talk about the peculiar politics of bird mascots. 

Also, the bird flu pandemic hits California Condors. 

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 13, 2023

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. In this encore episode, host Nate Swick and Colombian birders Diego Calderón (The Birders Show) and Eliana Ardila (Birding by Bus) 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.

Also, a throw back to the very first episode and Nate's very first trip to Colombia. 

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 6, 2023

Birders have long considered the tyrant flycatchers, in particular the Empidonax species and Pewees to be one of the most difficult identification concerns in North America. Author Cin-Ty Lee and illustrator Andrew Birch seek to calm the fears of frustrated birders across the ABA Area with their new Field Guide to North American Flycatchers: Empidonax and Pewees, out just in time for spring migration. They join host Nate Swick to talk about what birders need to know about this group of birds.

Also, join us for an ABA Community Weekend! Our first one is in Toronto, Ontario later this month!

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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