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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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Now displaying: 2024
May 30, 2024

Spring turns to summer in much of the ABA Area this week, and we celebrate spring 2024 with a birding podcast crossover event for this month's This Month in Birding. We welcome Mollee Brown, one of the hosts of the Life List podcast and Jason Hall and Dexter Patterson, hosts of the brand new, and very fun, Bird Joy podcast to talk about the mathematics of bird flocks, how birding makes you happy, and our favorite moments of spring 2024, among other things. 

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

The federal government plans to kill half a million West Coast owls

How do birds flock? Researchers do the math to reveal previously unknown aerodynamic phenomenon

Why birdwatchers are happier than the rest of us

Bald eagles are back, but great blue herons paid the price

Don’t forget to donate to the ABA’s Nesting Season Appeal, which raises money for our excellent young birder programs.

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.

May 23, 2024

Newfoundland lies on the eastern extremes of the North American continent, and every spring it hosts an always fascinating and ocasionally extraordinary array of European vagrant birds. The phenomenon that brings European Golden-Plovers and Whooper Swans and Garganeys to North America is fairly well known now, and Newfoundland birders increasingly welcome bird enthusiasts from all over the continent to enjoy it. Guest host Jody Allair of Birds Canada hosts Newfoundlander Jared Clarke from Bird the Rock Tours to talk about why it happens and what it means to be on the leading edge of continental vagrancy. 

Don’t forget to donate to the ABA’s Nesting Season Appeal, which raises money for our excellent young birder programs. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.

May 16, 2024

A couple weeks ago the ABA staff convened in Chicago, Illinois, for our first in-person staff retreat in more than a decade. We discussed a lot of organizational issues and, of course, we went birding at two of Chicago’s most famous lakeshore birding hotspots, Montrose Point and Jarvis Bird Sanctuary. Usually host Nate Swick and Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd discuss separate checklists, but this time they get to discuss a checklist that they both contributed to, along with a dozen or so ABA colleagues.

Also, we get some movement on the AOS English Bird Name Project

Don't forget to donate to the ABA's Nesting Season Appeal, which raises money for our excellent young birder programs. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.

May 9, 2024

The ambitions, egos, and adventure surrounding 18th and 19th century American ornithology affect birding and bird study to this day. We welcome author, artist, and naturalist Kenn Kaufman, who has tackled this fascinating period in a new book The Birds that Audubon Missed: Discovery and Desire in the American Wilderness, looking at John James Audubon, Alexander Wilson, and their peers through the lens of the common and widespread birds they did not find and describe, rather than the many many that they did. 

Are we in a golden age of bird-watching? Maybe, but maybe not. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.


 

 

 

May 2, 2024

Friend of the Podcast and Birds Canada stalwart Jody Allair steps into the hosts chair for a discussion on nature study beyond birding with the ABA's Frank Izaguirre. The two talk about their own favorite non-bird nature experiences, the value of looking at everything else, and follow up with a discussion on Canadian nature writers. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.

Apr 25, 2024

It's the April edition of This Month in Birding, with a panel as bold and timeless as the new eBird font. We welcome Frank Izaguirre, Ryan Mandelbaum, and Jordan Rutter to talk Birds Aren't Real, seabird spies, dream birds, and much more!

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

A Fake Conspiracy Theorist’s Second Act

Wild bird gestures “after you” - Japanese tit uses wing movements for gestural communication

Use of bird-borne radar to examine shearwater interactions with legal and illegal fisheries

Tropical field stations yield high conservation return on investment

Do Birds Dream? What new research on the avian brain and REM sleep in birds might reveal about our own dream lives.

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.

Apr 18, 2024

Birders are full of strong opinions, some serious and some silly. In this new feature, we invite friends on to discuss the spiciest bird takes we can find to determine whether we Take it or Leave it. George Armistead and Amy Davis join host Nate Swick to talk about spark birds, seawatching, records committees, and whether we should shre the locations of owls more frequently. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.

Apr 11, 2024

Spring is finally on its way and with it, the promise of returning migratory birds to the United States and Canada. Among the first to arrive every year, and beloved among birders and non-birders alike, is North America’s largest swallow, the Purple Martin. With their chatty and gregarious nature martins have inspired so many people, one of whom is Dr. Kevin Fraser of the Avian Behavior and Conservation Lab at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. A migration ecologist with a particularly interest in neotropical migrants, Kevin has worked with Purple Martins for years, and he joined host Nate Swick back in 2019 to talk about the uncommon lives of these common birds.

Also, guest host Ted Floyd talks about birding and the recent eclipse. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you.

Apr 4, 2024

John Lowry steps from the production booth into the host's seat this time around to join Birding magazine editor Ted Floyd in a special Random Birds featuring John's home state of Michigan and Ted's old home of Nevada. They discuss a smorgasbord of avian trivia from the big middle of the ABA Area. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to our friends at Zeiss for sponsoring this episode. For a limited time you can get $200 of all ZEISS Conquest HD binoculars. Visit your local optics dealer or visit ZEISS.com/nature to find a dealer near you. 

Mar 28, 2024

Beware the IDs of March! Shakespeare was no doubt concerned with molting grebes, singing juncos and the various other birding difficulties brought to us in this month when he wrote those words.  Jody Allair, Mikko Jimenez, and Purbita Saha join host Nate Swick this month to talk climate change and birds, skinny bird legs, and more!

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

The great eBird outage of 2024

To mitigate bird collisions, enforce the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

As Spring Shifts Earlier, Many Migrating Birds Are Struggling to Keep Up

Why Do Birds Have Such Skinny Legs?

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to HX Expeditions for sponsoring this episode! Change the way you see the world with HX Expeditions.

Mar 21, 2024

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.

Also, it's March Madness! Which obviously means we need to consider the bird mascots in the NCAA tournament. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to HX Expeditions for sponsoring this episode! Change the way you see the world with HX Expeditions.

Mar 14, 2024

Digiscoping is more popular than ever, but bird records involving this practice are few and far between. We needed someone to lay down the gauntlet, and last year that person was Jeff Bouton. Many birders know Jeff as the representative for Kowa Optics, and he's a familiar face around bird festivals and events, and now, the Digicoping Big Year Champion, a record he set in 2023. He’s here to challenge others to match him. 

Also, a rare bird on the Las Vegas strip gets national media exposure, for better or for worse. 

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! And don’t forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Thanks to HX Expeditions for sponsoring this episode! Change the way you see the world with HX Expeditions. 

 
 
Mar 7, 2024

Beach nesting shorebird conservation is one of the more nuanced issues on the continent because the sorts of places and times of year where they prefer to nest are the sorts of places and times of year that humans prefer to recreate. But opportunities exist to get people to care about and protect these birds that we share space with. Chris Allieri and the NYC Plover Project are doing just that. The volunteer group is one of the most celebrated and successful groups in New York City, and Chris joins us to talk about what works and what doesn't. 

Also, it was inevitable that Flaco the celebrity Central Park Owl would meet an untimely end, but what does he mean for future birds and the ways in which we enjoy them?

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! And don't forget to join the ABA to support this podcast and the many things we do for birds and birders!

Feb 29, 2024

It's Leap Day! It’s not often that we have an extra week in February, but this month’s This Month in Birding marks the first time we’ve ever had an episode on the 29th of February. We are joined by Jennie Duberstein, Nicole Jackson, and Gabriel Foley for a panel that is as unique as this day to talk eBird streaks, landfill condors, brilliant falcons, and more. 

Links to articles discussed in this episode:

One's trash is another's treasure: How landfills support Andean condors

Innovative problem solving by wild falcons

Yellow-crested Helmetshrike rediscovered

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!

 
 
 
Feb 22, 2024

Way back in 2019, we first spoke with Trish O’Kane about the Birding to Change the World program she had instituted at the University of Vermont, where she is a lecturer and environmental educator, because of an essay she had written for The New York Times. She's back 5 years later to talk about her new memoir, appropriately titled Birding to Change the World, which recounts her journey from nascent bird obsessive to activist to environmental educator through the effort to protect a much-loved urban park in Madison, Wisconsin.

Also, Emperor Penguin colonies are all accounted for in Antarctica, thanks to poop-tracking satellites. 

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!

 
 
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.

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!

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. 

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!

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.

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!

 
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?

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!

 
 
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

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!

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

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!

 
 
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!

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!

 
 

 

 

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