Spring is in the air in March, at least theoretically across much of the ABA Area. And the last Thursday of the montg means This Month in Birding, our monthy panel discussion the covers all the important and not-so-important bits of birding news from the month that was. This month's panel features Brodie Cass Talbott and Sarah Swanson from Portland Audubon and aeroecologist Mikko Jimenez talking Audubon's name, Bell Bowl Prairie, and what to do about the famous Flaco the Eagle-Owl.
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Birding is booming in Colombia helped, in part, by bird fairs and festivals held throughout the country for Colombian birders in addition to the increased interest shown by visiting birders from around the world. Last month, host Nate Swick got to visit the Colombia Birdfair in Calí, where he met Jose Manuel Martinez, a Colombian birder, and one of a team of birders putting on the event. He’s had a front row seat to Colombia’s fascinating rise as not only a birding destination, but a birding culture.
Interested in traveling to some of the places we talk about? Check out the ABA’s trip to Colombia later in 2023!
We are in a golden age of bird migration science, and birders can only wonder at the ways in which we learn about bird migration in the 21st Century. Rebecca Heisman's new book, "Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration" tells the story of bird migration research to the present, with all the amazing techniques and entertaining characters involved in figuring so much of it out.
Also, the Kowa Scopers are our champions for Champions of the Flyway.
Birding editor Ted Floyd returns to join host Nate Swick for "Birding, Annotated". In the doldrums of early March, both Ted and Nate each took a birding outing to a local spot and return chat about it. Hear their thoughts on the coming spring, junco diversity, counting birds in eBird, the importance of the regular checklist. Check out Ted's checklist from Lafayette, Colorado, and Nate's from Greensboro, North Carolina.
Also, the Dusky Tetraka is back! Or perhaps more accurately, no one was really looking for it.
2022 was an exceptional year for rare bird sightings in the ABA Area, with no fewer than three first ABA records and an absolute avian smorgasbord of interesting and unexpected records from all corners of the US and Canada. As difficult as it is to choose the best, North American Birds editor Amy Davis and writer and teacher Tim Healy join host Nate Swick to attempt to do so, or at the very least, have some fun remembering the highlights of last year.
Also, Nate is back from a fantastic trip to the Colombia Birdfair.
February might be the shortest month, but that doesn’t mean it gets the short shrift when it comes to This Month in Birding. We’ve got a great panel this month that absolutely adores as is appropriate for the season. Jody Allair from Birds Canada, Sarah Bloemers of the Bird Sh*t Podcast, and our friend Nick Lund, the Birdist, join us to talk about Steller's Jay splits, Hawaiian Island Restoration, the possible return of the Dodo, and much more!
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You don’t have to be a birder for a long time to appreciate that birds are capable of producing an astonishing array of colors and patterns, even those beyond what our weak human eyes can discern. Hidden in that avian rainbow are clues to bird taxonomy and evolution, which is the work of our guest Whitney Tsai Nakashima, a researcher at Occidental College’s Moore Lab of Zoology.
Young birders who have participated in the ABA’s Camp Avocet or Maine’s well known Hog Island Audubon Camp, are no doubt familiar with Holly Merker. But that only scratches the surface of her contributions to the birding world. A former member of the ABA’s Recording Standards and Ethics Committee, and one of the authors of the well-received and timely Ornitherapy, she is the recipient of the ABA’s Award for Conservation and Education, formerly the Betty Peterson Award. She joins The American Birding Podcast to talk about mindful birding and applying ethics.
Also, the wild story of the Pfeilstorch.
When it was first released in 1983, Peter Harrison’s Seabirds: An Identification Guide was immediately hailed as a classic of the birding literature, an accolade it not relinquished in 40 years. And so it was with much excitement that Peter released the New Identification Guide in 2021, practically a different and far more comprehensive book. Peter Harrison is an artist, an author and a conservationist, an MBE, and still perhaps the authority on the birds of the world’s largest biome.
Plus, an ignoble end to a first ABA Area record.
We have reached the end of the first month of 2023 and it is once again time for This Month in Birding on The American Birding Podcast. For this panel we welcome a fascinating group of birders to geek out a little about birds. Martha Harbison, Dexter Patterson, and Jordan Rutter join us to talk about molt terminology, shushers, bright white woodcock tails and more.
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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 number of holarctic species, a pair of warblers and one of Ted’s 10 favorite bird species. Well, maybe…
Plus, some thoughts and the most gull rich metro in the ABA Area.
Much of North America is gripped in the depths of winter. It’s cold. It’s snowy. It’s frequently unpleasant. But for those that push through, the birding can be oh so rewarding. This is especially true in places where the winter hits hardest. Diehard Minnesota birder Erik Bruhnke is guide for Victor Emanuel Nature Tours and a stalwart at birding festivals. He joins Nate to talk about winter birding, leading bird tours and cool bird facts.
Also, Nate talks Costa Rica birding and a frustrating anti-feeder law.
Happy New Year List! It's finally time to celebrate our 2023 Bird of the Year, the Belted Kingfisher! And to help jumpstart a year of kingfisher content, we're excited to welcome this year's artist, Liz Clayton Fuller. Host Nate Swick chatted with Liz about kingfishers, her 2023 cover art "Queenfisher", and her work streaming art on Twitch. I think you'll agree that she is a delight.
Also, Nate shares his first Belted Kingfisher experience and invites listeners to send theirs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to all our listeners and supporters for another exceptional year. To wrap up 2022, we welcome back some insightful and entertaining birder friends to the last This Month in Birding for the year. We're joined by Popular Science's Purbita Saha, science writer Ryan Mandelbaum, and The Birdist, Nick Lund to talk about the biggest birding trends of 2022 and our best birding experiences of the year.
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ABA staffers Katinka Domen and Ted Floyd recently accompanied an ABA excursion to the land of penguins and albatrosses. They join host Nate Swick to talk about what it's like to visit the southernmost continent on Earth, and what ecotourism looks like in this unique place.
Also, the ABA Bird of the Year 2023 is Belted Kingfisher!
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 2022. 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. Or yourself, we don't judge. We are joined by 10,000 Birds book reviewer Donna Schulman and Birding magazine editor Frank Izaguirre to talk about what we loved this year in bird books.
For a full list of the books discussed, please see the ABA Podcast website.
One of the issues that the birding community has been reckoning with for the last several years is how we can encourage a broader coalition of nature enthusiasts to join us and to share the joy of birding. It’s an issue that Dr. Drew Lanham has given a great deal of thought. Lanham is a distinguished professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, a recent MacArthur Genius Grant recipient, and his memoir, The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair With Nature was published in 2017. In this encore episode from 2018, he joins host Nate Swick to talk about his experiences as a black man who loves what he calls one of “the whitest things you can do”.
Also, a small adjustment in our winter finch expectations.
Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating! How about a fun bird discussion to go along with our one and only bird-related holiday? Nate Swick is joined by Bird Sh*t's Mo Stych, aeroecologist Mikko Jimenez, and the ABA's own Greg Neise to talk about eBird status and trends, hybrid chickadees, bird rediscoveries, and our avian zodiac signs.
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The ABA is gearing up to announce its 2023 Bird of the Year but we’re not ready to say good-bye to the year of the Burrowing Owl just yet. With that in mind, we welcome Colleen Wisinski and Susanne Marczak of the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance’s Burrowing Owl Recovery Program to talk about their efforts to protect the local population of Burrowing Owls and what they’ve learned about the species in doing so.
Also, Nate is back from a great Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival.
A warmer and drier world means, unfortunately, a world in which wildfire becomes a greater risk. We know, all too well, the risk these fires pose to wild places, but there is surprisingly little we know about the risk to wildlife. That is the work of Dr. Olivia Sanderfoot, a researcher at UCLA looking at the impacts of wildfire smoke on wild birds and trying to answer a few of those increasingly relevant questions.
Also, a new bird endurance record!
If the English language is an amalgamation of words from thousands of other languages and cultures, then English common bird names are that writ small. They're a hodgepodge of from every possible source and an endless supply of amazing bird history and trivia. WINGS guide Susan Myers's new work, called The Bird Name Book, is a fascinating combination of etymology and ornithology, and she joins us to talk about it.
It's the end of October and time for our monthly This Month in Birding panel. This week features a fun crew with MD/DC Bird Atlas coordinator Gabriel Foley, Birding magazine editor Frank Izaguirre, and Sarah Swanson, author of the new Best Little Book of Birds: Oregon Coast. The panel geeks out over woodpecker brains, commiserates over the sobering State of the Birds, and suggests exciting bird costume ideas for Halloween, among other things.
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Every spring, thousands of Red Knots congregate on the Delaware Bay to take advantage of the horseshoe crab spawn. Fueled by crab eggs they finish a migration that spans from the southern tip of South America to the northern reaches of North America. That essential link in this migratory chain is, once again, under threat, which concerns the environmental law group Earthjustice and partners. Tim Preso of the Biodiversity Defense Program is here to talk about what birders need to know about this new threat.
Also, check out the new ABA Community!
Baby birds are arguably one of the great identification frontiers of birding. Try to identify a gangly, fluffy mess of a bird and you immediately recognize the need for a real resource to help you out. Artist and bird rehabilitator Linda Tuttle-Adams is the author of a new book, Baby Bird Iidentification: A North American Guide, to set us right. She joins the American Birding Podcast to talk about identification of baby birds and why bird rehabilitation matters.
We’re certainly in the golden age of bird science, with more birders, more researchers, and more tools available to both of them to solve many of the great ornithological mysteries and to marvel at the capabilities of birds. National Audubon and a few bird science partners have put a lot of this modern science in a sleek simple package called the Bird Migration Explorer, a guide to the annual journeys of 450 birds in the Americas. Audubon scientists Melanie Smith and Chad Witko join us to talk the explorer and the wonders of bird migration.