A Message from the ABA Regarding the COVID-19 Emergency

March 29, 2020

Dear ABA Members and Friends,

The past week has been unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. As is the case with all of you, our lives as members of the ABA staff have been filled with anxiety and disruption. Fortunately, all of us on the staff remain healthy, and we have in place a solid plan for working from our homes. The ABA is open for business, and we expect to be able to continue operations for the foreseeable future. With this letter to you, we will outline the ABA programs that will function essentially normally in the months ahead, and we will also let you know about those which must be postponed or canceled.

Print Publications. The April 2020 issue of Birding is in production right now. The content is superb, but, unfortunately, we have had to reduce the page count; this is due to a severe but understandable drop in ad revenue. An abbreviated version of North American Birds will soon go into production, with regional reports appearing online.

Online Content. If there is a silver lining in the cloud of the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, it is the timing of the recent launch of our completely revamped website. Please check the ABA website daily for rare bird alerts, in-depth birding news, regularly updated features, and, of course, news about the COVID-19 emergency as it affects birders. Please note: Full content for the April 2020 Birding, plus North American Birds regional reports, will appear at ABA.org.

Travel and Events. The ABA is experiencing severe disruptions on this front. Unlike many organizations, we have not issued a full stop on all our offerings. We are making decisions carefully, on a case-by-case basis, listening attentively to client input—and, above all else, considering the health and safety of participants. We will post regular updates about postponements and cancellations, as well as, we hope, reschedulings and new opportunities.

The Financial Health of the ABA. It would be dishonest of us to say that the association’s finances have been unaffected by the COVID-19 emergency. Ad revenue is projected to drop further, and we are only beginning to bear the brunt of lost income from events. The ABA has long operated on a lean and efficient budget; overhead and operating expenses are kept to a minimum, and staff salaries are modest. Please help us at the present time by renewing your ABA membership or making a donation. Or call us at 800-850-2473, and we will gladly work with you.

The Wellbeing of Birders Everywhere. The COVID-19 emergency is already taking a severe toll on Americans’ and others’ health—including mental health. While we are distressed that we cannot bird and otherwise interact in person with all of you for the months to come, we are gladdened that the birding community remains strong. Please be in touch with us! We’d love to hear from you online, especially in our new ABA Virtual Bird Club, the details of which will be shared very soon. And keep on birding! As one of our youngest members recently wrote on our website, birding is a healthy and restorative activity “in our backyards and even balconies and porches.” Go birding, take care, and let us know how you’re doing.

Sincerely Yours,

Jeff G., Ted F., David H., Liz G., John L., Greg N., LeAnn P., Michael R., Ed R., Kelly S., Nate S.

The ABA Core Staff