One of the major birding trends of the 21st Century has been a move away from a sole interest in birds. This is facilitated by an ever increasing library of field guides to various taxa, smartphone apps that make it easier than ever to identify and catalog the things we see, and a general nature aesthetic that has become a bigger part of how we interact with the natural world. In this episode I welcome two birders who have whole-heartedly thrown themselves into this new reality. Jody Allair is researcher and environmental educator with Bird Studies Canada at Long Point, Ontario, and Frank Izaguirre is a writer and naturalist, currently in Morgantown, West Virginia. His Tools of the Trade article, All the Wonders of the World: iNaturalist and Birding is featured in the latest issue of the ABA’s Birding magazine.

Jody and Frank share a ton of great resources for birders looking to expand their nature knowledge at the bottom of this post.

Also in this episode, opinions on the proposal to change the name of Gray Jay to Canada Jay. You can help us out by participating on our listener demographic survey here.

Jody’s Picks



LepSnap – Community field guide curated by amateur and professional Lepidoptersists. Similar to iNaturalist as it uses AI to help identify your moth or butterfly observations.

Websites: – The essential online resource to help identify and learn more about the natural history of insects, spiders and their kin. – Have you ever wanted to identify and learn more about North America’s singing insects? Look no further! This fantastic, user-friendly website is a one-stop shop for photos, audio recordings, and ID tips for this amazing collection of insects.

Insects: Their Natural History and Diversity by: Stephen A. Marshall – Absolutely the best resource for anyone interested in Entomology. Don’t be fooled by the size, this is not just a textbook, it also includes a photographic guide to insects of eastern North America.

Guide to Night-Singing Insects of the Northeast by: John Himmelman – not only an excellent field guide that includes a CD of audio recordings, it’s also a great read!

Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America by: Eric R Eaton and Kenn Kaufman – One of the best introductory guides to insect diversity and identification on the market.

Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America by: Jim P. Brock and Kenn Kaufman – My favourite North American Guide to butterflies

Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America by: David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie – A game changer. I don’t think the release of any field guide ever filled me with the same level of anticipation as this one. I basically use it all summer and I’m already on my second book after killing the first. *the next guide to Southeastern North America will be released in March 2018.

The Butterflies of Canada by: Ross A. Layberry, Peter W. Hall, And J. Donald Lafontaine – An essential atlas style book for Canadian butterfly enthusiasts.

Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East by: Dennis Paulson – There is a great selection of regional guides to Odonates in North America but this guide is the best field guide for the broad geographic area of eastern North America

Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes by: Lawrence M. Page and Brooks M. Burr – Fish ID is the new mothing.

Peterson Field Guides, A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians by: Joseph T. Collins and Roger Conant – The go to guide for this cool group of animals.

A Field Guide to North Atlantic Wildlife by: Noble S. Proctor and Patrick J. Lynch – an excellent companion guide for those on east coast pelagic birding trips. And who knows it may even help prevent a mutiny if the boat captain stops the boat to look at a whale.

The Sibley Guide to Trees by: David Allen Sibley – One of the most visually appealing tree guides I have ever used. If reading this doesn’t motivate you to get outside and start identifying trees then perhaps trees aren’t your thing.

Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide by: Lawrence Newcombe – an old school standard. This guide will have you looking at plant ID like a botanist.

Frank’s Picks

Moth Photographers Group – A fantastic and exhaustive resource for IDing North American moths. Especially helpful because it’s arranged by plates.

Hoppers of North Carolina – Even though it’s for NC, a good resource for a lot of the east.

The Feather Atlas – Learned about this from a Birder’s Guide article!

Beetles of Eastern North America by Arthur Evans – A big book and a little tedious to look through, but it makes beetles at least somewhat doable.

Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David Wagner – I don’t love the format, but it does have a lot of cats, although not all.

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 other Thursday for news and happenings, recent rarities, guests from around the birding world, and features of interest to every birder.