The cactus wren, unlike so many other birds, is the same species now as when I first laid eyes on one 30 years ago. It has the same scientific name and the same standard English name. It’s still a passerine, and still a wren, still in pretty much the same place in the field guide. It sings the same song, wears the same plumage, and haunts the same habitats.
About Ted FloydTed Floyd is the longtime Editor of Birding magazine, and he is broadly involved in other programs and initiatives with the ABA. Ted has written 200+ magazine articles and 5 books, including How to Know the Birds (National Geographic, 2019). He is a frequent speaker at birding festivals and has served on several nonprofit boards. Join Ted at The ABA Blog for his semimonthly spot, “How to Know the Birds,” celebrating common birds and the uncommonly interesting things they do.
I didn’t consciously note it at the time, but May 15, 2021, was the start of my 20th year of employment at the American Birding Association. No, it doesn’t “feel like yesterday.” It feels like 19 long years since May 15, 2002, and I mean that in the best way possible.
While away a half hour with phalaropes and shovelers or whatever else you got at your local patch. You’ll surprise yourself. You might surprise all of us!
It is useful to establish a universal nomenclature for the various species of jays—and everything else that crawls, slithers, sprouts, and flies on this Earth. That’s why we have official scientific names in the culturally neutral dead language of Latin.
If there are “postage stamp preserves,” then this one, all of 72 acres, is a pixel of a preserve. Blink and you’ll miss it. Siri couldn’t get me there; she had me park halfway down a cul-de-sac, then walk through a yard with barking dogs.
The pandemic has highlighted what was until recently a consistently undervalued virtue of birding.
March comes in like a lion, it is said, and nowhere is that truer perhaps than at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills where I live. A full-on pride of lions, many a March. But not in 2021. It had been pleasant, even up in the high mountains...
I had been upstairs on a sleepy Saturday morning, working on Birding magazine production, when there arose a tremendous clamor below. My kids had just rescued a northern saw-whet owl from the clutches of an outdoor cat.
What we absolutely need more of, not less of, in this society of ours is kids—kids who will become adults—who learn about gadwalls: how to recognize them; how to understand them; ultimately, how to care about them.
If you haven’t done a lot of birding this year, I don’t blame you. At the same time, if you’ve found solace in birds—even the most ordinary and workaday of birds—I’m right there with you.