tfloyd

About Ted Floyd

Ted 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.

How to Know the Birds: No. 25, Butterbutt, We Hardly Knew Ye

One of the greatest things about being a birder (and, to be fair, a butterflyer or a botanizer or an astronomer) is that things like yellow-rumped warblers are even out there at all. A warbler of all things! In the dead of winter! In frigid Denver!

How to Know the Birds: No. 25, Butterbutt, We Hardly Knew Ye2020-01-14T20:07:33-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 24, The Owl of the Decade

The great horned owl is the most widespread and, you might say, the most ordinary owl in the ABA Area. But here’s the deal. Tweet a 7-second video of B. virginianus, and the entire twitterverse takes note. Not all that long ago, we birders were just a tad embarrassed by the star power of owls.

How to Know the Birds: No. 24, The Owl of the Decade2020-01-07T22:09:37-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 23, Parakeet Possessions

The parakeets own this place. They shriek and squeak and squawk like nobody’s business. They’re green, for crying out loud. Like Huckleberry Finn, that most exemplary and free-spirited of Americans, they come and go as they please. The Monk Parakeets are Brooklyn originals, born and bred in Green-Wood Cemetery, native New Yorkers to the core.

How to Know the Birds: No. 23, Parakeet Possessions2019-12-17T10:47:38-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 22, The Common Kiskadee

Without giving it too much thought, What are some of the great places in the ABA Area? Alaska and Hawaii, for starters. The Chiricahuas, the Salton Sea, and the Everglades, needless to say. Cape May and Central Park and Montrose Point, of course. But I want to make a special shoutout here to South Texas, and to the lower Rio Grande valley in particular.

How to Know the Birds: No. 22, The Common Kiskadee2019-12-07T20:32:25-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 21, Hawaii’s Most Perfect Bird

As I watched the snoozing tattler, I gave thought again to the matter of belonging—to the conundrum of a bird that “belongs” to salt spray and sea rocks in the tropics, but also to remote and rugged mountains in the arctic, to lonely expanses of open ocean, to homeless encampments along a multi-use trail, to the glitz and glitter of the big city.

How to Know the Birds: No. 21, Hawaii’s Most Perfect Bird2019-12-07T21:15:10-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 20, Alien Fairies in the Big City

Before we proceed any further, let’s play a little game. Let’s pretend we don’t know where we are. We scan around for clues and we see: Rush hour traffic—check. Pedestrians—check. Palm trees—check. Tall buildings—check. So far, so good. We’re plausibly in any one of those five densely populated cities. Now take a look directly overhead:

How to Know the Birds: No. 20, Alien Fairies in the Big City2019-12-07T20:33:53-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 19, A Big (Little) White (Blue) Egret (Heron)

The bird stood on the railing just beyond the high-rise hotel where I was staying. Moments earlier, a speedwalker had stopped for a moment to marvel with me at the beautiful beast. “We get a lot of those around here,” he informed me, sensing correctly that I wasn’t a local.

How to Know the Birds: No. 19, A Big (Little) White (Blue) Egret (Heron)2019-12-07T20:34:35-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 18, Flickers in the Flick of a Tongue

At my daughter’s soccer practice the other day, I saw an adult male Red-shafted Flicker. Pretty typical for this kind of woodpecker—feeding on the ground. Hm. If you calculated a time budget for the bird, I’m pretty sure you’d find that it spends more time feeding on lawns and in meadows than pecking on limbs and boughs.

How to Know the Birds: No. 18, Flickers in the Flick of a Tongue2019-12-07T21:19:53-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 17, Grackles in the Blink of an Eye

On a sunny afternoon a couple of weeks ago, we were at a truck stop on I-70 in eastern Colorado. It was a solid two hours from home, what with the Friday evening rush in the Denver metro region still to come.

How to Know the Birds: No. 17, Grackles in the Blink of an Eye2019-12-07T21:20:37-05:00

How to Know the Birds: No. 16, Calliope Futures

On a not-exactly-a-bird-walk a week or so ago, one of the participants, Roberta, was intent on documenting whatever it is that was happening in the general vicinity of a pot full of patriotic petunias...

How to Know the Birds: No. 16, Calliope Futures2019-12-07T17:48:24-05:00