Birding Online: April 2023

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

On the Cover: Michelle Tapasco, one of the women of Colombia’s Montezuma Rainforest Reserve and Ecolodge. Photo by Joel Such.

Welcome to the Birder’s Guide to Conservation & Community! In this special FREE issue, you’ll find articles that spotlight birds, their conservation, and the communities working to conserve them. Let’s hop right in!

Click here to view the magazine PDF>>

Ecolodges are famous hotspots for spectacular birds – and that reputation is due in no small part to the spectacular people who run them. In Colombia, the Montezuma Rainforest Reserve and Ecolodge is run by Michelle Tapasco (who is on the cover of the issue) and her family. In an interview with Elena Holly Klaver, Michelle tells the story of how she and her daughters started the ecolodge. You can read the captivating interview in English or Spanish, and soak in stunning photos from the reserve, by clicking here.

After you’ve finished daydreaming about booking a ticket to Colombia, head on over to a completely different Montezuma – Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Seneca Falls, New York. Randi Mineter tells us how an invasive plant, loosestrife, threatened to choke out the plants native to the wetland, until it was mowed back to manageable amounts by carefully introduced beetles. Now that the loosestrife is under control, the wetlands can be managed to support migratory birds. Click here to read all about this refuge and the birds that make use of it.

Since we’ve touched down in the States, let’s stay and think about the State of the Birds. If we want to protect the birds we love and the environments they live in, we first need to understand which birds are doing well, which are declining, and the problems they all face. Click here to join Executive Director Nikki Belmonte in exploring the 2022 State of the Birds Report.

When we talk about the problems that bird face, we can’t leave window-strikes out of the conversation. As Sheri Ellenberger explains in her article, glass collisions are second only to free-roaming cats in terms of human-caused bird deaths. Sheri introduces us to some of the people and organizations working to reduce glass collisions, as well as the strategies we all can use to deter wildlife from hitting our glass windows, doors, and structures. Click here to read all about it.

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has gone without an official mascot since 2007, after removing their previous Native American mascot. The retired mascot has been a point of contention and protests since then, with new mascots being suggested over the years, but none being officially recognized as a replacement. Click here to read Spencer Wilken’s story of how the Belted Kingfisher is winging its way from unlikely suggestion, to student- and staff-supported candidate.

Birders’ Exchange, ABA’s long-running program that has sent thousands of binoculars, spotting scopes, and field guides to birders and programs in need, was hit hard by COVID. Now, the program is restarting, with some exciting updates. We could use your help! Click here to read all about the program and how you can be a part of it, like donating equipment in good condition, volunteering as a courier, supporting financially, or spreading the word.

As always, the Book & Media Reviews take their full, extended form online. Click here to flip straight to them. In this issue,

  • Rebecca Minardi reviews Javier Caletrio’s book, “Low-carbon Birding”
  • Rachel Berardinelli reviews Bob Dolgan’s documentary, “Monty and Rose 2: The World of Monty and Rose”

We hope you enjoy this special issue! Until we meet again, happy birding.