Birding Online: August 2020

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

Welcome to Birding Online! Here, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the August 2020 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online content, can be found at:

Summer is ending, fall migration is beginning, and COVID is still very much a part of our lives. This has been a difficult year. Even when our days are stressful and uncertain, birds and birding bring joy and excitement into our daily lives. We at the ABA want that joy to be accessible to all – which is why we focus on sharing great birding resources for people of all ages, experience levels, and interests, including Birding magazine, the American Birding Podcast, Virtual Bird Clubs, and the Young Birder Mentoring Program. As we have mentioned in previous Birding Onlines, we are doing all this with less advertiser support than normal. If you are able to support us with a donation at, that will help us continue our work. Thank you. Now, let’s delve into what the August issue of Birding holds for us.

The joy of birding should be accessible to all, but as Black Birders Week demonstrated earlier this summer, that is simply not the case at this time. Danielle Belleny is one of the cofounders of Black Birders Week. She joins Birding for an interview to discuss how she fell in love with birding, how Black Birders  Week came to life, and what we can expect from the BlackAFinStem collective in the future.

What can you expect from the ABA? ABA President Jeff Gordon discusses the ABA’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion plans in “Birding Together.”

Okay, let’s talk about what else you can find in the August online issue.

This month’s Birding actually features two interviews – one mentioned above with Danielle Belleny, and one with Rob Neyer, baseball guru and birder. Click here to read Rob Neyer’s interview and learn how baseball and birding intersect in his life.

The Bird of the Year returns! Rick Wright tells us the story of how European natural historians struggled to decide on the Cedar Waxwing’s taxonomy and scientific name. Click here to read how the Cedar Waxwing ended up with the name Bombycilla cedrorum.

The August Book & Media Reviews take on their extended form online, as always. Click here to flip open straight to the beginning of the Book & Media Reviews in the online issue. Here are the reviews that you will find:

  • Ken Blankenship reviews Diana Doyle’s new app, Southeast Arizona Birds: The Missing Tracks. Click here for the extended review on the ABA website. Here is Frank Izaguirre’s note from the extended review: “The ABA thanks Ken Blankenship for his thoughtful and thorough review of Diana Doyle’s Southeast Arizona: The Missing Tracks. As we were going to press, Diana Doyle approached the ABA with an enticing offer: Rather than have her continue to individually host this free resource through DropBox, the ABA could host it on its website for all to access. We agreed, and thanks to the diligent work of Greg Neise, the ABA is proud to facilitate the dissemination of this exciting tool for learning less-widely-known bird vocalizations from a cherished birding hotspot.” Click here to access Diana Doyle’s impressive new tracks.
  • Caitlin Kight reviews Ted Floyd’s How to Know the Birds: The Art and Adventure of Birding. Click here for the extended review on the ABA website. Note: Birding Editor Ted Floyd was not involved in creating and producing this review.
  • Frank Izaguirre reviews Rogue Birder: The Making of a Modern Ornithologist, by M. Ralph Browning. Click here for the extended review on the ABA website.

Ready to learn something new? Well, the August Feature articles should scratch that itch.

Finally, August’s Featured Photo comes from Ted Floyd and Peter Pyle. The two of them team up to discuss how digital photography allows us to see and analyze individual feathers – in this case, rectrices (or tail feathers). Click here to read their analysis in the online issue.

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