Associate Editor, Birding magazine

Welcome to Birding Online! From this page, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the December 2017 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online content, can be found at:

December’s cover is a reconstruction of the image on a pottery bowl, specifically UCM 03238, in the collection of the (c) University of Colorado Museum of Natural History. (Thank you, University of Colorado!) This image features one of the Hero Twins celebrated in the creation saga of the Mimbres people, from present-day New Mexico. Flocking to this Hero Twin are two Scarlet Macaws. In December’s “News and Notes,” Paul Hess teaches us about the history of Scarlet Macaws in the ABA Area, the culture of the Mimbres people, and how the two intertwine. You can read his tale on page 24 of the online issue (and don’t forget to flip back a couple of pages to read his news about that funky little thing we call the “alula,” as well!)

Image courtesy of (c) University of Colorado Museum of Natural History–object no. UCM 03238.

Personally, I love this cover, and I hope you do as well. It’s a gorgeous reminder of the connections that people have felt with birds for centuries, and in fact, millennia. We bird-lovers and nature-lovers continue a tradition that was born many generations before us. Plus, I love a good creation story. Do you have any favorite myths or legends about birds? Feel free to share in the comments!

Do not fear: After you’ve savored Paul Hess’ story of the Mimbres people and their Scarlet Macaws, there is plenty more for you to enjoy. December’s Featured Photo provides a new challenge: the photographers don’t know what it is! Stretch your mental muscles and lend a hand identifying this beautiful little bird on the ABA Blog, then read the authors’ take on this Unidentified Flying Object in the issue itself. Any ideas?

Centro de Investigación de Ecosistemas Acuáticos, Morazán-Chinandega region, northwestern Nicaragua; September 3, 2017. Photo by © Marvin A. Torrez.

And as always, there’s a lot more where that came from for the Book Reviews. On page 66, Diana Doyle finds some new leg room to delve into the Endemic Birds of Cuba by Nils Navarro. You can find that same review on the ABA Blog. And if you liked Chris Benesh’s review of The Australian Bird Guide, by Peter Menkhorst and friends, you can read his extended version on page 67. It has a twin on the ABA Blog, as well.

Of course, there is plenty more to explore in this issue. One of my personal favorite parts of the December issue is the Birding Interview with John Kricher. You can find your own favorite by diving in and clicking around on the Table of Contents. I hope you enjoy! Happy holidays, and happy birding!