IOANA SERITAN
Associate Editor, Birding magazine

Welcome to Birding Online! Here, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the December 2018 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online content, can be found at:

http://birdingmagazine.aba.org/i/1060313-dec-2018

This issue is a special one! Next year marks the ABA’s 50th anniversary. Thank you for being with us along the way! Every one of you makes our community stronger and more beautiful. We’ll be celebrating this anniversary with you all year. The celebration starts here.

One of the first things you’ll notice about your print copy is the gorgeous foldout cover, painted by N. John Schmitt. The second thing may be that it’s just a little bigger than the usual issue. And by just a little, I mean quite a lot bigger. That’s because there is a lot more to the December issue than usual. Look below for the order of your print magazine:

What does this mean for you? It means you aren’t just getting your regular Birding magazine. You’re also receiving your notice for membership renewal, the Year-End Appeal, 2018’s final issue of Birding, and December’s Birder’s Guide to Listing & Taxonomy. It’s like a big, beautiful sandwich. Are you excited? I’m excited!

Because this issue contains so many goodies, we actually don’t have much in the way of extended content online. Actually, the only things that you will find online rather than in the issue are the extended Book Reviews, and an online conversation about this month’s Featured Photo. Let’s talk more about what’s in the physical copy first.

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, we are publishing something very special. You can see it in the image above, second from the bottom, labeled “Vol. 0, No 0 trifold”. You may be able to tell what that is from the name. We are republishing the very first newsletter (Volume 0, Number 0) that went out to a group of birding friends who would become the American Birding Association – and the newsletter itself would become Birding. This newsletter, written by founder James A. Tucker, is a reminder of why all of us are here: to share our love of birds with others. (To read it online, click here!) Would you like to hear more from the man himself? Flip open to page 12 to read this month’s Birding interview with founder James A. (“Jim”) Tucker.

Before we can get to 2019, first we have to catch up on what happened in 2018. The end of the year brings us the 29th report of the ABA Checklist Committee. Whether you’re a lister who has been waiting to update your list, or you were one of the lucky birders who found a rarity, or you’re just plain old curious, this is bound to be an interesting piece. Flip open to page 36 to avail yourself of the Checklist Committee’s decisions.

As you know, we’ve been celebrating the birds of Hawaii this year. Our 6th and final highlighted species is the Hawaiian Duck. It may look similar to the Mallards you’re used to – but it is one of the only three endemic waterfowl species remaining in the Hawaiian islands. Open up to page 32 to enjoy Frank Izaguirre’s tale of the Hawaiian Duck. Thank you for joining us in this yearlong recognition of Hawaiian birds. We’ve learned about the Iiwi, Akikiki, Bonin Petrel, Poo-uli, Red-crested Cardinal, and now Hawaiian Duck. Which one was your favorite?

On to the online content: this month’s Featured Photo requires a slight change of perspective. A literal one. You’ve had this perspective before. How do you identify a bird – especially a warbler – when it turns your point of view upside-down? Check out the photo itself below. What do you think? Join the conversation at the ABA Blog. And when you’re ready to read Patrick Maurice’s analysis, click here.

December 2018 Birding Featured Photo. Quiz Bird A. Eastern Massachusetts, late September. Photo by © Haynes Miller.

Again – the Book Reviews are the only part of the issue that you will find extended online. Lori Potter’s review of Bernd Brunner’s Birdmania: A Remarkable Passion for Birds can be found here in the online issue, and here on the ABA Blog. Rob Fergus’ extended review of The New Neotropical Companion by John Kricher is on the next page in the online issue, or here for the ABA Blog. And finally, Alison L. Beringer’s extended review of Jeremy Mynott’s Birds in the Ancient World: Winged Words is here in the issue, and here on the ABA Blog.

We hope you enjoy this extended issue of Birding! As 2018 comes to a close, we look forward towards 2019. We honor fifty years of coming together and enjoying, appreciating, and protecting wild birds. Here’s to many more. If you would like to help us continue our mission of loving and conserving wild birds, please consider participating in the Year-End Appeal. Thank you – and happy birding.