Birding Online: December 2022

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

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On the Cover: Elegant Tern, Charlotte Co., Florida, May 22, 2022. Photo by © Reinhard Geisler.

A crested tern glides across December’s cover. Can you tell what species? In Florida, vagrant & hybridizing terns have introduced an array of fun identification challenges. Bill Pranty, John Groskopf, and Valeri Ponzo bring us this month’s Featured Photo, and explain in fantastic detail what tern species are typically present in Florida, which species have shown up unexpectedly, and how to tell them all apart. You can click here to flip open to their analysis – and make sure to explore the extended online content, because there is a lot of it.

We are honored to celebrate young birders in a few different ways this month:

Laura Guerard, Young Birder Programs Coordinator, walks us through the young birder highlights of 2022. She also invited a few alumni to share our experiences, and I was honored to be included in this, along with Johanna Beam and Adrianna Nelson. Click here to hear how 2022 went, and where some of us have gone a few years after we participated in our own programs.

Speaking of the mentoring program, have you seen the incredible work these young birders make? If not, you’re in for a treat. Click here to flip open to a selection of the stunning illustrations, photographs, field notebook pages, and Conservation & Community projects that this year’s participants created. To all of our young birders: thank you for always blowing us away! If you are a birder who is 10-18 years old, or you know someone that age, please join us! By the time you’re reading this, the registration for the 2023 contest will be closed, but you can register for the following year starting in June. We would love to have you. Click here to read about this program, and how to register next year.

In other news, Frontiers in Ornithology is brought to us this month by guest author William von Herff, who takes us on a wild aerial ride to explore where Black Swifts go at night. The answer? It turns out: up. Click here to learn more about the nocturnal flights of swifts, and the researchers who study them.

December’s Book Reviews, as always, take their full form online. Click here to flip open to the beginning of the reviews in the online magazine. In this issue:

  • Jennifer Rycenga reviews “Adventures of a Louisiana Birder: 1 Year, 2 Wings, 300 Species,” by Marybeth Lima, and “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction,” by Mary Ellen Hannibal
  • Justin Peter reviews “Estrildid Finches of the World,” by G. Jelmer Huisman
  • Susan Maakestad reviews “Birdpedia: A Brief Compendium of Avian Lore,” by Christopher W. Leahy

And don’t forget to check out Rebecca’s Bird Book Bulletin for the newest bird books and media available, including a special section on bird books for kids!

Finally, we hope you will join us in supporting the ABA by contributing to our Year-End Appeal. All of the work that we do, from running those young birder programs, ABA Travel, publishing this magazine, and more, is only possible because of support from birders like you. Click here to chip in to the Year-End Appeal – and thank you.

We hope you enjoy this issue, terns, swifts, and all! Until we meet again, happy birding.