Birding Online: December 2023

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

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On the cover of the December 2023 issue of Birding magazine, a Maui Parrotbill perches and looks to the left. The parrotbill is a green bird with a black eyemask and a hooked bill.

On the cover: The critically endangered Maui Parrotbill, or Kiwikiu. Photo by © Eric VanderWerf.

Welcome to the December 2023 issue of Birding!

On the cover, a Kiwikiu (or Maui Parrotbill) shows off its distinct curved bill. Did you know the Kiwikiu did not have a known Hawaiian name until 2010? Eric VanderWerf shares the story in his online-only About the Cover.

Although December looks different all over the ABA Area, one shared factor that many birders look forward to in the winter is finch irruptions. As we look into the future, how might finch irruptions evolve with climate change? Click here to read William von Herff’s exploration of this topic in Frontiers in Ornithology.

This month’s Birding Interview is with Tim Appleton, who created and managed the U.K.’s Rutland Water Nature Reserve, directed the British Birdfair for 31 years, and now directs the Global Birdfair. He talks birdfairs, osprey reintroduction, and global conservation efforts. And there’s more – click here to try your hand at the online-only Bird Brain of Britain quiz, which was a staple event at the British Birdfair!

The first Little Bunting in Eastern North America was photographed in a Pensacola backyard in Mar. 2023 and identified in the ABA’s “What’s This Bird?” Facebook group – not the first mega-rarity to be found through the group! To learn about this charming little bunting, the care taken to protect the privacy of the finders, and how “What’s This Bird?” played a part, flip open to Bill Pranty’s feature article.

As always, the Book & Media reviews take their full form online. In December:

  • Carrie Laben reviews Ann Taylor’s “Joseph W. Taylor: Born to Bird”
  • Sheridan Alford reviews Linda Tuttle-Adams’ “Baby Bird Identification: A North American Guide”
  • Dominic Garcia-Hall reviews Marianne Taylor’s “How Birds Live Together: Colonies and Communities in the Avian World”

Off the mainland, we visit three islands and learn about the conservation of their inhabitants: Hawaii, San Clemente (California), and Metinic Island (Maine). Click on each island to open up to the article for each one. After you’ve read Adrianna Nelson’s piece about the breeding storm-petrels on Metinic Island, check out her companion piece in the Dec. 2023 Fledgling, the online magazine run by ABA young birders!

Speaking of young birders, we are beyond proud to share some of the incredible work that young birders submitted in the 2023 Young Birder of the Year Mentoring Program. Every year, the participants blow us away with their creativity, dedication, and passion, and it is our honor to share a sampler of their field notebook entries, illustrations, photographs, written pieces, and conservation & community projects. Click here to enjoy the fruits of their labor. If you are a young birder, or have any young birders in your life, click here to learn more about the program, and how to register next year. We can’t wait to hear from you!

We are only able to run programs like the YBY Mentoring Program because of your support, and the hard work of our volunteer mentors. Would you like to help the ABA run young birder programs, publish resources like Birding and the American Birding Podcast, and connect birders through the ABA Community? You can support our mission by donating to the End of Year Appeal. Thank you!

As 2023 comes to a close, we thank you for your support, and wish you warm & happy birding. See you in 2024 – when we’ll find out the new Bird of the Year!