Welcome to Birding Online! Here, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the February 2019 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online content, can be found at:
This year, the ABA celebrates its 50th anniversary. Thank you for being with us on this journey, whether you have been a member since Day 1, or a new friend who joined yesterday. Our 50th birthday is the perfect time to celebrate the years that have passed, and anticipate the years to come. ABA President Jeff Gordon shares his reflections on the past and his goals for our future in “Birding Together”. To celebrate our 50th, artist Megan Massa has created this beautiful portrait of our Bird of the Year: the Red-billed Tropicbird. Actually, to be more accurate, she created three beautiful pieces.
Red-billed Tropicbird, painted by Megan Massa.
Megan Massa’s first piece features the bird front and center. In the other two, she offers a different perspective (literally), and focuses on the human element. After all, there is no birdwatching without the watcher, and no ABA without the people. To read her own thoughts, and enjoy a digital portrait of the artist herself, flip to the Artist Interview on page 16. If you want more information on what the Red-billed Tropicbird even is, and where to find it, check out this introductory article written by Peter Pyle and myself.
One of the ways that the ABA looks into the future is by nurturing young birders. I was lucky enough to benefit from that when I participated in the Young Birder of the Year contest… but this is far bigger than just me. You may notice that this issue’s “Contributor” page includes numerous young birdlovers, like Bird of the Year artist Megan Massa, and college freshman Elisa Yang. (Speaking of which, you can read Elisa’s article about California coastal Cactus Wrens, and the habitat they depend on, by clicking here.) Even John Dillon’s article highlights the joys of introducing high school students to the magic of the natural world. We hope to support not just the birders of today, but also the birders of tomorrow. You can read Ted Floyd’s own retrospection on the ABA’s yesterday, today, and tomorrow, in his Letter From the Editor.
Speaking of today and tomorrow, one change you might have picked up on is a little makeover of News & Notes. It will still have the same great content – but under a different name. Now, when you’re looking for easy-to-digest descriptions of the latest ornithological news, flip open to “Frontiers in Ornithology.” This month’s column from Paul Hess breaks down how bats and hummingbirds hover, and what we can learn from flamingoes in Florida.
Ready to challenge yourself with something other than the molt patterns of Red-billed Tropicbirds? How about two birds that we really aren’t sure about? For this month’s bird quizzes, there are no definite answers in the magazine. Flip open to their portraits, and then join us at the ABA Blog to share your thoughts. We want to hear what you have to say!
Last, but not least, Sandra Paci reviews The Wall of Birds: One Planet, 243 Families, 375 Million Years by Jane Kim, with Thayer Walker. The write-up is also here on the ABA Blog.
Did I skip your favorite part of the issue? Sorry! There’s just so much to choose from! Click here to jump to the Table of Contents and find your own favorite article. I hope you enjoy. Until then, happy birding – and find somewhere fun to stick your BOY stickers!