Birding Online: January 2021

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

Welcome to Birding Online! Here, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the January 2021 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online content, can be found here:

Happy new year! I hope all of you stay safe & healthy this year, and see some fun birds too. At the first stroke of midnight in the ABA Area (as in, midnight in Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon), the ABA announced our 2021 Bird of the Year: the Pileated Woodpecker. Our cover features artist Juan Travieso’s vision of the bird. Juan discusses his art and his work in the artist interview, which you can read by clicking here.

“Pileated Woodpecker, Dryocopus pileatus.” Acrylic on wood by © Juan Travieso.

We will celebrate this big, boisterous, beautiful woodpecker all year, and the January issue starts off this celebration with a bang. In your print copy, you should have received your customary Bird of the Year stickers, coloring page, and word search. Where do you display your Bird of the Year stickers? I like to keep mine in my field guide. But I’ve seen impressive collections on binoculars, scopes, laptops, and lots of other places! The coloring page & word search are always fun, especially with little ones. We encourage you to access them in the online edition on pages 17 & 18, and print as many copies as you like.

Of course, the woodpecker content doesn’t stop there. Read on to find Jeff Gordon’s “Birding Together” (click here), as well as 3 feature articles from authors Jennifer Rycenga (click here), Peter Pyle (click here and look for the extended online content), and Frank Izaguirre (click here). Nick Minor brings us a Pileated-flavored installment of “Frontiers in Ornithology” (click here).

It seems like everyone has a story to tell about this charismatic bird. Do you have a story you would like to share? Short (100-150 word) pieces about your memorable experiences with Pileated Woodpeckers are more than welcome at “Celebrations,” and can be emailed to me at for inclusion in the column. Longer pieces can be suggested to Ted Floyd at for potential feature articles. We would love to hear from you.

Okay, moving on to other content. You may remember the April 2020 “Featured Photo,” which was a blotchy black & white bird photographed on Midway Atoll. The bird’s identification was originally discussed by Marcia Blythe and Peter Pyle. In this issue, Doug Pratt floats the possibility of the bird being a Sooty Tern. Click here to read this piece. And click here to read the extended online content, in which Peter Pyle chimes in and responds to this suggestion.

In your print issue, you will find the abridged Book & Media Reviews. Click here to flip open to the beginning of the extended reviews in the online issue.

  • Rick Wright reviews two books, “Where to Watch Birds in France” and “Provence and Camargue: France.” This review will soon be available on the ABA website.
  • Lori Potter reviews “New Guinea: Nature and Culture of Earth’s Grandest Island” by Bruce M. Beehler, with photography by Tim Laman. This review will soon be available on the ABA website.
  • And finally, Laura Keene reviews “Falcon Freeway: A Big Year of Birding on a Budget” by Christian Hagenlocher. This review will soon be available on the ABA website.

Finally, thank you to all of you for supporting our Year-end Appeal! Not only did you help us achieve our goal of $75,000 – you helped us fly right past it! At the time of this writing, you helped us raise well above $100,000. Just like many nonprofit organizations, we lost advertising and tour revenue in 2020. Even with these losses, we have continued to provide Rare Bird Alerts, American Birding Podcast episodes, Virtual Bird Clubs, Listing Central, regular Birding magazines, and lots more resources for your enjoyment & use. We are only able to do this with your help & support. We know birds & birding bring joy and wonder into your lives. Thank you for helping us add to your joy, and spread the joy to others too.

We hope you enjoy this issue. Until next time, happy birding!