Birding Online: January 2023

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

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Happy new year!

On the cover: Queenfisher, by Liz Clayton Fuller.

By this time, you have likely seen the announcement of the 2023 Bird of the Year: the small but mighty Belted Kingfisher. We are so excited to spend this year shining a spotlight on kingfishers. The party begins with a stunning painting by Liz Clayton Fuller on January’s cover. To read the Artist Interview with Liz and learn all about how she made the piece, click here! And for even more words from Liz, listen to the latest episode of the American Birding Podcast.

There is plenty more kingfisher content to be found, including:

  • Primary Thoughts, ABA President Nikki Belmonte’s new column, where she welcomes the kingfisher, as well as some upcoming evolutions in branding and programming at the ABA
  • Genus Genius, a deepdive into the Megaceryle genus with Katie Boord. Do you know what species share the same genus as our beloved kingfisher? And do you know where those species live around the world? I certainly did not!
  • This year’s Coloring Page & Word Search!
  • A book review by Aisha White on “Halcyon Journey: In Search of the Belted Kingfisher” by Marina Richie. As always, the Book & Media Reviews expand into their fullest form online, so click through and read the whole thing!

This is just the tip of the iceberg for the Belted Kingfisher in 2023. We’ve got so much in store – and we hope you will join us in the celebration! One way to do so is by submitting your kingfisher stories for publication in “Celebrations.” All you have to do is email me at with your name, hometown, the date and location of your kingfisher encounter, and any details that made it special. Photos are always welcome, but not required. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Of course, there is a plethora of great content about birds other than kingfishers in this issue.

Do you want to crack into the mystery of the Hen of Peru? Click here to read Rick Wright’s exploration of which bird could possibly be depicted in sixteenth century paintings as the “poule du Pérou.”

In a spectacular article by Jesús Antonio “Chucho” Moo Yam, we meet a number of indigenous birders and tour guides in Latin America who strive to connect birders with the wildlife, conservation issues, and culture of the land they call home: Eduardo Chankin Chankayun in Chiapas, Mexico; Julio Cesar Coloma Prado in Finca Nápoles, Ecuador; Sayama in Santo Domingo de los Tsáchilas, Ecuador; and David de Jesús Bacab Ortiz in Yucatan and Campeche, Mexico. But don’t let me tell you about it – click here to read their words for yourself.

We’ve had a few Codebreaker columns before, where knowledgeable birders share their tips and tricks on how to find some of the ABA Area’s most challenging species. In this issue, Diana Doyle introduces us to the beautiful, yet secretive, Montezuma Quail. If you have ever struggled to find a Montezuma Quail, or if you’re planning a trip to southeast Arizona and want to see everything the region has to offer, or you simply want to learn more about this dashing bird, this is the article for you.

There is so much more to enjoy, so click here to dive straight into the Table of Contents! And until we meet again, happy birding.