Birding Online: March 2023

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

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On the Cover: Ring-billed Gull, by Marky Mutchler.

A strikingly heterochromatic Ring-billed Gull stares straight out of the March cover, putting us in a perspective that has likely been shared by hundreds of hapless fish moments away from becoming lunch. This wonderful photograph is brought to us by Marky Mutchler, who has more to say about this bird and its stunning eyes. Click here to flip straight to her online-only article. Then, let’s keep going – there’s plenty more where that came from!

March’s Birding Interview is with Judith Mirembe, a birding tour guide, researcher, and nature conservationist in Uganda. With the Uganda Women Birders Initiative, she and other members of the initiative hope to empower women in the fields of birdwatching, nature guiding, and conservation. As Judith says, “When you train a women, you train a nation…” Click here to flip open to her interview and read what she has to say.

Have you tried the Merlin Bird ID App? If you haven’t tried it yourself, you’ve likely heard from friends who are using it, or seen birders using it in the field. A lot has changed since Merlin first rolled out in 2014. Diana Doyle gives us a detailed breakdown of where Merlin started, where it is now, how it works, and how to use it if you would like to add it to your arsenal of birding tools. Click here to read her fantastic Tools of the Trade.

Speaking of digital tools, if you haven’t heard about ABA Community, make sure to click here and read David Hartley’s note. The ABA has been hard at work to provide you with a safe, fun way to connect with other birders; a website that isn’t plagued by the technical problems of other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. We hope you’ll join us in ABA Community, a site that really is made by birders, for birders. You can follow your friends, post in channels with your bird ID questions, share memes and photographs, and more. Come on in – the water’s fine.

Continuing our celebration of the Belted Kingfisher this year, Jennifer Rycenga brings us “BEKI’s Halcyon Days,” an exploration of where Belted Kingfishers got their name, and what makes them so special. Did you know that the word “halcyon,” as in the Belted Kingfisher’s scientific name Megaceryle alcyon, comes from a tragic Greek myth about two lovers, Alcyone and Ceyx? Click here to read the whole story, as well as more great details about this lovely bird, from Jennifer.

As always, the Book & Media Reviews take their expanded form online. Click here to flip straight to the first one. This month, we have:

  • Rebecca Heisman, reviewing “Flight from Grace: A Cultural History of Humans and Birds,” by Richard Pope
  • Bryony Angell, reviewing “Celebrating Birds: An Interactive Field Guide Featuring Art from Wingspan” by Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez
  • Kyle Carlsen, reviewing “Understanding Bird Behavior: An Illustrated Guide to What Birds Do and Why” by Wenfei Tong

Of course, this is only a brief overview of what you’ll find in the March issue. We have a Featured Photo regarding that beloved identification challenge: molt, Frontiers in Ornithology, tips on how to stay comfortable while birding, and lots more. Click here to open up the Table of Contents, click around, and find your own favorite article.

One last note – as 2023 rolls on, please continue sending me your Belted Kingfisher stories! We would love to share your kingfisher experiences in Celebrations. Email me at with your name and hometown, the date and location of your sighting, and any details that you would like to share. Photographs are always welcome, but not necessary. Can’t wait to hear from you!