Birding Online: November 2020

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

Welcome to Birding Online! Here, all ABA members can access the extended online content from the November 2020 issue of Birding magazine. The complete issue, containing both print and online content, can be found at:

Yes, this is the November issue! You received a Conservation & Community special issue for October, which we hope you have been enjoying. (There is a Birding Online for that special issue, which you can read by clicking right here.)  You will be receiving a special issue for December, and then a regular Birding issue in January! Lots of fun content to look forward to.

In this issue, ABA President Jeff Gordon and young birder Ashwin Sivakumar chime in about Bird Names for Birds. In Jeff’s Birding Together column, he ruminates on “Lawrence’s” warbler and why the movement to change honorific names is growing. His column is a prelude to Ashwin’s thorough & eloquent article, “The Case for an Ornithological Thesaurus.” Ashwin leads us to the question: “Why, when multiple common names exist for many birds, must we legitimize only one?” Click here to read Ashwin’s work in his own words.

Frontiers in Ornithology shines a light on two stories: the research and learning opportunities that have come from birders being at home, and a new discovery of a gene that directs male & female plumage in “mosaic canaries.” Click here to read Paul Hess’ explanations.

Ornithologists Lauryn Benedict and David Logue present us with a lovely twist on a typical interview. The two avian duet specialists perform a duet of their own by asking questions and answering them in tandem. Click here to read about why they study duetting, and what they have learned through their studies. You also might remember that Lauryn Benedict has been on the ABA Podcast before to discuss her work. You can listen to that podcast episode by clicking here.

One of my favorite parts of this issue is Dana Duxbury-Fox’s article: “The Winter Crow Roost.” I never imagined so many crows in one place in my life! Click here to flip to this article and be amazed yourself. You will also find an analysis at the end of the article from urban crow researcher Thomas W. French, sharing what he has learned about crow diets from regurgitated pellets. Maybe I’m biased, but I think that is so neat!

Will Freund brings us the fourth feature article for November, telling the tale of his & his father’s Yard Big Day. Will recounts that he has done Global Big Days before, but he & his father, Chip, were inspired to turn it into a Yard Big Day to stay close to home during the pandemic. Click here to read their account. This article was first published in Celebrations in the Aug. 2020 issue of Birding. Just like Will & Chip, we are all reimagining our birding due to shelter-in-place. How are you birding, and connecting with your family? Feel free to follow in Will’s footsteps and submit your experiences as a Celebration by emailing me at

Sagadahoc County, Maine; Aug. 6, 2020. Photo by © Weston Barker.

This month’s Featured Photo and photo analysis come to us from Weston Barker, a young birder with an eye for molt. What do you think of this hummingbird? Is there a name that pops into your head immediately – and how can you be sure? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. When you’re ready, click here to read his analysis.

In your print issue, you received the abridged Book & Media Reviews. You can find the extended reviews online, either on the ABA website, or in the online issue:

That’s it from me – but that’s only the tip of the iceberg for this issue! Explore, enjoy, and we’ll see you again later this month with another publication.