Birding Online: October 2020

Birding Specials Editor

Welcome to the Birder’s Guide to Conservation & Community Special Issue of Birding! Its goal is to highlight efforts being made in the realms of conservation, community building, and environmental education—all of which lead to healthier bird populations and happier birders.

The ABA continues to strive to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in birding and in the environmental movement in general: We welcome you to participate by sharing your knowledge and experiences via the ABA’s various media channels, including Birding and North American Birds magazines, the ABA Podcast, and the ABA webpage, and our Virtual Bird Club. This is especially important as we strive to lift up birders of color and other traditionally marginalized groups, whose voices are all too often overlooked. On page 6 Tykee James writes about how birding and the Black Lives Matter movement intersected during #BlackBirdersWeek, a celebratory social media campaign that succeeded spectacularly in spotlighting the vibrant and growing community of Black birders.

Speaking of communities of color, in this issue Ariel Elliott lays out the tremendous efforts leading to the successful creation and maintenance of an urban national wildlife refuge, Valle de Oro, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Urban settings have a profound impact on birds and other wildlife, as Lauren Pharr and Andy Jones explain in their articles, which focus on, among other topics, the effects of artificial light.

And there’s more good news to share. Human-altered landscapes needn’t always be bad for birds, as Raymond VanBuskirk explains while outlining virtues and complications involved with the production and marketing of shade-grown coffee. And Jennie Duberstein and Lacrecia Johnson report to us on the current efforts to re-establish a population of “Masked” Bobwhite in southeastern Arizona.

Finally, we also have online-only content in the form of two book reviews. Carrie Laben reviews Vulture: The Private Life of an Unloved Bird by Katie Fallon, and Daphne Gemmill reviews Mrs. Pankhurt’s Purple Feather: Fashion, Fury, and FeminismWomen’s Fight for Change.

As always, we welcome and depend on you to let us know what you did and didn’t like in this issue, so that we may start planning for the future. If there’s a topic missing that you feel deserves coverage, please pass it along. Even better: Write about it yourself for the next issue! And please consider sharing this issue by giving your hard copy to a friend when you’re done.

Once again, I invite you to make your voice heard within the birding community. Please don’t hesitate to contact me at with your ideas for future content. Now let’s get out there and continue our work to make the world a more verdant and equitable place for all.