Birding Online: October 2021

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

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

Eagle-eyed readers may notice something different about the editors of this issue. That’s right, editors, plural. This issue is the first issue that Frank Izaguirre shares editorial duties with long-time Editor Ted Floyd. Frank has been part of the Birding family for a while now. He has compiled the Book & Media Reviews since Rick Wright stepped down in June of 2019. The October issue is essentially Frank’s “training” issue to get used to the reins. We’ll be seeing a lot more of him!

“Eastern” Song Sparrow. Photo by © Ashrith Kandula.

In “Birding Together,” ABA Board member Jordan Roderick extends an invitation for anyone with fundraising, legal, and youth camp experience to apply to the ABA Board of Directors. As Jordan says, “New people bring new ideas, and that is valuable.”

This month’s cover features a gorgeous Song Sparrow photo from Ashrith Kandula. Ashrith is not only on the cover – he gives us the gift of a Photo Salon focusing on this one delightful bird. You can click here to flip open to the Photo Salon.

On the topic of Song Sparrows, Tom Stephenson regales us with tales of the songs that gave them their name. You’ve heard them before – but do you know how to recognize one when you’re in a different region than normal? In Tom’s feature article, he walks us through the characteristics that make their songs so distinctive and recognizable, even if you’re away from home.

These are only two of the six (!) feature articles in this issue! Two of the others are both illustrated by artist Sal Ingraham. Sal illustrated “Tom Swifties for Birders” by Jeffrey Hall, a birdy homage to the “Tom Swifties” of the 1960s, a genre of jokes that use adverbs copiously. They also illustrated “Scope Hog” by Sandra Paci, a field guide to some of the birders we all know and love from group birding tours.

The other two features are brought to us by Noah Strycker, who tells us about his experience in “The Least-Birded County in the US” (it was Martin County, West Virginia, although it may be a different county now!), and Mac McCall, who shares his friend John Patten (“JP”)’s COVID-shortened attempt at a Green Big Year on unicycle in “A Big Year on One Wheel.”

Don’t forget to check out the Birding interview, which is with Heather Lynch this month, who tells us about computer algorithms, penguins, and science in Antarctica.

This month’s Featured Photo focuses on differentiating between two genuses that have likely stumped all of us more than once: Empidonax and Contopus flycatchers. Click here to flip open to Tony Leukering’s analysis. I know I learned a lot of new things in this one!

Click here to flip open to October’s Book & Media Reviews in the issue – and don’t forget you can keep up with reviews on the ABA website, too. This month:

  • Lori Potter reviews “Vesper Flights” by Helen MacDonald and “Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Piece” by Carl Safina.
  • Justin Peter reviews “A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey” by Jonathan Meiburg.
  • Rick Wright reviews “The Glitter in the Green: In Search of Hummingbirds” by Jon Dunn.

And at the end of the reviews, you’ll see the second installment of “Frank’s Bird Book Bulletin.” In this bulletin, Frank shares recently-published bird media that you may enjoy. Keep an eye on this section for the next addition to your “To Read” list!

As always, this is only skimming the surface of this issue. Click here to open to the Table of Contents. Enjoy, and happy birding!