Birding Online: September 2023

Associate Editor, Birding magazine

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The cover of the September 2023 issue of Birding magazine. A Siberian Accentor perches on a stick and looks out at the viewer, with

On the cover: This stunning Siberian Accentor was photographed on Gambell, Alaska, in Sept. 2021, by © Rodney Ungwiluk Jr.

As summer turns to fall, the September issue should be hitting your mailbox. It’s a good one, featuring rails, buntings, limpkins, and more. Let’s hop right in!

By the time this issue comes out, our new Executive Director, Wayne Klockner, has been in office for a couple of months. Wayne Klockner comes to the ABA with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, including with The Nature Conservancy. Flip open to the Primary Thoughts column to read his bio, and to hear from ABA Board Member Jeff Rusinow on where to find joy and how to look for conservation solutions while birding.

Speaking of bird conservation: September’s Birding Interview is with Terry Rich, who worked a long career in conservation and land management, and then went back to school to earn a PhD studying the behavior of birders. He has a lot to share on how his interest in birds was kindled, what he has learned during his career, and what he hopes for the future.

Rails: they’re cute, they’re fascinating, and they’re a real challenge to see, aren’t they? Yellow Rails are likely at the top of the list for many birders in terms of nemeses. Dave Lambeth brings us a Codebreakers feature on Yellow Rails, which you’ll enjoy whether you’ve seen these hidden treasures or not. Click here to read where to find them, at what times, and how.

September’s Genus Genius is on the varied (ha) and gorgeous genus of Passerina, which in the ABA Area is represented by: Painted Bunting, Indigo Bunting, Varied Bunting, Blue Grosbeak, and Lazuli Bunting, with two more species (Orange-breasted and Rose-bellied buntings) in Mexico. Sharon D. Scott walks us through these species in her article, joined by a slew of beautiful photos.

After you have enjoyed learning about Passerina with Sharon D. Scott, flip open to the Featured Photo, which is a delightful piece from Caleb Strand. This is a unique bird that appears to be a first-record Varied Bunting x Blue Grosbeak hybrid. Caleb Strand explains his experience with the bird, and encourages birders to keep an eye open for more interesting hybrids.

For many listers, seeing 600 ABA Area birds is inspiration to see 700, and seeing 700 is inspiration to see 800. But how can someone actually reach 800 ABA Area birds? George Wood is here to share his personal tips. His article includes helpful advice like the value of pelagic trips, and the need to persevere.

Vagrants often make us ask: where did this bird come from? This was especially true when a Limpkin showed up at Lewiston Landing Waterfront Park in New York in November of 2022. Birders and wildlife professionals became more and more concerned about the bird as it appeared to have trouble eating and breathing. Click here to see how wildlife rehabilitators and volunteers across the East Coast worked together to capture and stabilize the bird, then drive it back to its typical range.

Birding festivals are always great fun. How many of you have been to the Chiapas Birding and Photo Festival in Mexico? This year was the festival’s fourth consecutive year, and Jesús Antonio “Chucho” Moo Yam is here to describe who attended and what spectacular wildlife areas they celebrated. Click here to see what makes the Chiapas Festival so special.

We love and appreciate all young birders – and we are not alone in that! This year, the ABA partnered with photographer and writer Owen Deutsch to create a pathway for writers to have their work published in a professional setting. Click here to read about the program and see the first young writers who were recognized.

Last but not least, the Book & Media Reviews take their full extended form online. You can click here to open straight to the first review. In this issue:

  • Jim Bull reviews “Warblers of Eastern North America, Second Edition” by Chris G. Earley
  • Harry Armistead reviews “Out of the Lyme Light and Into the Sunlight: Birding as Therapy for the Chronically Ill” by Robert C. Bell
  • Lori Potter reviews “Flight Paths: How a Passionate and Quirky Group of Pioneering Scientists Solved the Mystery of Bird Migration” by Rebecca Heisman

Now that you’ve seen a bird’s eye view of the September issue, dive in and enjoy! And until we meet again, happy birding.