Welcome to the new home of North American Birds Regional Reports!
Everywhere on our continent, on every day of the year, birds are doing things. They’re singing and feeding and flying, of course, but that’s not what we’re getting at here. Their populations are doing things: migrating and dispersing, contracting and expanding, shifting in time and space. A huge part of enjoying wild birds is making sense of bird population dynamics, and that’s what the journal North American Birds is all about.
Jon Dunn, author of the legendary National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds, once was asked, “Why should somebody subscribe to North American Birds?” His answer: “Quite simply, to become a better birder.” We at the American Birding Association (ABA) agree with Jon’s assessment, and we are proud to be involved in the production and delivery of North American Birds. We also note that the journal is in a time of transition and that the entire enterprise of field birding is a period of transformation. That is the matter to which we now turn.
For over 100 years, North American Birds and its predecessors have delivered regionalized summaries of bird populations. Until the very end of the 20th century, these printed “Regional Reports,” as they came to be known, provided up-to-date information on bird populations. Then the internet happened. Do you want the exact locations of 1,000 Yellow-rumped Warbler sightings from today? Just tap and swipe on your smartphone a few times. In contrast, a printed magazine can’t possibly show up in your mailbox until several months following the conclusion of a particular season. Therefore, Regional Reports are now being housed here, online.
The benefits of this change are many: Instead of waiting 6–9 months for publication, they can now be published in just days. Without space restrictions, we can offer you more information and more photos. Perhaps most importantly, the reports are now easily searchable and more widely accessible. And finally, late reports will no longer hold up publication of the printed magazine, which has been an issue in the past. We’re confident that you will see immediate benefits to this change to online Regional Reports, and that you will like it, too.
For about three years, publication of reports unfortunately ceased altogether due to staffing and management issues at the journal. This led to dozens of reports piling up and others understandably not being written at all. Thanks to the herculean efforts of our new team of Report Publication Editors (listed below), this logjam has been broken, and reports are now being published at the rate of 8–12 per week. We should also offer our profound thanks to the regional editors who despite a couple rocky years didn’t lose faith and continued to send reports.
Once we have uploaded at least one report from each region (for which we have reports), there will be a directory-type menu here where you can select a region and then select the season you want. Until then, you can easily find the most recently added reports on the right side of this page.
–Michael L. P. Retter, Ted Floyd, and Greg Neise