North American Birds: Vol. 72, No. 1

Michael L. P. Retter

Editor, North American Birds

In 2020, the ABA restructured its membership program so that its members now have online access to North American Birds, in addition to Birding. This means that North American Birds is now accessible to a wider audience than ever! If you’re an ABA member who is reading this journal for the first time, I want to offer you a very special welcome to the first of two 2021 issues of North American Birds. I hope you’ll enjoy what you see here.

In this issue, Nate Swick starts us off by sharing a comprehensive list of all the state and provincial firsts in the ABA Area for 2020. More than one well-meaning birder has asked why there isn’t a Spanish-language version of the ABA Checklist; native Spanish-speaker Frank Izaguirre explains the intricacies of this complicated situation. Adam Sell updates the status of European Goldfinch in the Midwest. Steve Howell, never in want of a good title for his articles, waxes lyrical on what isn’t a species. Jodhan Fine reports on North America’s first inland record of European Golden-Plover. H. Ross Gorman recounts his observation of interesting behavior in a flock of Red Crossbills. Byron Swift shares his thoughts on updating protocols to make breeding bird atlases even better. And Thomas Ford-Hutchinson explains how and why next-generation genomic sequencing is revolutionizing the study of bird taxonomy. As usual, we round out the magazine with Pictorial Highlights, showcasing some of the most exciting photos gleaned from the online Regional Reports. 

Speaking of the online Regional Reports, it’s time to toot our own horn. Over the past six months, Greg Neise, Ted Floyd, and I have worked closely and tirelessly with our new team of volunteer Report Publication Editors to publish online the entirety of the four-year backlog! You may access the fruit of our labors at aba.org/nab-reports. Of special note are the Québec and Texas regions, for which a report from every season has been published. I want to personally thank Regional Editors Pierre Bannon, Olivier Barden, Eric Carpenter, Normand David, and Samuel Denault for their timeliness, hard work, and dedication. Some regions, however, have (understandably) not yet submitted reports to cover the entire 2017–2020 period, and a couple sadly have no reports at all. If your region lacks content, and you have an idea of who could help fill the gap, please let us know by emailing me. With our new team in place, we’re committed to publishing each report received within one month of receipt. “Backlogs” are, with great relief, a thing of the past.

As always, we in the birding community depend on one another to share our knowledge and insights. With that in mind, I ask you to consider submitting a brief article for the Field Ornithology web series, penning a manuscript for publication in the magazine, and/or serving as a Regional Editor or Report Publication Editor for regional reports. The ABA strives to make heard the voices of historically marginalized and under-represented groups in birding, and, to be blunt, the lack of diversity among our authors and Regional Editors is concerning. We urgently want and need to hear more and varied perspectives in these pages. By you sharing your knowledge, we can all become more informed and understanding birders.