Welcome to the 2023 issue of Birder’s Guide to Travel!

Editor, Birding Special Issues


On the cover: Observing a Colima Warbler is a bit of an ordeal. It almost alway necessitates a long, strenuous hike with a substantial elevation gain over uneven terrain and in hot and sunny weather. And that’s only after the long drive to Texas’s Big Bend National Park… Unless, that is, you see a Colima Warbler on the other side of the Rio Grande. On p. 16, Brian E. Small shares the results of his recent trip to Nuevo León. The goal? To photograph species that are “rare” in the U.S. but easy to find and access in Mexico. He photographed this Colima Warbler at Parque Nacional Cumbres de Monterrey on 8 May 2022. © Brian E. Small.
Click the cover above to access the magazine (28MB PDF)

One of the many great things about birding is that it’s very egalitarian—birds are accessible to almost everyone. That goes for birding travel, too. You seldom have to go far to see something cool that you can’t find at home. A winter walk just a mile down the street from my house in Fort Worth, Texas guarantees sightings of American Wigeon, Gadwall, Lesser Scaup, and Ring-necked Duck—birds that remain off my yard list even after 8 years. Once, while out for a jog, I even found a Mottled Duck, which was a local rarity!

If you live in Duluth, Minnesota, you could likewise see exciting birds by traveling a short distance to the Lake Superior shoreline, where ducks, such as Common Merganser, congregate, and where Snowy Owls appear without fail every winter. In this issue, Erik Bruhnke shares his tips for where to see these and other exciting wintertime birds in the Duluth area. In addition, he writes about a couple other locations not far out of the city. In Sax–Zim Bog, you can see Great Gray Owls and Boreal Chickadees. In Two Harbors, you could find a Harlequin Duck or even a Boreal Owl. In fact, the only one I’ve ever seen was there!

A northerly theme continues as Katinka Domen relays her summertime experiences birding along and near Newfoundland’s beautiful coastlines. (Who doesn’t love a puffin?!) Former Birding Photo Editor Brian Small delights us with a photo salon of “rare” U.S. birds that he easily photographed just across the Rio Grande in northeast Mexico. Elsewhere in the Neotropics, Raymond VanBuskirk presents his personal list of the Top 20 birds in the Dominican Republic. And much further afield, Keith Valentine writes about nature viewing in Borneo, and Iordan Hristov introduces us to the fascinating birds of Bulgaria.

As usual, we round out this issue of Birding with book and media reviews.

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 is concerning. We urgently want and need to hear more and varied perspectives in these pages.

I hope that there is something of use and interest to you in this issue. Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me at mretter@aba.org with your ideas for future content. Even better: Write about it yourself for the next issue! Finally, please consider sharing this issue by giving your hard copy to a friend or family member when you’re done.

However and wherever you travel, I wish you a safe, happy, and bird-filled trip!