Birding Online: July 2013

Welcome! You’ve just found your way to all the online content for the July/August 2013 issue of Birding. We hope you enjoy your visit, and Editor Ted Floyd would love to get your feedback.

Photo: Noah Swick of Greensboro, North Carolina, is fascinated by the feature article in the July/August 2013 issue on the rise of birding China. (Noah’s dad, Nate Swick, manages The ABA Blog and the ABA’s other social media initiatives.)

This site is a launch pad to all the full-feature online content in the July/August 2013 Birding. Think of it as your online Table of Contents. Click on the links below, and off you go!

Remembering Betty Petersen. This issue of Birding celebrates the life and legacy of Betty Petersen (1943–2013), who for years served as Director of the ABA’s widely admired Birders’ Exchange program. Please read the tributes by ABA President Jeffrey A. Gordon (pp. 8–9) and by former ABA Publications Committee Chairman John Kricher (pp. 44–51), and please take the time to reflect on ABA Graphic Designer Ed Rother’s compelling cover. Most of all, please share with the birding community your own memories of and experiences with Betty.

Your Letters. On the matter of molts and plumages in the Northern Harrier, we can safely say that Jerry Liguori and Brian Sullivan aren’t quite in agreement with Peter Pyle. For sure, they disagree on certain technical matters. At the same time, they’re united on a broader matter, one of philosophy and worldview. See what they’re all about, and please weigh in with your own thoughts.

“Sightings” Online. If you’re an ABA member, you’ve have already seen Amy Davis’s compilation in the print issue (pp. 22–25, 62) of North American rarities in May 2013. Do you crave more recent “Sightings”? ABA members only: June 2013 “Sightings” and even July 2013 “Sightings” are available right now as high-quality, full-color PDF downloads.
Left: Rufous-necked Wood-Rail. Photo by © Bryan J. Smith.

Photo Quiz Answers. Redpolls in August? Yes, of course, if you live and bird in Canada and Alaska. But even down in the sweltering Lower 48, the Great Redpoll Invasion of ’12 –’13 is still on many birders’ minds, as records committees are still sorting through the hundreds of records from this past winter. Brush up on redpoll ID with an online tutorial, brought to you by experts Tom Johnson and Luke Seitz.
Right: Hoary Redpoll. Photo by © Tom Johnson.

Birding in China. Fact: Interest in birding has surged in China in the early 21st century. Fact: There are more human beings in China than in the entire western hemisphere. Corollary: One of the major themes for modern birders—including ABA members—is the rise of birding in China. Please join us in an online forum that explores what Chinese birding means for the rest of us.
Mandarin Ducks. Photo by © Yu Shrike Zhang.

Tools of the Trade. Diana Doyle’s article (pp. 52–55) tells birders how to record and interpret the avian vocalizations we hear in the field. But what do those bird sounds, well,sound like? Listen online to the recordings Doyle made for her article. For the best learning experience, listen to the recordings and “see” the sounds (graphs of frequency plotted against time) at the same time.
Left: Bachman’s Sparrow. Photo by © David Cree.

Book Reviews. In this issue of Birding, we tackle some weighty subjects. Rick Wright reviews new works on the art of Audubon and Wilson, Fredrick Davis reviews a critical assessment of the life and legacy of Robert Ridgway, and Eric Salzman reviews a pair of books on the world’s rarest and most endangered birds.


Birding in the Age of Anxiety. The full title of John Rakestraw’s commentary is “Most Birds, Least Harm: Ethical and Effective Birding in a Time of Peak Oil, Economic Collapse, and Mass Extinctions.” Clearly, the guy harbors a few opinions! What are yours? Please read Rakestraw’s commentary, beginning on p. 56 of the print issue, and then chime in with your own thoughts about “ethical and effective” birding in the modern era.

New Photo Quiz. Let’s be honest. Most of us identify the ABA Area’s two Chaetura swifts (Chimney and Vaux’s) by range. But swifts have wings—very long and powerful ones, in fact—and can wind up in the “wrong” place. The quiz answers will appear in the September/October 2013 Birding, but let’s first discuss the quiz photos online
Right: Photo by © Tom Johnson.

Another Quiz! The redpoll and swift quizzes just weren’t enough for you? Then try your hand at the latest ABA–Birder’s Diary photo quiz. This one looks like one of those tricky seabirds you see from a pitching boat. At least, you get to view the bird from the comfort of your den or office. And with this quiz, you can even win a prize!
Left: Photo by © Tony Leukering.

Order the entire July/August 2013 issue of Birding at The ABA Shop. Or better yet, join the ABA today, and get the July/August 2013 Birding, plus all the other benefits of ABA membership.

Check out the complete Table of Contents for the print issue of the July/August Birding.