[Tweeters] ABA - American Birding Association

Doug Schonewald dschone8 at donobi.net
Fri Nov 13 14:14:00 PST 2009


Though many birders in Washington are members of the American Birding
Association, I suspect that quite a few folks on this list are not. I'd
like to encourage more Washington birders to become members, and also to
support one of ABA's separate journals, North American Birds.

The ABA was founded 40 years ago as an organization devoted to the sport and
joy of birding. While maintaining this basic focus, maturation over the
years has added important elements of conservation, education, and
scientific pursuit. While concentrating on birding in the U.S. and Canada,
ABA extends our avocation into all areas of the world. Membership, besides
supporting many excellent programs, offers the superb bimonthly journal
Birding, as well as the fun monthly newsletter Winging It.

Birding has many excellent articles on identification, birdfinding, books
and equipment, and just birding in general, with outstanding photographs and
other illustrations. Though some articles are in-depth studies, especially
those on identification, in general this is not a technical journal, and
would be of interest to birders of all levels of skill and experience. If
you'd like an example of what has been offered recently, browse through the
partial archive at http://www.aba.org/birding/archives.html .

North American Birds is the current form of a journal which has previously
gone by the monikers of Audubon Field Notes, American Birds, and National
Audubon Society Field Notes. For most of the life of this publication it
was produced by the National Audubon Society, but in recent years has been
published by ABA. Four issues a year cover the seasons of birding in the
Western Hemisphere (excluding South America). Reports are broken into
various Regions, which have tended to become smaller in recent years to
allow more sighting material to be included.

An extensive "Changing Seasons" article in each issue summarizes trends
across North America, often including fascinating insights into changes in
bird populations and distributions. Feature articles include documentation
of exciting occurrences. More and more the journal has been lavished with
photographs, many in color, showing the highlights of seasonal occurrence in
each Region. You can browse the "Changing Seasons" articles and tables of
contents of many recent issues at http://www.aba.org/nab/archives.html .

No where else do you find this level of regional and continental portrayal
and analysis of birding in the Americas. Though certainly the Tweeters
listserv allows us to hear of local sightings almost "real-time," these are
usually not put in context on a seasonal or regional level by experienced
reviewers. For Washington birds, it is true that most sightings are
described and analyzed in the sightings reports in WOS News, and I don't
want to diminish the important work of that journal. (Indeed, I encourage
anyone on this list to be a member of the parent Washington Ornithological
Society.) However, you don't get to see the broader picture from these more
local sources, and also don't learn of what happened elsewhere in that
season in regions outside the Washington/Oregon area. It is amazing how
much you can learn of bird distribution by reading (or even browsing) North
American Birds -- with the consequence of better knowledge of what to
expect, and look for, in your local birding patch each season.

Information on joining the American Birding Association and receiving its
journals (including separate subscription to North American Birds) can be
found at http://www.aba.org/join.html .


Doug Schonewald
Eastern Washington Editor
North American Birds

Brad Waggoner
Western Washington Editor
North American Birds

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