Birder's Guide

DEC 2018

Birder's Guide is the American Birding Association's newest publication. Each issue focuses on a key subject, providing tips from experienced birders on a wide variety of topics like Travel, Listing & Taxonomy, Gear, and Conservation & Community.

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6 Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | December 2018 Jeffrey A. Gordon Delaware City, Delaware jgordon@aba.org f you're new to birding and/or the American Birding Association, I hope you'll find a great deal of interest in this issue of Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy that will increase your appreciation and understanding of the many ways that the science of bird taxonomy intersects with and informs the practice, sport, and art of birding. I also cordially invite you to join the ABA at aba.org/join or by calling us at (800) 850-2473. If you've been around the ABA for a bit longer, I want to say a bit about some changes we're making to our publications, and the reasons why. The Birder's Guide magazine series debuted in July of 2013, replacing our newsletter, Winging It. Our goals for this new publication included having more of a focus on practical information that birders can put to immediate use in the field and to provide a freely-available "on ramp" to the ABA and its community and programs. We've been delighted with the reception of the 22 issues of Birder's Guide so far, and we plan to continue the series far into the future. But after a nice long shakedown cruise we are changing course just a little. First, no content is going away. The ways in which it is presented will be new in some cases, however. This year, aside from the stand-alone digital issue you are currently reading, we are also printing Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy as a special section within Birding magazine, meaning that ABA members are getting a single, larger issue where previously you would have received two separate, slimmer magazines. The reasons for these changes are largely (and frankly) boring administrative minutiae including non-profit mailing permits. In 2019, our 50th Anniversary year, you'll see material covered in the recent Listing & Taxonomy and Conservation & Community issues of Birder's Guide integrated seamlessly into six larger issues of Birding. The Travel and Gear issues of Birder's Guide will still be published as "standalone" magazines, but there will be a change there, too. Travel and Gear will be published under the Birding masthead as Special Issues. Within their pages, and in this issue's special Birder's Guide section, you will continue to find the different editorial styles—but with equal commitments to excellence and integrity—you've come to expect from our two member magazines. The goal of these changes is to give you a satisfying wealth of timely, useful content in ways that we hope will more effectively inspire people to enjoy and protect wild birds. At the same time we aim to keep costs and use of paper and other resources low while increasing efficiency. We think you'll like what you see, but whether you do or do not, please let us know. More than anything, we want to serve, grow, and strengthen the ABA community—a process in which you play a vital role. Good birding, Jeffrey A. Gordon | President, Americ A n Birding Associ A tion isting and taxonomy may not immediately seem related, but dive a bit deeper, and it soon becomes apparent. In this issue, John McCormack of the Moore Lab of Ornithology explains how the efforts of ornithologists di- rectly affect birders. Sometimes, discoveries by "civilian" birders can have effects, too, as Sophie Osborn tells us. Such information is considered by the American Ornithological Society when it updates its North American checklist. We birders, in turn, use the updated taxonomy as the scorecard for our listing endeavors. Or we used to, anyway. Be sure to read this year's "Check-list Redux" for a tantalizing hint at possible changes to come on this front. The Redux also explains in simple terms all that's changed on the AOS Check-list in 2017. You can use this information to update your list totals in ABA's Listing Central. Greg Neise tells us what's new there in the "Listing Central Update", and last year's top totals are found in the "Listing Snapshot". Speaking of listing, Derek Lovitch shares the story of a different kind of Big Year in his home state of Maine. And, finally, Rick Wright dives into the scientific literature and explains why he thinks North America's "newest" bird species may need to be renamed. Whether your passion is attending bird walks in a local park, competing in Big Years, or keeping your ABA Area life list up to date, I hope you will find something of interest in this issue. Please take a moment to let us know what you did and didn't like, and what was missing. Or even better, write something for us. We look forward to hearing from you! Good birding, Michael L. P. Retter | e ditor, Birder's Guide From the President From the Editor L I Michael L. P. Retter Fort Worth, Texas mretter@aba.org

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