Birder's Guide

NOV 2013

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.

Issue link: http://bg.aba.org/i/205710

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The ABA Checklist Committee Ò Along with new technologies, new attitudes and new ways of thinking are infuencing how birds are added to regional checklists... Undeniably, the emergence of the internet and, in particular, of online social media is playing a role in chang- Ó ing attitudes about feld ornithology. 36 Challenges and Opportunities in the Digital Age In Brief In the past, ornithologists relied mainly on collected specimens, and to a lesser extent on flm photography and non-verifable reports ("sight records"), to establish regional checklists. Today, many more tools are available. For starters, the widespread use of digital cameras has revolutionized birding—and the documentation of rare birds. Today's birders and feld ornithologists are also making good use of inexpensive yet high-quality video and audio recorders. At the same time, birds are increasingly being detected by "remote sensing"—radio and satellite telemetry, geolocators, autonomous recording units, and other technologies. Along with new technologies, new attitudes and new ways of thinking are infuencing how birds are added to regional checklists. A welcome development is that birders have better access than ever to information on avian vagrancy and status and distribution in general. Another welcome development is that many of today's birders and feld ornithologists are increasingly aware of and knowledgeable about exotic bird populations. A lesswelcome development has been a general decline in the quality of written reports in support of "physical" evidence like photographs and sound recordings (Lehman 2008). Undeniably, the emergence of the internet and, in particular, of online social media is playing a role in changing attitudes about feld ornithology. Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | November 2013 In this article, we focus on 21st-century challenges and opportunities for the ABA Checklist Committee, whose central function is to maintain and update a checklist of the birds of the ABA Area. Please note that, although we are affliated with the ABA (Pranty is Chairman of the ABA Checklist Committee, Floyd is Editor of Birding magazine), this commentary does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the ABA. Indeed, we don't always agree with each other! We welcome members' comments on this article; please contribute to the special online forum that has been created for reader feedback and discussion. S ince its inception in 1973, the ABA Checklist Committee (CLC) has produced seven checklists (in 1975, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1996, 2002, and 2008), 12 annual updates (1975–1986), and 24 formal, more-or-less-annual reports (since 1985). As of September 2013, the ABA Checklist contains 981 species. Since last year, new distributional records added four species (two natural vagrants and two established exotics), another species was split into two species, a second split caused one species to replace another, and another species replaced a species-pair. For additional details on these recent changes to the ABA Checklist, please see Pranty's and coauthors' annual report in the November/

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