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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Colorado Springs, Colorado jgordon@aba.org Jeffrey A. Gordon From the President oes it count? That's a fundamental question that I hear birders ask all the time. They've seen or heard a bird, or they might be on the verge of doing so, or they did some time ago but have heard that the species' status has changed. And they want to know, can they count it, on which lists, and when? But they also want something more, most of the time. They want to understand. They want things to make sense, for the reality they observe with their own eyes and ears to square with what the authorities and experts are telling them. They want to know why certain birds count and others don't, at least not in the same ways. What you are now reading is the ABA's attempt to answer those questions on an annual basis for the entire ABA Area. It's my hope and expectation that A Birder's Guide to Listing and Taxonomy will quickly come to be regarded as the go-to source for understanding how the science of taxonomy and the game of listing interact to shape the birding experiences that all of us enjoy. Birding can be a lot of things. It can be a sport, a hobby, a practice, a discipline, an escape, a social event or a solitary one. But one of the things that makes birding so fascinating and enduring is that it is rooted in science, in this case ornithology. That scientifc basis is also one of the things that can make birding frustrating from time to time. All those now-frequent splits, now-rare lumps, and myriad jugglings and rejiggerings can really be exasperating. More than anything, A Birder's Guide to Listing and Taxonomy aims to replace that frustration with understanding, appreciation, and even enjoyment. Where so many of the recreations humans enjoy, from the football stadium to the opera house, are in essence artifcial, existing only due to human effort and creativity, birding is based on birds, and birds are real entirely apart from us. We're trying to understand their reality and their truths, albeit from our own human perspective. So in birding, we're not just trying to settle a dispute about scoring, though that can be a very real and important part of our discussions. We're also trying to interpret science and illuminate the natural world in a way that will make your birding, however you practice it, more enjoyable and rewarding. To demonstrate that in the end, all birds count, each in its own way. D Good birding, Jeffrey A. Gordon President, American Birding Association 4 Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy | November 2013

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