Birder's Guide

DEC 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.

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West Lafayette, Indiana mretter@aba.org Michael L. P. Retter From the Editor elcome to the frst issue of the ABA's Birder's Guide to Gear. From roof-prism binoculars and SLR cameras to woolen mittens and waterproof sketchbooks, the choices can be daunting. But don't fear! We've lined up a slate of experts who have helped to distill the available information (and disinformation) into an easy-toread, no-nonsense set of suggestions and advice. Some people are real "gear-heads" and love checking out the newest products, comparing them to what's already out there, and making their own decisions about what to buy. But if you're like me, you just don't have the time, the ability, or—bluntly—the interest in devoting hours upon hours to decide which is the best Product X to achieve Goal Y. I just want someone I trust to tell me which model is best. But often, there is no one-size-fts-all answer. In those cases, it pays to have at least a basic understanding of the products you're considering. That's where Ben Lizdas's "Binocular 101" comes in. This primer on how binoculars work, and how they differ from one another, is essential reading for all birders. Whether they're built into your phone, separate and in your coat pocket, or slung over your shoulder, cameras have undergone a revolution in the last decade. The quality of image has increased exponentially, and the cost has decreased, even if not as quickly. Consequently, more and more birders are carrying—or considering carrying—a camera into the feld. But what kind is right for you? In "Birding Photography" Derek Lovitch groups the thousands of models into just a few, easy-to-understand categories, outlining the pros and cons of each. Sherrie Duris and Sharon Stiteler then go into more detail about two of those categories in their articles. But there's more to birding than just the high-tech. Bird artist Sophie Webb explains the virtues of carrying a simple notebook into the feld and how to best utilize that tool. And Duluth resident Erik Bruhnke offers his (well-tested!) suggestions for how to keep warm during winter birding. As always, we at the ABA love to hear from folks who want to offer their own advice to fellow members, so please don't hesitate to contact me with ideas for your own future articles. Was this issue useful to you? If not, please let us know what you thought was missing, so we can try to offer it in future issues. And in the meantime, I invite all of you to join in the online conversation at . W Good birding, Michael L. P. Retter Editor, Birder's Guide 6 Birder's Guide to Gear | December 2013

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