Birder's Guide

OCT 2015

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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3 October 2015 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy Jeffrey A. Gordon Delaware City, Delaware here's not a lot of science behind baseball. Let me clarify that statement, because certainly, a lot of study has been done on the physiology and psychology of baseball. And statistics. Moneyball, anyone? But all this study clearly came after the rules of the game were written. So perhaps a more accurate statement would be to say that baseball itself preceded any science of baseball. But birding, i.e., the recreational and aesthetic enjoyment of birds, came after ornithology. Even the most casual birding is still undergirded and informed by the thinking of taxonomists. And understanding that thinking can actually make your birding more meaningful and more fun. Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy is meant to provide an engaging, reliable source to enhance your birding by knowing a bit of the science. It's also meant to get you fred up for the birding excitement to come this fall and far into the new year. The American Birding Association strives to inspire all people to enjoy and protect wild birds. The Birder's Guide series, which is free to all at, is just one way we work toward that mission. To those of you who support our work through membership and donations, my sincere thanks. And if you're not an ABA member yet, I cordially invite you to consider joining at or by calling us at 800-850-2473. Good birding, Jeffrey A. Gordon President, American Birding Association isting and taxonomy may not immediately seem related, but dive a bit deeper, and it soon becomes apparent. Of course, ABA Area listers depend on the American Ornithologists' Union to maintain its check- list because they use its taxonomy as the scorecard for their listing endeavors. In one of this issue's articles, ornithologist and ABA Recording Standards and Ethics Committee Secretary Nick Block offers a look inside how taxonomists analyze phylogenetic trees to determine what appears on the checklist. We continue to hear from Nick as Sheridan Coffey interviews him to help clarify the answers to some perennial listing questions. And, as always, the annual "Check-list Redux" explains in simple terms all that's changed on the AOU Check-list this year. Listing articles in this issue cover Dorian Anderson's Big Year by bicycle and Ann Haverstock's quest to reach 700 ABA Area birds by the age of 70. Whether you're a passionate feeder-watcher, a taxonomy wonk, or a dedicated lister, I hope you will fnd something of inter- est in this issue. Please take a moment to let us know what you did and didn't like, and what was missing. Even better, write something for us! And, fnally, be sure to check in at, where you will fnd links to discussion fora. We look forward to hearing from you! Good birding, Michael L. P. Retter Editor, Birder's Guide From the President From the Editor L Michael L. P. Retter Fort Worth, Texas T

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