Birder's Guide

OCT 2016

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 2016 | Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy Jeffrey A. Gordon Delaware City, Delaware elcome to the fourth annual edition of Birder's Guide to Listing & Taxonomy. I hope that, like me, you've come to look forward to this useful and entertaining survey of both the shape of the playing field and the state of play, whether you consider yourself a field ornithologist, a lister, a mixture of both, or neither in particular. That's one of the real strengths of birding—there are innumerable ways to approach it, to enjoy it, and to contribute to it. Birds offer us endless opportunities for contemplation, consideration, and recreation. They have something to offer each of us. So however you identify birds—and however you self-identify as a birder—I trust that you'll find much of interest here and in all the Birder's Guides. The Birder's Guide series, which is free online to all at, is just one way the American Birding Association works to fulfill its mission to inspire all people to enjoy and protect wild birds. 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 checklist because they use its taxonomy as the scorecard for their listing endeavors. Alan Knue explains what evidence is weighed by the committee when deciding to make changes to the checklist, and he lists some possible future splits and lumps. Our annual "Check-list Redux" explains in simple terms all that's changed on the AOU Check-list this year. 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". Other listing articles in this issue include details on an impressive Big Day effort in Texas, a new world-record Big Day in Ecuador, and a strategy for seeing all of the world's bird families with the least amount of travel. Whether your passion is attending bird walks in a local park, competing in Big Days, or keeping up-to-date on the latest details on storm-petrel identification, 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. Even better, write something for us! And, finally, be sure to check in at, where you will find an expanded e-version of this issue and links to discussions about the articles you see here. We look forward to hearing from you! Good birding, Michael L. P. Retter Editor, Birder's Guide From the President From the Editor W Michael L. P. Retter Fort Worth, Texas L

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