Birder's Guide

MAY 2017

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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4 Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community | May 2017 Jeffrey A. Gordon Delaware City, Delaware jgordon@aba.org here's a metaphor that's become popular to the point of cliche lately but one that I believe is apt for these times. It says that should the airplane cabin become depressurized and the oxygen masks drop, it's important to put the mask on oneself first, and then and only then assist children and others under your care. To do otherwise may seem altruistic but actually risks everyone suffocating. At its worst, this idea can be used as a cover for hedonic indulgence and selfishness. But I think there's a real truth in it—if you're not taking at least minimal care of yourself, your ability to care for others is going to be very limited indeed. In trying, confusing, and/or stressful times, it's nearly always helpful to get outdoors and go birding. The blood pressure drops, the mind clears and focuses, and one's sense of scale and priorities snap back into a more natural order. The benefits one gets, while certainly not identical, are similar to those of working out or meditating. A lot of us depend heavily on our birding, and our birding community, to help us make sense of things. Yes, many people, sometimes including birders themselves, see birding as a frivolous or inconsequential activity, and it can certainly be that. But for most birders, it is far, far more. It's an escape that leads you into reconnection. A recreation that actually does re-create our bonds with ourselves, our community, our world. That belief in the redemptive and restorative powers of birding, and of caring for and participating in the birding community, is a cornerstone of the American Birding Association's mission to inspire all people to enjoy and protect wild birds. Here in the pages of this Birder's Guide to Conservation and Community, I hope you will find real inspiration—a breath of fresh air that will refresh you and encourage you to keep on getting out there—for yourself, for your fellows, and for the birds. Good birding, Jeffrey A. Gordon President, American Birding Association elcome to the fourth annual issue of Birder's Guide to Conservation & Community. Our goal is to highlight the positive efforts being made in the realms of habitat conservation, community build- ing, and environmental education—all of which lead to healthier bird populations. In particular, the popular "Conservation Milestones" (see p. 10) highlights the real accomplishments of birders like you. Consider nominating someone you know—or even yourself—for profiling in next year's edition! As always, let us know what you did and didn't like in this issue, so that we may start planning for the future. If there's a topic missing that you feel deserves coverage, please pass it along. Even better, write about it yourself for the next issue! Finally, please consider sharing this issue with a friend. You can gift your hard copy when you're done, or simply send this link, where the entire issue is available online, and for free: aba.org/birdersguide/ Now let's get out there and do even more for bird conservation! Happy travels! Michael L. P. Retter Editor, Birder's Guide From the President From the Editor T Michael L. P. Retter Fort Worth, Texas mretter@aba.org W

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