At the intersection of the old year and the new year, I want to publicly thank all of those tho contributed to the blog this year, from regular contributors to guest writers to those who work behind the scenes keeping the whole thing functioning.
The following are the 10 most popular posts published on this blog, determined by traffic, for the year 2016. This may or may not inspire readers to head back into the archives for some of our more fascinating contributions, but more likely will provide a peek into what drove the online bird conversation this past year.
10) On Birding and Photography – Greg Neise
These days birding and photography go hand in hand, and the relatively low bar of entry into the world of photography and the pervasiveness of birds in our environments has made photos and identification groups important first entrées into the the world of birds for a lot of birders and bird-curious people. Greg explores this new frontier in what was a great essay that is worth coming back to.
9) Review: Leica Trinovids HD Binoculars – Nate Swick
Almost exactly one year ago I had the opportunity to check out Leica’s new entry into the premium mid-level binocular market, albeit one with an old, familiar name. I stand by that review. If you’re looking to spend about $1000 on a pair of bins, Leica’s Trinovids are a fine piece of glass.
8) #ABArare – Great White Pelican – Florida – Nate Swick
The discovery of a Great White Pelican at the well-birded “Ding” Darling NWR in southwest Florida last spring caused a lot of head scratching in the birding community. This was a pretty odd bird in a pretty odd place, and the old provenance card was played early and often with regard to this bird. Regardless of whether it got there naturally or not, it’s still a pretty amazing bird to see in a wild setting.
7) #ABArare – Amethyst-throated Hummingbird – Quebec – Nate Swick
Unlike the pelican, Amethyst-throated Hummingbird was not a completely unexpected find in the ABA Area. The species, though mostly sedentary, occurs not terribly far from the southern border of Texas, and most birders who think about such things expected one to turn up at some point. No one, however, expected the first incidence of this bird in the ABA Area to be in eastern Canada, though. It stuck only for two days before disappearing. Notably, another individual of this species was caught on video visiting a feeder in the Davis Mountains in Texas later in the year.
Photo: Annie Lavoie
6) ABA Big Years in Progress: May 2016 Update – Nate Swick
If you’ve been living under a rock this year, then you might not have known about the Big Year efforts taken on by four birders in 2016. All four managed to pass Neil Hayward’s 2013 record by the end. We started following these birders back in May, once spring migration wrapped up and the chasing part of the year began in earnest.
5) Your Voice, Your Vote: Will We Add Hawaii to the ABA Area? – Jeff Gordon
One of the biggest and most important things the ABA did this past year was to finally make a move on decades of discussion about Hawaii and ask the membership to vote whether to include Hawaii in the ABA Area. That vote turned out to be overwhelmingly in favor of doing so. Jeff’s essay introducing the proposed change to the bylaws was one of our popular posts of last year for good reason.
‘I’iwi is one of the more common Hawaiian endemic birds, soon to be added to the ABA Checklist. Photo by Michael Retter.
4) 2016 AOU Check-list Proposals, Part 1 – Nate Swick
The annual AOU (now AOS) proposals are always a fun read, if for no other reason than to see the state of bird taxonomy. Not all of the proposals make it into the next year’s checklist, but all are based on new research into the life histories and genetic makeup of birds. I enjoy putting these together, and people seem to really enjoy reading them every year.
3) The TOP 10: Craziest ABA Vagrants of 2015 – Nate Swick & George Armistead
Every year we put together a subjective list of the most intriguing ABA Area vagrants for the previous 12 months, and every year it ends up among one of the most popular posts of the year. It seems like nothing gets birders and, especially, ABA members excited like unexpected vagrants. Last year we chose the California “Mystery Shrike” as our vagrant of the year, on behalf of its hybrid origin making its presence even more unusual. We’ll have a list for 2016 before the end of the month, so stay tuned!
Bizarre is hardly descriptive enough for this bird from 2015. Photo: Steve Tucker
2) Malheur: Why it Matters and What Birders Can Do About It – Jeff Gordon
It’s hard to believe that only a year ago militants occupied Malheur NWR in eastern Oregon. The unlawful occupation of that western birding mecca hit a lot of birders rather hard, and many wondered what we could do about it that would be productive. ABA President Jeff Gordon offered some thoughts, and some ideas that are still relevant to this day, about how birders can actively support our wildlife refuge system.
1) 2016 AOU Supplment – Michael Retter
Yes, the proposals are fun, but it’s the actual changes to the checklist that everyone is *really* interested in. Michael Retter’s annual, comprehensive, look at the AOU (now AOS) North American Check-list Committee’s recommendations, which are, in turn, incorporated into the ABA’s Checklist is the must-read post of the summer, and apparently the year, too.
Thanks for being a part of this blog community and the ABA. We certainly appreciate it. Happy New Year to all!
Join the American Birding Association at www.aba.org!