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|Purpose||"Inspiring all people to enjoy and protect wild birds"|
|Headquarters||Delaware City, Delaware|
|Jeffrey A. Gordon|
|Board of Directors|
The American Birding Association (ABA) is a nonprofit organization, founded in 1969, dedicated to recreational birding in Canada and the United States. It has been called "the standard-bearer for serious birding in North America."Originally concentrated on finding, listing, and identifying rare birds, the ABA now seeks to serve all birders with a wide range of services and publications.
In December 1968, in the first issue (volume 0, number 0) of The Birdwatcher's Digest, Jim Tucker proposed the formation of a group to be known as the "American Birdwatchers' Association" for the exchange of information and the comparison of birding lists.
On the suggestion of Stuart Keith, the next issue of Tucker's newsletter bore the name Birding (volume 1, number 1). This January/February 1969 issue included a statement of intentions and objectives and three pages of lists, including the birders with the top ten lists for the world and for the area then covered by the checklist of the American Ornithologists' Union.The organization was renamed the American Birding Association. Expressly excluding conservation advocacy and ornithological research, the ABA's initial focus was on the hobby and sport of birding. Through its publications and events, the early ABA sought to connect avid birders, establish rules for listing, and communicate the latest identification techniques. By 1970, the organization had more than 500 members.
The first officers included Keith as president, Arnold Small as vice president, and Tucker as secretary and treasurer. Shortly thereafter, Joseph W. Taylor became treasurer, and Bob Smart joined as second vice president. Benton Basham became membership chairman in 1971, and was responsible for much of the organization's growth.
Beginning with volume 3 (1971), Birding was redesigned as a magazine; the annual page count increased to 258 from 96 in 1970.The last issue of 1971 introduced a new full-color logo, designed by Guy Tudor, with the image of a red-billed tropicbird.
The ABA held its first convention in 1973 in Kenmare, North Dakotaand its second in Leamington, Ontario.
Subsequent presidents of the organizationhave included Arnold Small (1976-1979), Joseph W. (Joe) Taylor (1979-1983), Lawrence G. (Larry) Balch (1983-1989), Allan Keith (1989-1993; 1997–1999), Daniel T. (Dan) Williams (1993-1997), and Jeffrey Gordon (2008–present).
Membership rose to 6,500 by October 1986and first exceeded 10,000 in October 1992. The ABA attained a high of 22,000 members in 2001.
A monthly newsletter, Winging It, was published from 1989 to 2012.In 1998, the ABA assumed responsibility for the publication of the National Audubon Society's journal Field Notes, subsequently renamed North American Birds. The quarterly "Birder's Guide" first appeared in 2013.
In 2000, the ABA assumed management of the Institute for Field Ornithology workshops conducted by the University of Maine at Machias.
The ABA's mission has expanded to support conservation and research efforts, beginning with its partnership with Birders' Exchange, a program supplying research equipment to young scientists in Central and South America.Conservation-oriented content began to appear more frequently in Birding with the 2001 volume.
The ABA publishes three periodical publications, offering them in print and online formats. The ABA also hosts two blogs and a podcast. The ABA partners with and advises Scott & Nix, Inc., publisher of a series of recent and forthcoming ABA State Guides. The ABA also publishes a regularly updated checklist and occasional eBooks and monographs.
The ABA publishes Birding , its bimonthly magazine; North American Birds, the quarterly "journal of record" for North American birdlife; and Birder's Guide, a quarterly publication with a rotating schedule of themes. All three journals are offered in print and online formats.
The ABA has published bird-finding guides to various states and regions of the United States and the Caribbean (10 titles are in print). The ABA is a partner in the ongoing publication of a series of photographic field guides to the birds of particular states (12 titles).
The ABA maintains a multiauthored blogand a multi-voiced podcast; ABA's youth program hosts the blog The Eyrie. The ABA's journals Birding, North American Birds, and Birder's Guide are offered online, as well as in print.
The ABA publishes a checklist of the more than 1000 bird species found in the ABA area (the entirety of the United States and Canada, plus St. Pierre et Miquelon).Updates to the most recent print edition are available on line. The Checklist provides the common names established and recommended by the American Ornithological Society, and it is one of the authorities consulted by the compilers of many popular bird identification guides in order to establish ranges and the status of populations.
The ABA offers birding camps, sponsors youth teams in birding competitions, provides scholarships, and conducts an annual ABA Young Birder of the Year Contest.
Members interested in bird listing share their totals at Listing Central.
The organization promulgates a Code of Birding Ethics, guiding birders to protect birds, the environment, and the rights of others.
In addition to offering ABA apparel,the organization has partnered with for-profit companies to sell identification and bird-finding guides, binoculars, and items related to conservation.
The ABA offers birding rallies, tours, and workshops (through the ABA Institute for Field Ornithology) throughout the world.The IFO workshops, established to foster cooperation between professional and amateur ornithologists, blend classroom instruction and field study.
The ABA presents several awards for promoting the cause of birding, advancing the state of ornithology, and making significant contributions to education and conservation. In 1980, it initiated the Ludlow Griscom Award to recognize "outstanding contributions to excellence in field birding;"it is often called birding's highest honor. In 2000, the awards program was expanded to include the Chandler Robbins Award for Education/Conservation, the Claudia Wilds Award for Distinguished Service, and the Roger Tory Peterson Award for Promoting the Cause of Birding. The Robert Ridgway Award for Publications in Field Ornithology was added in 2002. The Griscom Award now specifically recognizes outstanding contributions to regional ornithology.
In 2014, the ABA introduced the Betty Petersen Award for Conservation and Community, to honor "those who have made great strides in expanding, diversifying, and strengthening the birding community, and those who have worked to build a support network for conservation." The first, posthumous recipient was Betty Petersen.In 2015, the award was granted to Jack Siler; Ann Nightingale received the award in 2016; Judy Pollock was honored in 2017.
Birdwatching, or birding, is a form of wildlife observation in which the observation of birds is a recreational activity or citizen science. It can be done with the naked eye, through a visual enhancement device like binoculars and telescopes, by listening for bird sounds, or by watching public webcams.
Roger Tory Peterson was an American naturalist, ornithologist, illustrator and educator, held to be one of the founding inspirations for the 20th-century environmental movement.
The National Audubon Society (Audubon) is an American non-profit environmental organization dedicated to conservation of birds and their habitat. Located in the United States and incorporated in 1905, Audubon is one of the oldest of such organizations in the world and uses science, education and grassroots advocacy to advance its conservation mission. There are completely independent Audubon Societies in the United States, which were founded several years earlier, named after states of the USA, for example, Massachusetts Audubon Society and Connecticut Audubon Society.
The American Ornithological Society (AOS) is an ornithological organization based in the United States. The society was formed in October 2016 by the merger of the American Ornithologists' Union (AOU) and the Cooper Ornithological Society. Its members are primarily professional ornithologists, although membership is open to anyone with an interest in birds. The society publishes the two scholarly journals, The Auk and The Condor as well as the AOS Checklist of North American Birds.
Robert Ridgway was an American ornithologist specializing in systematics. He was appointed in 1880 by Spencer Fullerton Baird, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, to be the first full-time curator of birds at the United States National Museum, a title he held until his death. In 1883, he helped found the American Ornithologists' Union, where he served as officer and journal editor. Ridgway was an outstanding descriptive taxonomist, capping his life work with The Birds of North and Middle America. In his lifetime, he was unmatched in the number of North American bird species that he described for science. As technical illustrator, Ridgway used his own paintings and outline drawings to complement his writing. He also published two books that systematized color names for describing birds, A Nomenclature of Colors for Naturalists (1886) and Color Standards and Color Nomenclature (1912). Ornithologists all over the world continue to cite Ridgway's color studies and books.
A big year is a personal challenge or an informal competition among birders who attempt to identify as many species of birds as possible by sight or sound, within a single calendar year and within a specific geographic area. Popularized in North America, big years are commonly done within single US states and Canadian provinces, as well as within larger areas such as the entire world, the lower 48 continental U.S. states, or within the official American Birding Association Area. The ABA big year record of 840 species was set by John Weigel of Australia in 2019 The world big year record of 6,852 species was set in 2016 by Arjan Dwarshuis of the Netherlands.
The Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union (RAOU), now part of BirdLife Australia, was Australia's largest non-government, non-profit, bird conservation organisation. It was founded in 1901 to promote the study and conservation of the native bird species of Australia and adjacent regions, making it Australia's oldest national birding association. In 1996, the organisation adopted the trading name of Birds Australia for most public purposes, while retaining its original name for legal purposes and as the publisher of its journal, the Emu. In 2012, the RAOU merged with Bird Observation & Conservation Australia to form BirdLife Australia.
David Allen Sibley is an American ornithologist. He is the author and illustrator of The Sibley Guide to Birds, which rivals Roger Tory Peterson's as the most comprehensive guides for North American ornithological field identification.
Kenn Kaufman is an American author, artist, naturalist, and conservationist, known for his work on several popular field guides of birds and butterflies in North America.
Ludlow Griscom was an American ornithologist known as a pioneer in field ornithology. His emphasis on the identification of free-flying birds by field marks became widely adopted by professionals and amateurs. Many called him "Dean of the Birdwatchers."
The Hispaniolan Ornithological Society, is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to nature conservation, particularly of birds and their habitats, on the island of Hispaniola. SOH's mission is to "conserve Hispaniolan birds and their habitats through research, community education, and professional training".
The Gower Ornithological Society is a society for professional and amateur birdwatchers covering the geographical areas of south Wales comprising Gower, Swansea, Neath and Port Talbot.
The Ludlow Griscom Award for Outstanding Contributions in Regional Ornithology is an award bestowed by the American Birding Association upon individuals who are determined to have "dramatically advanced the state of ornithological knowledge for a particular region," through long-term studies of status and distribution, the writing and/or publication of field guides to birds of a certain area, work as part of a breeding bird atlas project, through the publishing of academic papers on regional ornithology, or through their efforts in inspiring and teaching about the subject of birding.
Chandler Seymour Robbins was an American ornithologist. His contributions to the field include co-authorship of an influential field guide to birds, as well as organizing the North American Breeding Bird Survey.
The ABA Chandler Robbins Award for Education/Conservation is an award given by the American Birding Association to an individual who has made significant contributions either to the education of birders or to bird conservation and the "management or preservation of habitats on which birds and birding depends." The award may also recognize efforts in both fields.
The ABA Robert Ridgway Award for Publications in Field Ornithology is an award given by the American Birding Association to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field ornithology literature in the areas of North American bird distribution and field identification. The award may honor a writer or an artist.
The ABA Roger Tory Peterson Award for Promoting the Cause of Birding is an award given by the American Birding Association to an individual who, over the course of a lifetime, has advanced the cause of birding.
The ABA Claudia Wilds Award for Distinguished Service is an award given by the American Birding Association to a member who has given "long and useful service to the organization," either as a volunteer or as compensated staff, in recognition of the member's dedicated energy and years of service.
Keith Russell is an American ornithologist, birder, science communicator, and conservationist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is a leading advocate of bird-safe glass and other methods for reducing mortality of migrating songbirds in urban environments. He is currently the program manager for urban conservation for Pennsylvania Audubon.
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