Birding (magazine)

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Discipline Ornithology
Language English
Edited by Ted Floyd
Publication details
Publication history
1969 (1969)-present
Frequency Bimonthly

Birding is the bimonthly members' magazine of the American Birding Association. While not a formal journal, Birding offers enthusiasts in-depth and scholarly articles on field identification and bird conservation. Each issue also features tips on North American and foreign birdfinding, news in the world of birding, and reviews of books, media, and equipment. Along with feature articles, usually on bird identification and field-observable aspects of bird biology, each issue of Birding contains the following entries, as of 2007:

  • Letters to the Editor
  • A Birding Interview (with a prominent American birder)
  • Flight Path (news of a programs and initiatives of the ABA)
  • Traditions (a "historic" birding photo and short commentary)
  • Sightings (summary of rare North American birds seen the previous month)
  • News and Notes (digests of articles in the ornithological literature)
  • Photo Quiz Answers (detailed analysis of one or more quiz photos)
  • Dimensions (essays on human and bird behavior)
  • Tools of the Trade (reviews of optics and other birding products)
  • Book Reviews (usually three reviews per issue)
  • New Photo Quiz (with answers and analysis to appear in the following issue)

The magazine, which was first published in 1969, retains a grass-roots feel, with prominence given in most issues to letters, commentaries, and feedback.

A six-part history of birding in North America, as reported and reflected on the pages of Birding, appeared in the 2006 volume of Birding. This six-part history was broken down as follows:

Demographics of birders[edit]

Birding has published a number of articles and letters on the subject of birders' demographics in the United States and Canada. Some of these results from surveys, including the NRSE survey, others from questions posed by its readers.

One notable example was a debate about the racial mix of the birding community, sparked by a letter from Martin Reid entitled "Why Are We So White?" (Reid 1999). The thrust of Reid's letter was to ask why people of color are heavily under-represented among the North American birding community, and to ask what can be done to change that. The letter provoked a considerable response, with 11 letters published in issue 5 of volume 31. Opinions varied considerably. Some letters, such as one from Jim Vardaman felt that as birding is a hobby, birders are under no obligation to ensure inclusiveness. One respondent, Floyd Carley, described Reid's letter as "puerile," and another, Phil Booth, sarcastically wrote that quotas for birding should be introduced and that birders should be banned from birding alone, pointing out that "It takes a village to identify a warbler" (an oblique reference to Hillary Rodham Clinton's book It Takes a Village). Judith Todd, of California State University cited figures from the NRSE survey and 1990 US census which suggested that black people are not exceptionally under-represented (8.4% vs. 11% in the U.S. population as a whole). One respondent, Lamar B. Gore, a young black member of the ABA, pointed out that he knew only one other black member, and felt that the lack of acceptance of black people by U.S. birders in some states may be one cause of the problem Reid highlighted. Kenn Kaufman agreed with Reid that the problem was a real one, and agreed that a discussion was worthwhile.

In 2007, there appeared in Birding an interview with Dudley Edmondson (September/October issue, pp. 22-23), an African-American birder and photographer. Edmondson discusses some of the cultural and historical reasons for which African-Americans are underrepresented in the birding community. He also exhorts persons of all colors to connect with nature.

See also[edit]


  • Reid, Martin (1999) Why Are We So White? Birding 31(1):12, plus eleven responses in Birding 31(5):406-408