The turacos make up a family of about two dozen species, all restricted to Africa. It's a very distinctive family, unlike anything in the Americas, but thought to be distantly related to the cuckoos and hoatzins. Most of them are very brightly colored, with greens, reds, purples, blues, and so on. When I'd seen them in the past, I always had been distracted by their brilliant hues, so I hadn't paid as much attention to their shapes and postures. Sketching them in black and white today, I was struck by how much their postures suggested the Cracidae, i.e. the chachalacas, guans, and curassows, even though they certainly are not related to those tropical American birds.
From a state of contemplation, Kenn writes: The American Birding Association (ABA) has been an important part of my life ever since I joined, at the age of 16, back in the 1970s. The ABA was a brand-new organization then, and it served a unique role in connecting the active birders of the U.S. and Canada. Its little bimonthly magazine, Birding, was a treasure trove for me as a teenager, giving me tips on bird-finding and bird identification that I wouldn’t have known about in any other way. When I started traveling, as a hitch-hiking, teenaged birder, the ABA connected me with other enthusiasts and with prime birding hotspots, and helped to put me on a course as a professional naturalist. In subsequent years I was involved with ABA in many ways. I taught bird I.D. workshops at many of their conventions, and later I began giving evening keynote talks at these events; for a while, I had spoken at more ABA conventions than anyone else. I wrote dozens of pieces for Birding magazine, a
Owls: So captivating. So vexing. I've been thinking a LOT about owls and people lately, and I would like to have an open, candid, honest discussion about viewing/photographing owls. There's something so captivating, so mysterious, so alluring about owls that they bring out the best - and sometimes the worst - in people. With social media dominating our lives, we see this played out more than ever before. It's frustrating, disturbing, and it seems impossible to ever resolve. Still, I think it's worth discussing. Here are a few questions to help frame the discussion. 1) Are we *too* concerned about this? I'm speaking specifically about owls in public areas: parks, wildlife areas, etc. Are we making a big deal about something the birds will just deal with themselves? Does it really harm the birds? Birds have wings and they use them. If there's too much human activity, won't they just move on? Are we spending too much time and energy on a few single bird