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, and
From homebase in Oak Harbor, Kimberly writes: Last night, Black Swamp Bird Observatory loaded a bunch of birders into our awesome Bird Bus and went to see the movie The Big Year. I was excited to go to the movies with Kenn and a bunch of friends no matter how good or bad the movie turned out to be. To be honest, I was more than a little concerned that Hollywood would simply adopt the model perpetuated by the media for decades and cast us in the same stereonerdical role. I was wrong. Steve Martin's character, " Stu Preissler," is a powerful , wealthy, executive who is obsessed with birding. His colleagues all bow to his executive prowess and on more than one occasion, they actually beg him to rescue them in challenging business negotiations. He's a hero. But here's the beauty. He's also a really nice guy. He loves his family, and while on occasion (with some gentle admonishment from his loving and supportive wife) he skips a few family moments to see g