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December issue of BirdWatching features owls, macaws, new books, and more

BWM1711_Cover_330x433The December 2017 issue of BirdWatching is available now at Barnes & Noble and other newsstands, as well as on digital platforms such as iTunes, Kindle, and Google Play.

Our cover story, “Deep in the Shadows,” describes the secretive Long-eared Owl and strategies that can help you find it. Author Bill Mueller, the director of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, has encountered the species 40-some times in his life, and here he shares the patterns he has noticed. He also explains why we should avoid disturbing the species at all costs.

In my editor’s note, I tell the story of how Deborah Allen photographed the owl on the cover, and I argue that all birders have responsibilities when it comes to watching owls.

Bird researcher Alexander Clark introduces us to the ‘elepaio — Hawaii’s three native monarch flycatchers, which were recognized as distinct species in 2010. Photographer Gary Kramer takes us to bird-rich Tikal National Park in Guatemala. And writer Brian Kluepfel tells us about a stunning species found only in Bolivia: Blue-throated Macaw. It numbers only 200-250 birds in the wild, but a former Dutch arborist and others are working to save it.

In his “ID Toolkit” column, David Sibley offers advice that can come in handy when you’re birding with one or more other people: How to point out the location of bird that is concealed — in foliage, for example.


Kenn Kaufman, in his authoritative “ID Tips” column, explains how to differentiate Snow and Ross’s Geese, an important skill for birders due to the significant expansion of Ross’s range in recent decades. And he explores the history of scientists’ knowledge of the “Blue Goose.”

Also in the issue:

  • Founding Editor Eldon Greij explains why albatrosses are incredible.
  • “Attracting Birds” columnist Laura Erickson notes that as each year comes to a close, she plans ways to make the next year better for her backyard birds. And she lists a few ideas you can use.
  • We present maps, bird lists, and tips for birding hotspots in California, Idaho, Arizona, and North Carolina. The Idaho site is one of the best spots to see the newly recognized species Cassia Crossbill.
  • Julie Craves of Michigan’s Rouge River Bird Observatory answers readers’ questions about the best fats to feed birds, pishing, and why starlings would descend on a lawn.
  • The American Bird Conservancy reports on how the Farm Bill helps birds.
  • And we present 10 new books about birds and birders. (If you’re looking for gift ideas — for yourself or others — this roundup is a great place to start.) One of the books we endorse is the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America, Seventh Edition. We just posted this interview with the co-authors, Jon Dunn and Jonathan Alderfer.

You can read the full list of the issue’s contents and see a sneak peek on our Current Issue page. We hope you enjoy the issue. If you have comments about it, please send a letter to us here. — Matt Mendenhall, Editor

P.S., if you take photos of birds and would like us to consider a photo or two for the reader-submitted “Your View” section, please read our Your View Submission Guidelines and send in your best shots!



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