One of the largest and most well known birding organizations in North America, the non-profit American Birding Association has connected birders and promoted bird conservation and competitive birding since 1968.
The American Birding Association (ABA) began in 1968 and since its inception has had a strong focus on sport-like birding and competitive listing, including annual compilations of leading birders (those with the most birds on their life lists) around the world, with rankings in a wide range of categories. While the organization initially took some criticism for its emphasis on listing, it quickly introduced ethical standards for birders that have become widely regarded as an essential core for birding etiquette and birding ethics.
Over time, the ABA also introduced bird identification information and sightings details into its mission, both of which helps its members pursue their passion to see more bird species and enjoy the diverse avifauna throughout the world.
What the ABA Does Today
Today, the American Birding Association still has a strong focus on listing, but has a more subdued focus on competitive birding and instead seeks to promote the enjoyment and protection of wild birds for birders at all skill and experience levels. Among the ABA's goals are:
- Ethics: Promoting the welfare of wild birds and the safety of both birds and birders, including respect for local laws and a cooperative community of birders.
- Travel: Endorsing birding travel opportunities with the goal of seeing the greatest number of bird species in diverse habitats with the help of expert guides.
- Education: Promoting educational initiatives about bird conservation and birding through regular conferences, workshops, youth camps and other activities.
- Conservation: Supporting conservation for both resident and migratory birds, as well as operating the Birder's Exchange to provide birding equipment in critical neotropical areas in Latin America and the Caribbean to promote ornithological studies and education.
- Awards: Recognizing birders who have made significant contributions to the ABA's mission through their local and regional work with birding on different levels and to different audiences.
Joining the American Birding Association
Everyone with an interest in birding and birds is welcome to join the ABA, regardless of their experience or how many birds they may have on their life list. Membership fees range from $25-60 and higher depending on whether it is a single or joint membership, applicable student discounts and country of residence. Members receive several publications, including the signature magazine, Birding, and the less formal Winging It newsletter, both published six times per year. Other benefits of joining the ABA include access to member discounts on travel, additional publications, annual list reports and joining a community of like-minded, enthusiastic birders.
For more information, visit www.ABA.org.
Image – ABA Logo © American Birding Association