ABA's Bird of the Year: Evening Grosbeak

Last year the American Birding Association introduced their Bird of the Year campaign to highlight a species in trouble.  We got stickers to place on our binoculars, scopes, computers, phones, etc.  Something that could show we are members of the ABA and talk about birds that might need some extra protection and help.  This year, the program is expanding, thanks to some help from Robert Mortensen, founder of Birding Is Fun.

Here was last night's official announcement of 2012's Bird of the Year.  I love this video so much:


Adorbs, Jeff!

So, if you are a member of the ABA, you will be getting your latest issue of Birding with the stickers included.  The stickers are supposed to be made of more durable stuff than last year's sticker and they feature the artwork of the fabulous Julie Zickefoose!

Since I use my iPad for bird programs at the park and I need stickers on mine to separate it from the park iPads that's where I placed one of mine, as well as on my Swarovski scope.  The ABA also has suggestions for other things that you can do for evening grosbeaks (whether you are an ABA member or not):

  • Report our Evening Grosbeak sightings to eBird, and participate in events such as Project FeederWatch, Great Backyard Bird Count, and the Christmas Bird Count. Our sighting reports are very helpful to bird science and will enhance our understanding of why, when, and where Evening Grosbeaks move.
  • Introduce friends and family members to birding. A gift package of a bird feeder, a starter bag of wild bird seed, and a field guide is a great way to do it! Help them learn to identify their feeder birds and keep an eye out for Evening Grosbeaks.
  • Get outside. And in the process, check out all the other birds that share the world with us.
  • Get involved. Join your local bird club. Volunteer with local conservation organizations.
  • Go to www.aba.org/join to learn how to get involved in the American Birding Association.
  • What type of conservation projects can you think of that would benefit Evening Grosbeaks? Email us BoY@ABA.org

Maybe I'll submit one of my iPhonescoped photos.  So, why should we have some concern towards the evening grosbeak?  According to recent studies from data collected by Project Feeder Watch, the overall population of evening grosbeaks has decline by 50% between 1988 and 2006...and no one knows why.  This used to be a common winter feeder bird.  Some years you would see more than others, but even I haven't seen that many the last few years and I live in a place where I should be able to find them easily.  I was excited when I got the photos of evening grosbeaks in this post on a January trip to Sax Zim Bog and realized that it had been a few years since I'd seen one of these birds that looks like a goldfinch on steroids.  It's a good idea to not take what used to be a common bird for granted, so let's keep an eye on it.

The ABA also has some fun events planned throughout the year that includes a photo contest to show how you used your ABA sticker, a chance for members to show off their evening grosbeak photos, and a media contest--submit artwork, media regarding the evening grosbeak as well as a blog carnival. Check out the Bird of the Year page for more information.