Monday, October 8, 2007

Considering joining the ABA

I'm considering joining the American Birding Association, but there are a couple of things holding me back.

1. Price: while $45 a year doesn't seem like much, I'm already shelling out big bucks for my professional memberships as well, not to mention my dues to Audubon and the Ohio Ornithological Society.

2. The ABA area - For some reason, the ABA doesn't include any Mexican territory within its area, but does include Canada. The Birdfreak blog post for may 22, 2007 addressed this better than I could, so I'll link to it:

However, one issue that Birdfreak didn't raise that seems glaring to me is that the ABA includes Canada. Why exclude one country but not another? To be frank, in today's political climate, it has a subtle reek of racism. I'm sure (or at least I hope) that's not the case, but still, the benefits to including Mexico seem self-evident, and I don't see any reason to not include it that wouldn't also apply to removing Canada from the ABA area. Unless the ABA just wants to serve the needs of big listers, which seems pretty lame to me, but if that's the case, then they SHOULD remove Canada from the region and make the area only the land and territorial waters of the 49 continental states.

Anyway, I'm mulling it over.


Birdfreak said...

The ABA is a wonderful organization that does a lot of good for the birding community. I've been a member for 3+ years now and it is worth the cost of membership.

I 100% believe that the ABA did not exclude Mexico because of racism. I believe it stems from issues of bird distribution - that including Mexico would add TOO many species and does not match well with the habitats found in the U.S. and Canada.

But I do wish they would include Mexico. It would certainly help Mexico greatly through conservation efforts that are currently used in the U.S.

And if you want a big list, Mexico could add a whole lot of potential new birds, many not that far south of the border.

Andy said...

Oh, I am sure it wasn't racist, but you can see how it can look that way in today's world.

Even including the northern Mexican states would make sense, since those states have basically the same habitats as found along our southern border. It just makes zero sense to say that if you see a Muscovy Duck flying down the Rio Grande River, you have to hope it swerves over into the US before it's "countable".

Not only that, but then you have Saint Lawrence Island within the ABA area, when it's within spitting distance of an entirely different continent. Seems like it would makes sense NOT to include the extreme western Bering Sea islands as well.

I don't know, I'll probably join at some point, but things that appear to be logical inconsistencies bug the hell out of me.