Bird Watcher's Digest Magazine
In my office hangs the cover painting from the January/February 1988 Bird Watcher's Digest, a pair of evening grosbeaks as depicted by artist Robert Barrett. The birds are perched on the bough of a white pine that is heavy-laden with snow. In fact, the grosbeaks are the only thing in the scene uncovered by snow.
The painting is like a window that peeks into a wintry world year around, evoking thoughts of snow, of holidays from years past, anticipation of the future. The year that particular issue was published, 1988, is personally significant, as that is the year I was born. The magazine was born more than a decade before that, and as I write for BWD now in 2013, it is interesting to think about how some things have changed over the years, while other things have not changed at all.
But I digress. The topic at hand is evening grosbeaks. My first exposure to these black-and-gold birds happened nearly two decades ago. I must have been 6 years old. My sole bird book was an early copy of Peterson's How to Know the Birds, a volume my dad had picked up at an old, used bookstore down the road from our house. I read that little paperback from cover to cover, though it was missing its front cover, along with its first few pages. I didn't mind. It was my bible. Funny how one old book can make such an impact.
Thinking about purchasing a smaller scope that will fit in your suitcase and still leave room for your field guide, binoculars, and, oh yeah, clothes? Diane and Michael Porter and a team of birders from Iowa review travel scopes in three price categories, comparing them against a big, expensive, top-of-the-line model. Their findings might surprise you! BWD/eBWD subscribers, read online »
Big Bend National Park, Texas, just north of the border, is a magnet for birds and birders, especially during winter months. Howard Youth and a novice birder friend set out to find as many bird species as possible there, and tallied unexpected tales of bears and snakes as well. BWD/eBWD subscribers, read online »