Sibley, the Passenger Pigeon, and Red Crossbills star in our February 2014 issue, on newsstands now

1/7/2014 | 0

BW0214_Cover_330x430Good news! Our February 2014 issue goes on newsstands today. (Subscribers should keep watch on their mailboxes; the issue will come in the mail soon, if it hasn’t come already.) You won’t want to miss it. Here are four reasons why:

1. OUR INTERVIEW WITH DAVID SIBLEY about the long-awaited revised edition of the Sibley Guide to Birds. According to the book’s publisher, almost every aspect of the guide has undergone a remarkable makeover. Dozens of species have been added, most paintings have been revised, and hundreds of new paintings have been created. Maps have been updated, fonts have been tweaked, illustrations enlarged. We were the first not only to interview Sibley but also to show pages from the second edition. If you own a copy of the original Sibley Guide, you’ll want to read this.

2. THE STORY OF THE PASSENGER PIGEON, told by Joel Greenberg, a principal of Project Passenger Pigeon and the author of a new book on the species. To be honest, I thought I already knew this sad story. Then I read Joel’s manuscript, “Like Meteors from Heaven,” and I realized I didn’t know the half of it — and that our first issue of 2014, the centenary of the species’ extinction, simply had to include the article.

Listen to Joel Greenberg discuss the Passenger Pigeon on the Diane Rehm Show (recorded on January 7, 2014).

3. AN UPDATE ON THE PUZZLING RED CROSSBILL, the bird on our cover (Jim Zipp took the photo). According to writer Charles Bergman, the crossbill continues to be considered a single species but may soon be split, perhaps as many as 10 times. To prepare his story, Bergman spent time with two of the leading researchers in the crossbill field — Julie Smith and Craig Benkman — and came back with strong reasons why, the next time you find a crossbill in your binoculars, you should listen really, really hard.

Julie Smith talks about her research into Red Crossbill call types.

4. A NEW PLACE TO STAY AND LEARN AT CHURCHILL, MANITOBA. When I visited Churchill in the spring of 2012, my home away from home was the all-new Churchill Northern Studies Centre. Attractive, LEED-certified, and buzzing with bird talk and bird research, it’s a perfect place for a learning vacation spent looking for godwits, pipits, eiders, redpolls, and other birds (to say nothing about beluga whales). To see Pacific Loons, Willow Ptarmigans, snowshoe hares, and Arctic foxes, all I had to do was look out the window of my room. I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Please take a look at the issue, then let me know how you you like it. As always, I look forward to hearing from you. – Chuck Hagner, Editor

Read my note from the February 2014 issue.

See the contents of the February issue.

See the Tablet Extras that we added to the issue.