The diminutive yellow-eyed charmer on the cover, a Northern Saw-whet Owl, is just one reason why. We think the photo is a stunner. It’s the handiwork of talented Ottawa photographer Daniel Cadieux.
Not only is the photo a perfect accompaniment to our cover story — Cheryl Lyn Dybas’s fascinating account of the little bird’s amazing annual migrations, and why banders at Michigan’s Whitefish Point Bird Observatory record so many saw-whets each spring — but Cadieux tells us he was able to take the picture the old-fashioned, ethical way: without bait, without flushing the owl, and with a healthy dose of luck.
“This owl was in no way baited or flushed. I actually lucked out on the find,” Cadieux explains, since the owl flew to an open perch after being mobbed by a bunch of forest songbirds. “It was already being mobbed when I came across it, and it soon flew back into thick cover of a cedar tree.”
Better yet, Cadieux shared his photo not in some hard-to-find corner of the Internet, but right here in our fun-to-browse U.S. and Canada Gallery. That’s where Managing Editor Matt Mendenhall found it (and was instantly bowled over). He knew as soon as he saw it that we didn’t have to look any further for a cover photo. And he was right.
The article “My Long Walk,” by Bill Mueller, director of the nascent Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, is another reason you won’t want to miss the April issue. Last spring, as part of the 2013 Great Wisconsin Birdathon, he walked clear across the state, from Lake Michigan to the Mississippi, birding all the way.
As Mueller writes, he did the walk to raise much-needed money for conservation but discovered along the way that the richest experiences came from the connections he forged with the many people who supported him. If you’ve ever despaired about the state of the world, this article’s for you.
My hunch is that you won’t want to miss Managing Editor Matt Mendenhall’s feature “Five Backyards That Birds Love,” either. In it, he showcases five properties that have been certified bird-friendly by the National Wildlife Federation. Each is a different size and shape, and each is located in a different region of the country, yet each attracts and sustains birds, and lots of them. As I wrote in my editorial, the story has transformative power: It will help you see your own yard a new way — the way a bird sees it.
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