I can think of many reasons to pick up a copy of our August 2014 issue, which appears on newsstands today.
There’s Jerry Jackson’s fascinating story about Loggerhead Shrike. The bird is declining in most parts of the country, a species of conservation concern, yet it’s doing well in South Florida — and for a surprising reason.
There’s playwright Susan Flakes’s moving story about the Common Ravens that were her near-constant companions while she and her husband resided in California’s Mojave Desert. She disliked the big black birds at first, but the more time she spent with them, the more they grew on her.
And there’s even an article from me, the cover story, a description of the puffins, gannets, shearwaters, and other birds I saw while sailing in the Gulf of Maine last summer aboard the Lewis R. French, the oldest surviving Maine-built schooner and a National Historic Landmark.
There are also excellent contributions from Kenn Kaufman, Pete Dunne, Laura Erickson, and David Sibley: Kenn tells how to identify flycatchers. Pete describes why bad weather is often good for birding. Laura writes why you and I really shouldn’t feed pigeons. And David explains the often-subtle ways birds change their shape.
All of our other popular regular features are there, too: the gallery of recent rare-bird sightings, Q&A from Julie Craves, “Amazing Birds” by Eldon Greij, our listing of festivals and events, and pages of beautiful bird photos taken by readers, including the most recent winner of our bimonthly photo contest.
Good reasons to buy the August issue, every one of them, but the best reason is our semi-annual listing of bird-related citizen-science projects.
In “Make Your Birdwatching Count!,” we give the lowdown on over 50 fun, interesting, and valuable bird-related citizen-science projects taking place across the country between August and January and year-round. Each is waiting for a birder just like you.
Please volunteer. You’ll be happy you did.
We compiled our list with reader input. Earlier this year, via our e-newsletter and on Twitter and Facebook, we asked for information about upcoming projects, and you responded. And in a big way. We’re proud of our list, and we know you’re the reason it’s up to date and useful. Thank you.
A final thought: If you don’t see your favorite citizen-science project listed, or if you notice an item that needs updating, please let us know. Send an email to [email protected]. We’d be happy to hear from you and grateful for your input. — Chuck Hagner, Editor