Your most-wanted birds in the news
So much has happened since our last issue reached your mailbox that we barely found room in this issue to get it all in.
As you can read here, researchers have published evidence that derivatives of DDT are again causing eggshell thinning and reproductive troubles in birds. And not just any birds, but the species that came in No. 1 when we asked which birds you wanted to see most: the California Condor.
Just as interesting, Managing Editor Matt Mendenhall has learned that refuge managers here in Wisconsin are considering a novel plan to relieve the Whooping Crane — our readers’ second most-wanted bird — from a plague of biting black flies. And the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that it had selected its controversial “Preferred Alternative” to control the Barred Owls that have arrived in the range of the sixth most-wanted species: the Northern Spotted Owl. (Kenn Kaufman tells how to ID both owls in “ID Tips.”)
What’s more, as shown in a photo in the issue, the Blue-footed Booby, the 10th most-wanted species in our poll, turned up in huge numbers in California and other western states. (You can see one of the birds in our Rarities gallery.)
Even more newsworthy than these birds, though, is the latest installment of “Birder at Large.” I’m sure you noticed that we didn’t carry new essays from Pete Dunne in our August and October issues. Instead, Matt and I selected a pair of essays from our archives, favorites from 2004. Now you can find out why — and why I’m relieved and delighted to publish this one.
Also in this issue: Tour leader Mark Hedden describes a new project that promises to answer questions about the mysterious Magnificent Frigatebird, explorer Bjorn Dihle writes about birds that spend the winter above the Arctic Circle, and we present our year-end roundup of notable new books. Please let me know how you like it.
Chuck Hagner, editor