From the editor

Carrying the torch


You likely have heard the news by now, but in case you haven’t, the birding community lost one of its brightest stars on March 25, when Bill Thompson III died only a few months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Bill was the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, the magazine that his parents founded more than 40 years ago, and the author of numerous books, including The New Birder’s Guide to Birds of North America.

Approximately 12 hours before Bill passed away, the president of the American Birding Association, Jeffrey Gordon, awarded Bill the ABA’s highest honor, the Roger Tory Peterson Award for Promoting the Cause of Birding. It was a well-deserved honor for Bill, who had been “among the most visible, creative, vital, and effective advocates for birding, birders, and bird conservation,” as Jeff wrote. (You can read about the award and see a video of the presentation at the ABA blog.)

To honor Bill’s memory and to continue his legacy of welcoming and inspiring new birders, Bird Watcher’s Digest established the Bill Thompson, III, Young Birders Fund. Visit to learn more about it and how to contribute.

Bill’s legacy will live on through the fund and also through those of us who care enough about birds and nature to make a difference. If I may, I’d like to ask what you do to help birds. Do you garden with native plants, participate in bird counts or atlas projects, lobby elected officials, or teach kids about nature? Or something else? Write to me at the address below and we’ll compile readers’ answers for a future article. Thanks for all you do.

Matt Mendenhall, editor

[email protected]

See the contents of our July/August 2019 issue


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