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From the editor

Memories, time, birds 

WINTER IS UPON us, and I find myself thinking back to the winter of 2004-’05. That year, birders in the Upper Midwest, myself included, enjoyed an incursion of Great Gray and Northern Hawk Owls. These showstopper species normally winter no farther south than northern Minnesota, especially the famous Sax-Zim Bog. But that winter, they moved well south throughout Minnesota, to several spots in Wisconsin and a few locations in Iowa.

On January 1, 2005, I had my most memorable New Year’s Day as a birder when I took my young daughter to a state park north of Milwaukee to look for a reported Northern Hawk Owl. It did not disappoint, and lots of people saw it that day. My daughter, who was not quite 4 at the time, fell asleep in her car seat on the way home. She is now a senior in college, and her younger sister, then just 5 months old, is a college freshman. How time flies!

I’m sure that most of us who enjoy watching birds have similar memories of special sightings. Writers in this issue — Stephan Lorenz, Laura Erickson, and Michael Webster — share various memorable encounters they’ve had with birds.

On page 18, Stephan describes sightings of White-tailed Ptarmigan that he has had in Colorado over the years. On page 26, Laura recounts a recent trip to Alaska, her first ever with a birding tour company. In her story, she weighs the pros and cons of traveling on your own versus signing up with an organized tour. And on page 34, Michael takes us to Argentina for a story about the extraordinary Hooded Grebe, the bird featured on our cover. Enjoy!

— Matt Mendenhall, editor

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See the contents of our January/February 2023 issue


Originally Published

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