North American Birds

VOLUME 69 NO3 2016

A Quarterly Journal of Ornithological Record Published by the American Birding Association. The mission of the journal is to provide a complete overview of the changing panorama of our continent’s birdlife.

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315 V O L U M E 6 9 ( 2 0 1 6 ) • N U M B E R S 3 / 4 been spent in front of a computer, ed- iting, copy-editing, photo-editing, and even in recent years working on lay- outs. It's time for me to hand the work of the journal to people with younger eyes and new visions—and to get back to experiencing birds directly and fre- quently, with muddy feet, salt spray in the face, mosquito bites, and prob- ably something that resembles a Tilley Hat. Some of that time in the field will include political protest and demon- strations, but it's possible to submit an eBird checklist from almost anywhere, after all. I have enjoyed collaboration with fellow editors and authors, from near and far, more than I can put into words here. There have been foibles, but there have been triumphs as well. I have been humbled by the erudition of editors and contributors both senior and ju- nior; I have learned so much that the brain throbs at times. In the position of journal editor, one learns much more than the changing distribution of bird- life. I have been thrilled to be part of the lives of fellow editors, marking mile- stones of all sorts—weddings, the birth of children, the discovery of rarities at home and new species abroad. I have watched young contributors to this journal rocket up the ranks to occupy some of the most innovative and influ- ential positions in the field of amateur ornithology, even to the point of bridg- ing the gulf between amateur and pro- fessional. I have seen setbacks of many sorts, and squabbles that sidetracked us. But I have seen our common work help advance the argument for nations to address the warming of the planet. Our work matters. From my fellow editors, I have learned what it means to be both a E D I TO R S ' N OT E B O O K more open-minded and more critical collaborator. In particular, I would like to acknowledge here Guy McCaskie, Regional Editor for Southern Califor- nia and Robert O. Paxton, Regional Editor first for Northern California, then for the Hudson-Delaware region, whose examples of perspicacity, tenac- ity, punctuality, and preciseness have put me to shame but have given me an understanding of what it means to be serious about making substan- tive editorial contributions to amateur ornithology. Both gentlemen began their editorial work for the journal with Audubon Field Notes Volume 16, Number 4, covering the spring migra - tion of 1962—some 54 years and 272 issues ago. There are few individuals anywhere in the world whose dedica- tion to citizen science is comparable. I would also like to thank Louis R. Bevier, P. A. Buckley, Adam M. Byrne, Stephen J. Dinsmore, Alvaro Jaramillo, Paul E. Lehman, and Alan Wormington for their outstanding work as Associate Editors on the journal, Matthew Sharp and Brian L. Sullivan, who served so ably as Photo Editors, and Ted Floyd, who is always a font of wisdom and encouragement when the chips are low. For most of my tenure, Bryan Pat- rick put in long hours as Director of Publications and was responsible for keeping the enterprise afloat, while Ed Rother and James Harris accom- plished wonders in graphic design, making even the most tedious material appear inviting. They have my special thanks. And to Bob Paxton and David A. Cutler, who launched the "Friends of North American Birds" fund back in 2002: you have the appreciation of all readers, past and future, for coming to the rescue. We would have folded long ago without your fundraising work. The ornithological landscape of 2016 differs remarkably from that of 1962, or even 1996, and the challenges that lie ahead for the documentation of the rapid changes in bird populations, and for bird conservation, are beyond our grasp still. It is my hope that the North American Birds tradition will per- sist into this brave new world and will remain part of the network of amateur scientists striving to collect and pre- serve the truth about what is happen- ing to wildlife and the environment. I will miss all of the rich interactions that editing this journal makes possible, but I look forward to seeing many of you in person out in the field, after seeing your names in print for so long. All of you reading this now have my thanks for the years of support and encourage- ment. Birders of the future will look kindly on your contributions to the history of North American ornithology through this journal, and many will understand past distribution and status better through reading the regional re- ports of old. Finally, I extend my gratitude to the American Birding Association, for hav- ing enough faith in the enterprise to take over publication of the journal twenty years ago, and specifically to Jeffrey Gor- don, the Association's current President, who has provided substantial support for the editorial group in recent years. We all share a goal, perhaps never better stated than in John Fitzpatrick's address to the International Partners In Flight conference in 2002: "Our holy grail— guaranteed persistence of all American birds in natural numbers and habi- tats—is indeed worthy of revolutionary fervor." In the tribulations ahead, let us never lose sight of what unites us. n

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