North American Birds

VOLUME 70 NO1 2017

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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Page 4 of 139

V O L U M E 7 0 ( 2 0 1 7 ) • N U M B E R 1 3 E D I TO R S ' N OT E B O O K / T H E C H A N G I N G S E A S O N S : O F G A L E S , W I TC H E S , A N D G AT H E R I N G S TO R M S muddled and at a bit of a crossroads—and truly, if we're being honest with ourselves, has been at this place for some time now. The world wide web and social media both firmly appear here to stay. The days when a periodical publication was an actual source of news are largely behind us, and that alone must surely be cause for us all to take a step back and reflect on the trajectory of any print media. As we have witnessed in the decline of an industry as "fast-moving" as the newspaper, today's print sources face a variety of challenges when it comes to basic relevance, sustainability, and general sur- vival. In many instances and across many genres, the de facto print response has re- sembled something closer to 140 charac- ters, lots of glossy photography, less nuts and bolts, and more commentary. In the mainstream media we have perhaps most notably witnessed the shrinking length of news stories, apparently a last-ditch effort to maintain interest from an ever-changing society that in many ways appears to have an ever-decreasing appetite for anything that does not appear in their Facebook timeline or Twitter feed. The question must then be directed to North America's birders: What do you de- sire from a journal dedicated to recording the continent's birdlife? Today's publica- tions, particularly those with as long and decorated a history as North American Birds, seemingly must adapt to current trends and norms—at least to a degree that is reasonable and allows such publications to maintain their unique and very neces- sary sense of identity. Indeed, where do we head from here? It's no secret that a large percentage of NAB's readership, much like all birders, gathers information from eBird, electron- ic mailing lists, Twitter feeds, Facebook groups, and who knows where else. It's also no secret that an increasing number of NAB's regional reports published in any given is- sue now include substantial amounts of in- formation from eBird and other web-based sources. Recent birding-related visits made by this editor to the Middle East and Europe have been enlightening and illuminating in garnering regional viewpoints and mentali- ties related to long-standing print publica- tions and how those entities are adapting to the exciting advancements and new chal- lenges brought forth by the 21st century. To branch off into particulars surrounding these meetings would probably go a bit too far for this particular essay, but suffice to say that our friends across the pond have some very intriguing ideas and solutions when it comes to tackling the increasing divide between slower-moving print sources and lightning-fast web sources, and we look for- ward to working with them in a variety of ways going forward. But more importantly, we want to work with you, the readers and contributors who are the most essential cog in the NAB equa- tion. Our door is always open. If there is This flock of Franklin's Gulls (the entire group totaling 62 individuals) stunned observers at Cape May, New Jersey. The congregation potentially represented the largest single flock ever documented on the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by © Michael O'Brien.

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