Bird Observer

The Birding Journal for New England

Blackburnian Warbler
Crane Estate, Ipswich, Massachusetts

Bird Observer welcomes the submission of manuscripts, artwork, or photographs for consideration for publication. Articles generally fit into the categories of feature articles of scientific, technical, or general nature (more than two pages), articles on birding locations (both one-page articles and more substantial articles with full page maps), and Field Notes (one or two pages).

Submission. Submit manuscripts to the Editor as email attachments. Submit your articles in Microsoft Word; We do not accept other word processing formats. If figures are included, send as separate attachments AFTER checking with the Editor about suitability, format, etc. Alternatively, manuscripts may be submitted via the Bird Observer web site.

Manuscript Preparation. Manuscripts may be shortened when edited. Use the current A.O.U. checklist for bird names and sequence. Include author's or artist's name, address, email, and telephone number and supply a brief biography. Scientific and technical articles are peer-reviewed. Views expressed in Bird Observer are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of Bird Observer of Eastern Massachusetts, Inc.

Manuscripts should conform to the following style notes:

References and Citations. The reference list includes only articles that are published or in press. Unpublished data, submitted manuscripts, and personal communications may be cited in the text. References are listed in alphabetical order. If you provide references, cite them in the text as follows: (Clench 1990; Welty and Baptista 1988; Grimmett et al. 1999). Please use the following style for the reference list:

  • Arnerican Ornithologists' Union. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th ed. Lawrence, Kansas: Allen Press.
  • Clench, M. 1990. The Importance of Contributions by Amateurs to American Ornithology: A Short History. Paper read at a joint meeting of the Association of Field Ornithologists and the Wilson Ornithological Society, June 1, 1990, at Wheaton College.
  • Grimmett, R., C. Inskipp, and T. Inskipp. 1999. A Guide to the Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Davis, W. 1989a. Distraction Displays or "Injury Feigning” in Birds, Bird Observer 17 (3): 125-28.
  • Davis, W. 1989b. About the Cover: Least Sandpiper, Bird Observer 17 (4): 220.
  • Gwinner, E. 1986. Internal Rhythms in Bird Migration, Scientific American 254 (4): 84-92.
  • Welty, J. C., and L. Baptista. 1988. The Life of Birds, 4th ed. New York: Saunders.
  • Black, J. M., S. Choudhury, and M. Owen. 1996. Do Barnacle Geese benefit from life-long monogamy? In Partnerships in Birds: The Study of Monogamy. J. M. Black, editor. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 91-117.

If only a few references are used, they may be cited in line in the body of the text, as (Gwinner, E. 1986. Internal Rhythms in Bird Migration, Scientific American 254 (4): 84-92), enclosed in either parentheses or brackets.

Electronic sources and references.

  • There has been no consistent BO style for citing electronic sources. When the online resource states or requests how it should be cited, use that format.
  • Always include the date of access in electronic citations.
  • For articles from The Birds of North America Online, use this format:
    Buckley, Neil J. 1999. Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) in The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology:
  • Cite these Breeding Bird Atlas databases as:
    • Breeding Bird Atlas Species Maps (online resource).  2014. U.S. Geological Survey Patuxent Wildlife Research Center & National Biological Information Infrastructure.
    • New York State Breeding Bird Atlas 2000 [Internet]. 2000–2005.  Release 1.0. Albany (New York): New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. [updated 2007 Jun 11; cited 2012 Oct 30]. Available from:
    • Hagenmeijer, E. J. M. and M. J. Blair (editors). 1997.  The EBCC Atlas of European Breeding Birds: their distribution and abundance. T & A.D. Poyser, London.
  • Here are several other examples:
    • Clements, J.F. 2011. Clements Checklist of Birds of the World 6.8. Available online at
    • Garvey, M. and M. Iliff. 2012.  Sixteenth Report of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee. Available online at
    • Rines, M. 2009. Thirteenth Report of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee. Bird Observer 37(2): 85–97. Available online at

Abbreviations/Acronyms are defined in the body of the text as follows: Parker River National Wildlife Refuge(PRNWR). They are used in text only if they appear three times in addition to first mention.

Tables and figures must be numbered independently and sequentially. Each must be titled and have a clear and succinct descriptive legend. Include source credits if applicable. Tables may be reconstructed to improve reproduction. Do not embed figures or tables (or any nontext items) in your text file.

Images are sized to one-half (2.44 inches) or full (4.88 inches) width at 300 dpi resolution; please do not submit images that are not at least 732 pixels wide. Bird Observer accepts color photographs and illustrations. Images will appear in color in the online journal but will be black and white in the print journal. For the print journal, color images are rendered as gray scale images and may be processed to improve reproduction. All images must be clearly captioned, with the photographer or source credited. Do not embed photos or illustrations (or any nontext images and graphics) in your text file.

Style Sheet:Bird Observer Mini Style Sheet.pdf

For editorial communications:
Marsha Salett, Editor

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Our mission: to support and promote the observation, understanding, and conservation of the wild birds of New England.

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