October 2020

Vol. 48, No. 5

Zaps: 48-5

Zaps are notes of awareness and pleas for action that appear in the corresponding print edition of Bird Observer. Here they are from the current issue.

Thank you, Christine King!

Marsha C. Salett

An editor is only as good as her staff, which is especially true for Bird Observer because this journal has been produced entirely by volunteers since its inception 47 years ago. Every issue is a team effort. Equally important as editorial content, graphic design, and production is quality control—the job of the proofreader.

Christine King, our proofreader extraordinaire, has retired with the August 2020 issue. Christine started in 2012 with the February issue and for nine-and-one-half years has kept Bird Observer looking our professional best, which means going over every sentence, word, title, number, name, end-of-article godwit, and more in scrupulous detail. And she has saved us from many embarrassing major errors along the way. 

She has revised the style sheet with me at least a couple of times, and the next version of the 2020 style sheet should be available this fall thanks to her giving it one last edit and catching a lot more that we needed to update. 

Besides contributing thoughtful ideas and information to staff meetings, Christine is fun to hang out with and I'm going to miss her cheerful presence. A professional baker, she always brought amazingly delicious and beautiful breads or cakes to the staff meetings to complement dinner, for which I have been most appreciative. Christine is a woman of many talents. Thank you from the entire staff and Board of Bird Observer.

Volunteer Staff Opening at Bird Observer

Mailing Assistant

The mailing assistant assists the mailing manager in preparing the printed issues of Bird Observer to be mailed in accordance with U.S. Post Office bulk mail regulations.

Initially, the job requires the assistant to be available at somewhat short notice for a couple of hours six times a year (usually during the last week of Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, Nov), usually in the evening or on a weekend, to help the mailing manager at her residence in Medford with attaching the subscriber mailing labels and assembling the issues into coded bundles and then into tagged mail bags.

Ultimately, the assistant should become capable of taking over the entire mailing process if the mailing manager is unavailable for a given issue. To that end, the assistant will meet with the mailing manager to learn:

  • the procedures for picking up the boxes of issues at the printer at Porter Square in Cambridge and for delivering the mailbags to the Area Distribution Center in Waltham.
  • how to fill out the 6-page postal form to calculate the cost of the mailing.

The job does not require any knowledge of birds or any particular computer skills. The subscription manager recently created a computer spreadsheet to help with the postal costs calculations, but costs can also be computed with any hand-held calculator.

To inquire about this position, contact Reneé LaFontaine,

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