December 2022

Vol. 50, No. 6

The History of Bird Observer - Chapter 5: The Easy Years

William E. Davis, Jr.

Following several difficult years, 1993 and 1994 were relatively easy for Bird Observer, featuring the completion and publication of A Birder’s Guide to Eastern Massachusetts and a consolidation of the legal aspects of the organization under the able direction of lawyer Jay Shetterly. At the February 1993 staff meeting, Ted Davis announced that he had signed a contract with the American Birding Association (ABA) to publish the book. The treasurer reported that Bird Observer was in the black by approximately $2,000.

The February 1993 issue of Bird Observer was the twentieth anniversary issue and featured a variety of historical subjects dealing with Bird Observer’s first 20 years, including “Birding Memories From Our Readers” and a “Staff Roll Call: Gathering the Flock,” which listed the entire all-volunteer staff that made Bird Observer a reality during its first 20 years (Figure 1). The cover of this issue was a collage of 11 covers—each contributed by a different artist—over the 20 years. “About the Cover: The First Twenty Years,” was a three-page history with brief stories of the cover artists. These included Paula Butler, who contributed the original Bird Observer cover art featuring two stylistic Sanderlings that appeared for the first five years of the journal, and Margaret La Farge, whose drawings of two Hudsonian Godwits replaced the Sanderlings for a year until the decision was made to grace the cover of every issue with a different bird.

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