A Trip to Paradise
Over the past few decades I’ve probably looked at thousands of bird photographs from around the world, but nothing I’ve ever seen compares with Tim Laman’s remarkable images of birds-of-paradise (“Quest for Paradise,” by Edwin Scholes III, Autumn 2012). The work of Laman and Scholes is truly inspirational. The two of them set themselves a goal—to document all 39 species of birds-of-paradise—no matter how far they had to go, no matter how many expeditions they had to launch and how many remote and potentially dangerous areas they had to trek through. And they did it. They were like Victorian explorers, following in the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace and surpassing even his major accomplishments in studying these birds. Thank you so much for putting this story and the bird-of-paradise images in Living Bird. I hope they will serve as an inspiration to the young people of today.
Los Angeles, California
I’m not even a bird watcher, but I saw a copy of your Autumn 2012 issue at a friend’s house. “Quest for Paradise” was amazing. I knew nothing about the birds-of-paradise before reading the article, but I have since gone to the website you mentioned and watched the videos. I can’t get enough.
In Praise of Robins
I enjoyed reading the short news item in your last issue about the 12-year-old boy in Vancouver, British Columbia, who logged the 100 millionth bird sighting on eBird (“eBird Breaks the 100 Million Mark,” Around the Lab, Autumn 2012). Bravo! He must be so pleased and excited. I do have one complaint, however. Why do you write so disparagingly about the American Robin, describing it as “a fairly pedestrian bird.” Although they may be very common, everyday birds, they are anything but pedestrian. To me they are one of our most beautiful songbirds. I remember being completely enchanted by them as a child when they sang outside my bedroom window. In the future, please give the humble robins their due.
New York, New York
A Cure for The Bobwhite Blues?
I am writing to let everyone know how much I appreciated Jack Connor’s “The Bobwhite Blues” (Flying Field, Autumn 2012). After reading the article, which addresses the threats that the Northern Bobwhite is facing and what we can do to help the birds get back up to their historical population, I felt like doing all I could to help them and other native grassland birds. I checked out the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative’s website and then looked at the list of all of their partners. After scanning through them, I checked out Quail Unlimited (a hunter’s association) and have decided to join their cause to help preserve and conserve bobwhite habitat. I agree with Connor that birders and hunters are going to have to join together to help save the Northern Bobwhite and other grassland birds. I also think that all of us who own any amount of land should consider planting it in native grass and wildflowers. Next spring I plan to plant a piece of land with native plants for the benefit of birds and other wildlife. I think that if you care anything for the bobwhite, you should join an association that is dedicated to protecting grasslands, and also, if at all possible, sow a plot of native plants yourself.
John Bigham, Jr.
New Paris, Ohio