Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Magazine Review: BirdWatching

We took the family to the public library yesterday and, while I was watching the littlest of our kids, my wife found a birdwatching magazine for me. It was cleverly titled BirdWatching and sported a cool photo of a hummingbird on the front cover. I decided it would be ok to take a look at it, but was wary lest it contained a lot of campy birdwatching stories and lame tips for how to get the perfect photo. I actually wasn't quite sure what I was to find between its covers, but my curiosity got the best of me. We brought it home that April 2013 issue and I read through it last night before I went to bed. Here are my impressions of this magazine!

Positives: I was pleasantly surprised by the content of BirdWatching. There is a lot of science in this magazine and its not entirely watered down. For example, there was a fairly long and detailed article on the origins of bird pigmentation and a nice story about how small transmitters are changing our understanding of bird migration. There was also a nice story on how to keep birds from hitting your windows and an article about Rachel Carson. There is a nice section on how to identify the bird of the month, the Yellow Warbler in this case. It was an enjoyable read, all and all.

Negatives: The advertisements for far-flung places with fantastic birds that I will probably never see? The analysis of somewhat crappy science published in somewhat crappy scientific journals? A rambling (but still enjoyable) diatribe by Pete Dunne? Yeah, not a lot in the negatives department.

Overall: BirdWatching contains a good mix of nicely done bird photos, science-related bird stories, and practical advice about how birdwatching and bird conservation. For the less science inclined, I am not sure that all of the content would be accessible. Otherwise, this magazine presents a good selection of material that is well-targeted for the birding community.

[Editors Note: this is our 100th post!]

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