2018: Year Of The Bird

When passenger pigeons vanished, and the fashions of the moment dictated that hats should be adorned with magnificent plumes from many types of birds, and market hunting of game birds slaughtered them by the thousands, wiser heads prevailed and created the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). This year marks a century of success. Leading the celebrations are the National Geographic Society with its Year of the Bird, and partners like the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and hundreds of other groups. REF will be working hard to deliver a variety of programs and products marking this centennial achievement. Remember, birds have been around for more than 100 million years and we might be able to learn a thing, or two or three from these feathered jewels that evolved to survive the age of dinosaurs. Might they survive the age of Homo sapiens?

Our first tribute to birds began in 1984 when we created the first professionally-produced book on raptors for children in the United States. First published in 1985 via a partnership with Raptor Education Foundation and Roberts Rinehart Publishing, after 32 years in print this same book is being revised and expanded for a second time and will be re-issued by the University of New Mexico Press. It still features the exceptional illustrations by Don Malick, the original introduction by Roger Tory Peterson, and REF’s own Curator Anne Price is re-writing and updating the text with new information. This will be just one of REF’s efforts connecting raptors to new generations of raptor lovers all over America. Mr. Malick illustrated many of the bird plates for National Geographic’s Field Guide to the Birds of North America, so our book set very high standards from the beginning. We’re working on some other surprises as well!

The video below is compiled from my recent trip into Mexico. While based out of Puerto Vallarta, I was able to take some remarkable trips into the wilds in pursuit of the spectacular Ornate Hawk Eagle. Several have been reported in the area over the past year, so our chances of seeing one were good. But as anyone who has spent time pursuing wild birds knows, nothing is guaranteed! That was the result on this trip, but the supporting cast of feathered beauties was well worth the effort and truly testifies to some of the best birding in the world just a few hours south of the Rio Grande. Thanks to Greg Homel and Alejandro Martinez Rodriguez, two of the best guides I’ve ever had the fortune to be in the field with. If you ever want to spend some great time bird watching and photographing, Alejandro and Greg are exceptional. Greg also leads birding tours all over the world. Contact me and I’ll provide their information. Excluding Greg and Alejandro, the first person in the US to identify all of the birds in the video will win one of our hand-painted bald eagle pins as a way to kick off celebrating the Year of Birds. Peter Reshetniak, President

Please be specific with common names, and the closing date for entries is January 15, 2018.


Updated: January 2, 2018 — 11:50 am