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Channeling Santayana

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CJ_Winging_ItEven more than the advent of iPods or the internet, there is one massive change in birding that has the ability to alter our avocation for the better. Birders are getting hip to conservation. What was once the third rail of birding repartee has gone mainstream. We need look no further than the recent change to ABA's Articles of Incorporation for confirmation. That doesn't mean that the ABA is destined to become a conservation-only organization as many perceive Audubon to be; it just means that a huge majority of our members understand the importance of conservation to birding. A proactive stance is needed to change the world for the better. With that in mind, members (and their indoor cats) should now be receiving the October issue of Winging It in their mailboxes (also available online).

Within its pages you will find…

a heartfelt ode to the nearly-forgotten and emperiled birds of Maui by Elliot Schunke. (Conservation in Hawaii is woefully unfunded.)

a cautionary tale of the Passenger Pigeon by Joel Greenberg. (A nauseous reminder of the consequences of conservation complacency.)

Akohekohe_smalla self-examination of birding in LGBT-hostile countries by Sheridan Coffey. (By spending money there, are we contributing to human rights abuses?)

and a new regular column, "Thank you, Donors!". (Just like the habitat that the 'Akohekohe shown here depends on, a vibrant ABA depends on the proactive measures of its member-donors. To make your contribution, contact Carl Bendorf, chair of the Development and Fundraising Committee, at <[email protected]>.)

I usually eschew obfuscation, but I'll risk it here. The often-misquoted words of the late George Santayana perhaps best synthesize the message of the current issue: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to fulfill it."

The 'Akohekohe is endemic to the tops of the highest volcanoes in Maui and faces certain extinction unless we help to preserve its habitat. Painting by Luke Seitz.

 

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Michael Retter
Michael L. P. Retter is the editor of the ABA's newest magazine, Birder's Guide. He also wears his ABA cap while working as a Technical Reviewer for Birding magazine. When not at home, Michael is often leading tours in Middle America (Mexico through Panama). He currently lives with his fiancé, Matt, in Fort Worth, Texas. In his fleeting free time there, he pursues interests in horticulture (especially orchids), music, cooking, and numismatics. Michael also runs GBNA, the continent's informal club and email list for LGBT birders.
Michael Retter

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  • Donald Randall & Carmon Slater

    Thank you Michael Retter for the latest issue of Winging It and the article by Sheridan Coffey. Great issue and great article about homophobia around the Caribbean. Also enjoyed the article on Maui bird conservation. We’re looking for a cottage in up-country Maui.

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