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The Hairy Woodpecker

Birding Business - December 2010

Birding Business December 2010


Do It Right the First Time

BY RAY DAVID | Editor/Publisher

ALL MY LIFE I HAVE BEEN A FAN OF THE printed word, so it's no wonder I enjoy my job so much. Spending my working hours reading and writing is about the best way I can imagine for one to earn his daily measure. It's not where I started my working career so many years ago, but somehow most of us are able to set up our internal occupational compass to take us down the road we most want to follow, and this became my chosen route.

Reading, of course, is the easy part. We receive many pre-publication editions of new books about to hit the market, which gives us an early heads-up and enables us to exercise our cognitive talents on those rainy evenings when TV gets a little stale. But only 3 of these volumes can be reviewed in each issue of this magazine. Our library, however, continues to grow, so with the ammunition at hand we'll be able to add more book reviews to our web site as we go, and through that, help keep you in touch with what's coming so you can keep your customers in the know. Those who are about to depart on a birding tour of the Middle East, for instance, might like to know that Princeton University Press is soon to introduce the second edition of their field guide "Birds of the Middle East". Being a field guide there is no story to it, of course, but the field birder will find delight in the 384 pages of images, range maps and descriptive copy.

Being able to read so many books about birds and nature may make one think that we are experts in the subject. Certainly each of us on the Birding Business staff has a lot of knowledge in one area or the other, but none of us are truly experts in every aspect of birding. Even those who hold an advanced degree in ornithology would readily admit that there are others with perhaps more detailed knowledge of bird calls, or migration habits than they, but know less about taxonomy or feeding habits. But all of us have a Rolodex when questions arise. So if a customer has a question you can't answer, just e-mail us and if we don't have the information readily to hand we know someone who does.   

When we're writing a piece for the magazine, knowing where to turn is equally helpful. You learn from us what we have learned from someone else, but that only has value if our source is correct. If we are misled then so are you and your customer, so we have to be diligent in our fact-checking. That's why it can take days longer to write about something than to read about it. But the satisfaction in meeting a deadline with copy that's correct is worth the time it takes. That's the excuse I'm using since, as it happens, I'm a day late getting this page to the nice folks in the production department. They get a little antsy about deadlines because they can't do their job until I do mine, but I first have to make sure I did it right.

Also in the December issue...