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From the Editor

by Hugh Powell
 

If you pay a visit to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, keep your eyes peeled for birds even after you come inside. Art is everywhere: a pair of brick-chested Hudsonian Godwits, from the brush of Roger Tory Peterson, stands in a doorway; two delicate Ivory Gulls and a group of Whooping Cranes flank the elevator; and at the top of the stairs George M. Sutton’s Common Mergansers take flight against snow-darkened clouds.

Downstairs in a wood-paneled room in our visitor center, a woodcock buzzes into a spring evening; a peregrine clutches a Bufflehead on a cliff; a King Eider shares a rocky shore with Canada Geese. They are the work of Louis Agassiz Fuertes, who was a friend of Lab founder Arthur “Doc” Allen and a mentor to Sutton. Today, that twin spirit of artistry and mentorship continues here.

You can see it in our auditorium, where a collection of work by artists in our Bartels Science Illustration Internship program is now on display. There are hummingbirds like scattered petals; chickadees, nuthatches, and creepers lined up for identification; a fall Magnolia Warbler hiding in a turning maple. Bright-eyed bluebirds and blackbirds almost fly off the wall.

Bartels art intern Jane Kim painted these three species of Hawaiian honeycreepers for a forthcoming edition of the Handbook of Bird Biology.

I wish you could all visit the Lab this winter to see the exquisite work of the 11 talented artists we’ve hosted over the last 9 years. But knowing that Ithaca, New York, is a bit out of the way for many of you, we thought this issue of BirdScope could do the next best thing.

Our centerfold describes the development of our illustration program and introduces you to our interns and their work. The internship, generously funded by Philip and Susan Bartels, gives these young illustrators a chance to work with scientists, build their portfolios, and helps keep them out of the ranks of starving artists.

This centerfold is a natural place to collect their work, because virtually all BirdScope centerfolds in the last four years have featured art by Bartels interns. And as we introduce a change in the way we send you news, you may soon start seeing their work in Living Bird. Beginning with the Summer issue, we’ll merge stories from BirdScope into a new section of Living Bird so members will receive all their news in one magazine. Supporters who normally get BirdScope will receive this section reformatted as a newsletter. Look for full details on the shift in our Spring issue. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts about the stories we tell and the topics you’d like to hear more about—please let me know at hdp8@cornell.edu or at our mailing address: BirdScope, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850.

—Hugh Powell

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