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From the Editor

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by Tim Gallagher
 

Here’s a trivia question for all of our readers: What do Mercury astronaut John Glenn and Living Bird have in common?

Give up? They both launched in 1962—Glenn circling the planet three times, becoming the first American in orbit, and Living Bird beginning its first half century of publishing articles, photographs, and illustrations featuring birds.

Yes, it’s been 50 years since these earth-shaking events took place, and we’re happy to say that John Glenn and Living Bird are still going strong. To celebrate this rare occasion, I decided to browse through the old issues and talk with everyone I could find who remembered what it was like in the early days of this publication. The fact that I’ve been editor of Living Bird for 21 of the past 50 years made it a little easier, but it was still an enlightening experience. I now see that even though the publication was more of a scientific journal for its first 20 years and came out only once a year, it was always aimed at bridging the divide between the scientist and the bird enthusiast—a journal that “neither writes down to the amateur ornithologist nor writes up to the professional ornithologist,” as former Lab of Ornithology director and first Living Bird editor Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr., wrote. It was written “for all educated persons in understandable and readable language while sacrificing nothing whatsoever in substance.” That is still our aim.

To learn more about the history of Living Bird, we invite you to read “Half a Century and Counting,” on page 10 of this issue.

—Tim Gallagher, Editor-in-Chief

Birds of North America Online
Jane Kim Mural

Living Bird Magazine

Winter 2012

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