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Me, You and BWD

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A few Zick covers of the 22  I've painted for Bird Watcher's Digest.

Some newer readers may not know that, but for a certain bird magazine, I might not be writing books and articles, might not have had a nice five-year-stint as an NPR commentator; might not even be blogging here. I've been writing, painting and drawing for practically every issue of Bird Watcher's Digest for a couple of decades now.  I'm not on the staff, but I'm on the masthead as Contributing Editor. I write a column in each edition, and read galleys of every issue for scientific accuracy.  I look forward to each set of galleys, because I always learn something new. I feel at home with BWD and its readers. I know that  BWD subscribers are my core audience; they're the people who give gift subscriptions to friends, who give my books to their moms, who come to the festivals where Bill and I are working.

I've been musing about my long association with Bird Watcher's Digest recently. These are hard times for magazines everywhere, and the economic recovery we've all been waiting for simply hasn't materialized in time to offset the enormous costs of producing a print magazine.

You won't find bird gardening, feeding, a bird behavior column or backyard habitat enhancement advice combined in any other publication but Bird Watcher's Digest. No other magazine has featured an original painting on more than 200 covers since 1978. I'm proud to have been associated with the magazine since my first article appeared in 1986, proud to have painted 22 covers and written 60 or more articles for it. Truly, I've lost count. I'm incredibly proud of my husband, Bill Thompson III, who's editor and co-publisher. There's no one who works harder at what he does, which is producing the best magazine of its kind. He also writes books, subsidiary publications, and field guides which help subsidize the cost of keeping the magazine in print.  I'm proud of his whole family: Bill's brother Andy, sister Laura, and mother Elsa, all of whom pull together to put the magazine out issue after issue. The BWD staff is dedicated and incredible, and I'm lucky to be able to work with them.

If you call the magazine's offices, you'll most likely hear Elsa pick up. She started the whole thing in their Marietta living room in 1978 with Bill's dad, Bill Thompson Jr., and she's still there every day, solving subscriber conundrums and offering a gracious and warm persona for this wonderful publication. Subscribers say again and again that they feel like part of a family. Well, they are. Bird Watcher's Digest is one of the very last family-owned and operated magazines remaining in the United States. The Thompson family has been slugging it out against skyrocketing printing, paper and postage costs since 1978—34 years of putting out the finest content, photography, advice and full-on good literature about birds that you can find anywhere. 

 The bottom line is right here: Bird Watcher's Digest is going to have to find more subscribers to help pay for the cost of putting this magazine out. 

Bird Watcher's Digest is having a subscription drive. Only $19.95 for a year's worth of good writing, good backyard tips, ideas for birding excursions, fascinating insight into bird behavior, and clever humor from writers like Alvaro Jaramillo, David Bird and Al Batt. With your paid print subscription, you get free access to BWD's stunning digital edition, which is the entire magazine plus video and audio bonuses we can only do on the Web. (Several of our columnists, including me, read our work so you can listen to it online in the digital edition). If you lean that way, you can also subscribe to the digital edition alone for only $9.99 per year. Print subscribers also get access to the BWD App for reading on the iPad, Kindle Fire, and other such digital devices.

I don't know about you, but I can spend $20 without even thinking about it. I can hand a $20 bill to Phoebe and forget I even did it. Such a modest expenditure can bring you so much over the next year. If you enjoy the kind of writing and information you find on this blog, won't you try the Thompson family's magazine? 

Please click here to order your subscription. Thank you.


I'm in!

done :)

Posted by Anonymous August 9, 2012 at 9:49 AM
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Posted by Anonymous August 9, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Ya know I'm doing my part, loaning out past years mags and inspiring subscriptions (ok one)!!! I just checked my current expiration date and it is time to renew in January . I'll sign up for the the combo this time round, and perhaps a gift subscription or two. My brother was just about as excited to see his first Western Tanager this year as I was for him to see it. I'll make a birder out of him yet! A subscription to Bird Watcher Digest is a great way to help!

Love that Chestnut-collared Longspur by the way! Everyday!


Kathy in Delray Beach

Posted by Anonymous August 9, 2012 at 11:46 AM

Thanks Zic I know my sister who loves birds is now getting a birthday subscription from me! Why didn't I think of her before? I've kept you all to myself. Thanks for the nudge!

Mom and Kelli are going to love it. Long live Bird Watcher's Digest!

Got it! So proud to know you and Bill, even from afar.

Well said, as always, Julie! You and Bill and the whole Thompson clan have welcomed so many into your family in a very real and palpable way. I feel incredibly fortunate to have played a bit part along the way and to count myself as part of the BWD tribe. Long may you run.

That is a deal. Back in the early 80's when I was freelancing the occasional nature article to FloridaWildlife, FloridaLiving, and a few others, I received a kindly written rejection letter from BWD.
It was a Loggerhead Shrike article and I made the classic mistake of not studying the magazine well before submitting.

Serendipity. I wonder if that letter is in my dusty old freelance file.

So this is what happens when you get a nudge.
Good for you. Hope you get lots of new readers.
I checked out my first one--and was really intrigued with the article on open pipes, a problem of which I had not previously been aware.

FloridaCracker, I seem to recall pestering you recently for a submission or two and getting no joy. My, how times have changed. On another topic: I keep reliving your Superhero Scramble video and loving it. You have inspired me to attempt a 14-mile paddle DAY AFTER TOMORROW. xo jz

Just renewed mine (the automated e-mail reminder had gotten buried in my inbox, oops!) Definitely considering some gift subscriptions for this X-mas, too. Long live BWD!

14 miles! AWESOME!
Go Zick Go!

It just occured to me that a subscription to BWD would be a super birthday gift for Mom, who turns 84 next month.
Thanks for the gift idea!

I'm in too! Have loved reading the recent posts regarding birdly distractions at your studio window. Lucky girl!

CJL, Winfield, IL

I am signing up! Love that you have an app for readers.

Just signed on! Can't wait to see the first issue in the mail.

Done deal!

Done deal!

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