Oh, sad day!!
I have just read (on Birding-aus) that my favourite birding magazine
(actually my favourite magazine!) will no longer be.
As a sometime contributor and avid reader I am greatly disappointed and
feeling somewhat guilty.
Guilty because I feel that I may have 'caused' the demise to some degree; at
least I anticipated it!
In a letter I wrote to ABM (Winter 1999, Vol 5 No 2, p27) I lamented the
move away from such publications to internet based resources.
My fear at the time was that the perceived advantages of the internet would
outweigh the actual advantages of the traditional magazine in most people's
Unfortunately, in this modern world all things new are considered to be
better than what came before.
As a result we are losing many of the truly good things for the sake of
Following my above mentioned letter I was encouraged by other readers of ABM
to 'get on line' and to experience the added advantages that the internet
can provide for birdwatchers.
After some searching I found Birding-aus, probably the best on-line resource
for my style of birdwatching.
Birding-aus is a very handy resource for communicating birding information
To my way of thinking, this is probably the only advantage that the internet
has over conventional magazines.
However, there is one definite advantage that ABM had over such resources as
Birding-aus: ABM contained very little outright crap!
It would appear that contributors to ABM were far more thoughtful about the
content of their articles than many of the internet contributors.
I have a great love of the written word especially when those words are in a
publication of the high standard of ABM and accompanied by the type of
illustrations that magazine provided.
Fine examples of that are the articles by Mike Carter about the South Island
Pied Oystercatcher as well as the article on identification of Red-rumped
and Striated Swallows.
Thanks for those articles Mike.
Personal perceptions of the 'appeal' and 'worth' of such things as magazines
can be very much subjective in nature.
My personal feeling is that ABM was more appealing and satisfying than
either Wingspan or Bird Observer.
That is not to say that Wingspan and Bird Observer are not worth having.....
far from it; both those magazine often contain articles and information I
find very interesting.
However, ABM was the one I looked forward to most!
Lawrie Conole (21/10/2000, 23:13:50 EST) is right in his comments about
Birding-aus and the need for a central Australian birding web-page.
Of course, if this could be achieved, it would truly mean the end of the
'traditional' magazine; but this looks like happening anyway.
It would be a big project, at least in the initial stages, as anyone who has
tried to create even a modest website that is worth viewing knows.
Even if one was created would it be as user friendly as a magazine; could
you 'read' it in bed?
In the meantime, perhaps one of the many very fertile and competent brains
out there in the birding world could, perhaps, devise a way of creating a
simple but comprehensive 'directory' of the many very good and informative
Australian birding websites.
That is, a collection of informative and active (as opposed to trivial and
rarely updated) websites that would emulate a 'magazine' in somewhat of the
style of ABM.
It would appear that the 'main' reason the magazine has folded is the usual
one.....economy of scale.
Andrew Isles did a wonderful thing in taking over the magazine from the
previous producers but no one could expect him to keep it going without at
least cutting even with the costs.
I suspect that another reason was the enormous effort required to produce a
magazine of such quality.
I would like to thank all those people that have helped to produce
Australian Birding Magazine in all its forms over the years.
I don't know all of them but they know who they are.
ABM will definitely be missed.
Woody point SEQld,
27 deg 15min S; 153 deg 5 min E
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