Wendy Clark, publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest

Wendy Clark —the publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest, which is the name of the 42-year-old flagship magazine, but now really also refers to the multi-media enterprise that includes bird identification guides, publications, podcasts, and events—recounts the history of how the Digest began, founded by Bill and Elsa Thompson, in the living room of their home in Marietta, Ohio, back in 1978. In some detail, Clark describes the Thompsons, their backgrounds, their talents, their family—the Thompsons’ son, Bill III, was Clark’s boyfriend, and the publication’s publisher, until he died of pancreatic cancer in March of 2019. She explains that, having amassed a range of work experience before and after joining the Bird Watcher’s Digest operation, she then stepped into the publisher’s role. Clark recalls her own foray into birdwatching, which as she notes, she came to later in life—the first bird that thrilled her, the so-called “spark bird,” was a Scarlet Tanager, which has a blood-red body and black wings. Clark outlines what someone would need to get started as a birdwatcher, which amounts to an inexpensive pair of binoculars, and a field guide or a birding app—and, she emphasized, you can get going with less: Just being outside and mindful of the birds you see will work at the outset.  (https://www.birdwatchersdigest.com/, https://www.facebook.com/BirdWatchersDigest, https://www.instagram.com/birdwatchersdigest/)

ALSO: I spoke briefly with Martha Sullivan, an animal advocate who wrote a smart intriguing opinion piece for the Times of San Diego (https://tinyurl.com/y9btmnku) that dealt chiefly with horse racing, by noting it tends to be the domain of wealthy white men, contrasting that with men of color, who tend to engage in dog fighting, and examining that through the lense of Black Lives Matter. She notes that the apparent increase in horse deaths at tracks does not reflect a rise in the number of horses dying on these tracks, so much as a surge in the media coverage of those deaths. As if that’s not dark enough, Sullivan points out that with track workers, jockeys and others move from track to track as racing seasons end and begin, a number of those people have been exposed to—and diagnosed with–Covid-19.



COMEDY CORNER:  Martha Kelly’s “Horses Hate That We Ride Them” (https://marthakelly.net)

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE:  We didn’t play “Name That Animal Tune” today.


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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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