Aren’t you ever just amazed at the skill exhibited by other naturalists? I’m often blown away by the concentration of sheer field ornithology prowess when I get together with fellow birders… and believe me, I subtract my own merely adequate aptitude from that equation! But then again, most of us can still feel humbled beside a better birder. As a friend of mine recently remarked, “No matter how good you are, you’re always looking up the ladder at someone else.”

That friend was Jeffery A. Gordon and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of birding with Jeff, you might detect the incongruity in that admission. Jeff is, to put it plainly, a birding ace. I’ve seen him entice rarities out of the jungle canopy that had pros from three continents running with childlike glee. I’ve also seen him wrangle reptiles and unruly bird watchers alike with equal finesse, but that’s another story.  The beauty of our avocation is that there is always more to see, more to learn and know. Even the most exemplary guide feels like a student, just like you. And Jeff, already impressive as an author and tour leader, has added blogging to his arsenal. He might not have as many years under his belt in this medium as many of us but he’s climbing the ladder quickly, as evidenced by his dynamite Christmas Bird Count tally rally presentation of I and the Bird #90!

What a year 2008 has been for nature blogging, huh? Not only are our community stalwarts getting better every month but fascinating new voices are emerging every day. I hope you stand with me in looking forward to an even more exciting, informative, and avian-abundant 2009. For now, give yourself a well-deserved break for the holidays – I and the Bird certainly is!  We’re going to suspend carnival operations until after the New Year begins. To ensure we, as James Brown would say, get on the good foot, we’re going to kick off the next year of collective bird blogging brilliance with T.R. Ryan of From the Faraway, Nearby at the helm. This talented world traveler is well-equipped to present an epic international edition of IATB so don’t let him down. You’ve got almost a full month to submit an inspiring post on birding or wild birds – just get something to me or T.R. (trryan AT aol DOT com) by January 6 for the 1/8/2009 edition. Happy Holidays!!!

Written by Mike
Mike is a leading authority in the field of standardized test preparation, but he's also a traveler who fully expects to see every bird in the world. Besides founding 10,000 Birds in 2003, Mike has also created a number of other entertaining but now extirpated nature blog resources, particularly the Nature Blog Network and I and the Bird.