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Ned Brinkley - Editor of North American Birds
(b. 4 May 1965) began birding at age 6 in May 1971 in the Great Dismal Swamp on the Virginia/North Carolina border. His mentors were members of the Cape Henry Audubon Society: Susan Hubbard, Gisela Grimm, Rebecca White, Dot Silsby, Floy Burford, Bob Ake, David Hughes, Bob Anderson, Tom Gwynn, Don Schwab, and Butch Pearce. Through his teen years, Brinkley birded Virginia and North Carolina with fine companions drawn mostly from Virginia's southern half and during this time developed a particular interest in pelagic seabirds through excursions organized by Ake and friend Paul Dumont in the 1970s. Through a liaison with Norfolk’s sister-city Wilhelmshaven, Germany, Brinkley had the opportunity to live abroad in Friesland and study shorebirds on the great Wattenmeer (now the Nationalpark Niedersächsisches Wattenmeer) and adjacent coastal areas in 1982.
As an undergraduate at the University of Virginia 1983-1987, Brinkley was able to bird in the mountains more regularly and continued to make forays offshore. Study at the University of Vienna, the Free University (Berlin), and the Goethe Institute in 1986 concluded with a summer backpacking in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and later in Iceland. He graduated from university the next year with a B. A., in Comparative Literature and in Germanic Languages and Literatures. After study at Virginia, Brinkley moved on to study literature at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, completing his doctorate with a concentration in western European literature. While at Cornell, Brinkley helped guide up to 40 field trips per year for the Cayuga Bird Club and also worked as teaching assistant for Steve Kress, whose Field Ornithology course was a great local success.
Brinkley returned to Virginia in 1994 to teach as an Assistant Professor at University of Virginia. During the mid-1990s, he worked in spare time as a birding tour guide for WINGS, Inc., in Manitoba and Antarctica, and helped design tours to other destinations as well. A university sabbatical spent in 1998 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia led to “early retirement” there, and in 1998, he began guiding birding tours full time for Field Guides, Inc. (most recent tour to Hawaii, March 2011), opened a bed-and-breakfast inn (2001), and began editing North American Birds (2001). Guide work has taken him to Chile, Peru, Venezuela, Argentina, Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Iceland, France, Portugal, Madeira, Bermuda, Manitoba, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia, as well as many locations in the United States.
During his time as Editor, Brinkley has expanded the journal’s coverage to include all of Canada, Mexico, Central America, and Greenland and has expanded the journal’s features to include the Photo Essay, Birding Journal, Photo Salon, and many new sorts of articles. As a birder who has contributed observations to the journal for 32 years and has relished reading the journal, he is always interested in improvements and welcomes from all quarters: email@example.com.