The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Let’s do this in reverse order. The ugly part of this is that the Regional Reports are way behind. Literally, several years behind. The backlog is immense, and it will take some time to catch up. But the new digital platform permits us to “backfill” old Regional Reports while simultaneously producing current or near-current Regional Reports.
The bad part isn’t bad so much as it is challenging. The challenge is to swiftly modernize the whole method of production and delivery of Regional Reports. This is a challenge that will fall heavily on the content producers—that is to say, the Regional Editors themselves. Greg Neise, Webczar for the ABA, is working with journal liaison (and Birding Editor) Ted Floyd, to create a system that is as user-friendly and bug-free as possible.
The good part is that the Regional Reports will be timely and editable; they will be searchable and analyzable; they will be broadly accessible and relevant to birding and ornithology in the 2020s and beyond. The print-version Regional Reports, if we’re honest with ourselves, had become a sort of monument to the way things used to be. The online Regional Reports will inform conservation actions, basic science, and the enjoyment of birds and birding for decades to come.
So Where Are These Much-Ballyhooed Digital Reports?
The shortest possible answer is: at the link at the bottom of this paragraph. Before you go there, please understand that these are just a couple of demonstrations of what the online Regional Reports will look like. The system is in place, though, and we anticipate that more of these will be up by the end of the month—with many more to follow as spring turns to summer. With that out of the way: Click here for a sample report.
Regional Reports: The Big Picture
In just the next few days, we are going to have links here for three different “subspecies,” if you will of the North American Birds community: (1) Regional Editors and Associate Editors: (2) current and recent subscribers to the journal; and (3) ABA members and friends who haven’t yet benefited from the learning and discovery and wonder to be found in the Regional Reports.
For more information and perspective on the digital Regional Reports, including their relationship to the print/subscription journal, please see Ted Floyd’s commentary in the current issue (May 2020) of North American Birds. And please check this space regularly, as we expect to have updates as early as next week.