All I know is that from a very young age I really paid attention to birds. An early childhood memory is seeing my maternal grandmother toss bread from her window to feed the birds when winter snow covered the ground. My first Girl Scout badge was a birdwatcher badge. As a nine-year-old I daily recorded the species and numbers of birds I saw in our industrialized suburb outside of Chicago. I was a lister even then! When I was ten my parents gave me Birds of America, by T. Gilbert Pearson (1936), almost two inches thick, and I read it, little by little, cover to cover. The Blue Jay was my spark bird, and now each time I am east of the Mississippi I try to hear and see it again. High school and college caused a dip in my birding interest, but by the time we moved to Arizona I was back at it again. Here was an entire array of new species to learn and the internet to supplement the birding opportunities and the information provided by post office mail and libraries. With the grand environmental diversity in our state, Arizona is a wonderful place to bird, and Northern Arizona is especially delightful and interesting for backyard birders.
Professionally, I spent my career as a management consultant and traveled the United States for business. With binoculars and field guides packed in my briefcase, I always looked for opportunities to step out of the office to locate a life bird or simply enjoy the new scenery. I am a graduate of Northern Illinois University, a mother of two sons, grandmother to five, and spend more time golfing than birding, unless you count the “backyard birding” time, and then there is no comparison between the two.
Marilyn Cooper, Professor Emerita of Humanities at Michigan Technological University, has taught undergraduate courses in writing, grammar, and editing, and graduate courses in composition, rhetoric, and critical theory. She edited textbooks at Harcourt Brace Jovanovich for five years and later edited the academic journal College Composition and Communication. She has published numerous articles on writing and has recently authored The Animal Who Writes, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. How did Margaret and Marilyn meet? On a Bird Watcher's Digest Reader Rendezvous birding trip to Costa Rica! https://www.upress.pitt.edu/books/9780822965794/
Eric Gofreed is a retired veterinarian who lives in Sedona, Arizona, and continues to pursue his dream of nature photography.
How did Margaret and Eric meet? Well, they haven't yet met in person, but Eric was introduced to Margaret by the Northern Arizona Audubon Society, and Margaret is honored that most of the photos in her book are his outstanding work.
Mark Sean Wilson graduated with honors from Platt College for graphic design. A California native, he now resides in Ohio and is an illustrator, doodler, cartoonist, graphic designer, and overall great guy with whom to work. He took the manuscript and photos and turned them into this beautiful book, seeing the end version in a way that Margaret could not even imagine. How did Margaret and Mark meet? They were introduced by a mutual friend and author, and they happily did all their work via phone and e-mail across the miles.