(See also acknowledgements for the online edition)
A project such as Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 was clearly a cooperative effort that could not have been attempted without the help, hard work, and support of literally hundreds of people. In a separate section of this volume, over 650 field volunteers, contributors, and organizations are specifically acknowledged for the thousands of hours that they invested in compiling information pertaining to the status and breeding distribution of Massachusetts birds during the years 1974 to 1979. While it should be abundantly obvious that without the labors of all these people this publication would not have been possible, it is equally important to recognize that a number of other individuals and institutions deserve specific recognition. To appreciate a few of the complexities involved in producing Atlas 1, a brief chronology follows.
A complete history of breeding bird atlases in North America has been traced elsewhere in this volume; however, the genesis of Massachusetts Atlas 1 was primarily a result of the inspiration and vision of James Baird, director of Natural History Services at the Massachusetts Audubon Society in the 1970s. During that period, with the support of Massachusetts Audubon's president at the time, Allen H. Morgan, Atlas 1 project was launched. With cooperation from the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, largely in the person of then Massachusetts State Ornithologist Bradford G. Blodget, responsibility for the initial Atlas 1 effort was placed under the direction and coordination of Deborah Howard, a staff member working under the supervision of James Baird at the time.
Within a year of the seminal organizational efforts of Deborah Howard, primary responsibility for coordinating the Atlas 1 project was turned over to Richard A. Forster, then Massachusetts Audubon field ornithologist, whose efforts in seeing the fieldwork for the Atlas 1 through to completion cannot be overemphasized. Throughout the data-gathering phase of the project, he received significant administrative assistance from Evelyn Smith, whose attention to detail and cheerful personality did much to keep the project on track during the 1970s.
Following the final year of fieldwork in 1979, a year in which Richard S. Heil and Richard R. Veit specifically assisted Richard A. Forster in gathering breeding bird information for previously uncovered Atlas 1 blocks, the next priority was to get the previous six years?breeding-bird data computerized and mapped. This responsibility ultimately fell to David Stemple at the University of Massachusetts, without whose expertise and efforts in developing a program to map Atlas 1 data, along with his willingness to serve as a technical advisor on other matters throughout the project, the present publication might never have become a reality.
After a suitable mapping program for Atlas 1 was created, the task of assigning authors to write species accounts, followed by the initial editing of these accounts, again fell to Richard A. Forster and James Baird. As noted in the section on the History of Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 Project, the contributions of 90 participating authors instilled a heightened sense of ownership to the final product yet added considerably to the task of producing the uniformity of text desirable in a reference such as Atlas 1. Through the course of a series of administrative delays, Atlas 1 enjoyed the scrutiny of other discerning eyes, most notably those of W. Roger Meservey. If it were not for his artful integration of data from the Cornell Nest Record Program and his finesse at smoothing out the overall manuscript, the final species accounts would never have attained their present uniformity of style and overall congruence. W. Roger Meservey wishes to particularly acknowledge assistance and support provided by Bradford G. Blodget and Francis McMenemy.
In addition to W. Roger Meservey's outstanding editorial endeavors, Massachusetts Audubon's Ann Prince Hecker has to be singled out as the final word on all matters pertaining to grammar, readability, and style. Without her unfailing and meticulous copy editor's eye, the book would not be the finely crafted document that it is. As always, Ann remained cheerful, patient, and optimistic throughout the many years it took to finalize publication of Atlas 1. In the final stages of production, when the book was nearly complete and laid out in page form, Stephanie Jones contributed her highly competent skills to the process. Her efficiency and accuracy in proofing the entire book from beginning to end are much appreciated.
Betty A. Graham also helped with editorial details when the project was near completion. Her willing, careful, skillful assistance was invaluable.
Along with the individuals already mentioned belongs the name of Mary Hopkins at Massachusetts Audubon for her help with any number of details related to the final production of the Atlas 1 publication. Without Mary's constant encouragement and assistance in working with editors, typesetters, printers, artists, and authors, along with her irrepressible sense of humor, the senior editor could easily have lost his mind by the project's end!
As final production plans for Atlas 1 gelled, a decision was made to utilize a selection of watercolor bird paintings by talented bird artist John Sill to accompany the species accounts. Without the cooperation of Orion Barber at Orion Book Services, Amy T. Montague at Massachusetts Audubon's Visual Arts Center, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society, Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1 would not have the visual appeal that John Sill’s stunning renditions bring to the book.
For assistance with the final production of the Atlas 1 species maps, as well as for making maps available to be used as transparent overlays, special thanks go to Stephen D. McRae, director, and Dorothy Graskamp of the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Environmental Law Enforcement Geographic Information Systems Program. The willingness of these two individuals to assist with a number of map-related questions, along with providing technical assistance in numerous other ways, is gratefully acknowledged.
The quality of the design, layout, supplemental illustrations, and cover art for the Atlas can be attributed to the skill and craftsmanship of artist and illustrator Barry W. Van Dusen. His enthusiasm for the project over the course of many years, his tireless energy, and his ability to coordinate and integrate all aspects of the completed work in a cheerful manner are aspects that would have been virtually impossible to find in any other individual. To Barry W. Van Dusen goes the lion's share of the credit for the final look and feel of the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas. Without Barry W. Van Dusen, this volume might never have been published. The editors offer their sincerest thanks and admiration to him for his friendship, advice, and support throughout the years.
To Chandler S. Robbins, "father of North American Breeding Bird Atlas Projects," go warm thanks for writing such an insightful foreword and for providing a global perspective on the value of bird atlas efforts. Chandler S. Robbins is an inspiration to all who follow the lives of North American birds.
Special kudos go to Simon A. Perkins, the senior editor's colleague, whose unfailing enthusiasm for the Atlas 1 project provided continual motivation for seeing the publication through to completion.
Specific thanks for making the publication of this book possible would not be complete without full acknowledgement to Christopher W. Leahy for his incalculable assistance and support during every phase of this project from its inception to its conclusion. His editorial and literary acumen were called upon at virtually every stage in the final production of Atlas 1, and his pen crafted or enhanced any number of passages throughout the text. Without his optimism, enthusiasm, and commitment, along with that of Massachusetts Audubon President Emeritus Gerard A. Bertrand and current President Laura A. Johnson, this publication might still be a manuscript in waiting.
Finally and with deepest sincerity, thanks go to Betty Petersen, spouse of the senior editor, for her steadfast support and companionship through the many years that this project has been in production.
The online edition of the Massachusetts Breeding Birds was made possible through the generous financial support of Foundation M, and we thank them for their commitment. We would also like to thank our colleagues at Massachusetts Audubon who made significant contributions to this online edition, and took time from their already-busy schedules to share their skills with us. They improved this website immensely.
We offer our thanks to Amy Montague who was able to provide us with the original back-up book files, Emily Walden Fox at the Visual Arts Center spent long hours helping us reconstruct the bird portrait files, and Bob Speare helped us with Mac-PC file conversions.
Creating the new maps for the online edition required that we mine the talents of Jeff Collins and Tom Lautzenheiser. The learning curve on GIS projects is steep, and Jeff and Tom were able to make that curve less steep, and greatly improved the final maps. Thank you Jeff and Tom.
This project was encouraged by Taber Allison who shared our vision of the value of presenting this information on a website, Sylvia Guthrie who successfully worked to keep us in the black-ink, and the inimitable Marj Rines who came to our rescue on several occasions. Thank you for the support and encouragement.
Louise Grindrod and Tom McGonegal helped with the design and "guts" of this website. Most of the actual work of putting this website together was done by Liz Page and Ellen Garcia. Ellen converted over 400 pages from .pdf files to .html files - and then went back and edited those same pages. Liz designed the site, managed all of the files, and created the final product. Thank you to everyone in IT, and kudos to Liz and Ellen.
Our thanks go to John Sill and Barry W. Van Dusen who created the beautiful images for the hardcopy edition and the images used on this website. In our conversations they were both encouraging and excited about this online edition.
More than 600 volunteers worked in the field from 1974-1979 to gather all of this information. After that period, a small army of species account authors wrote most of this text. To all of the volunteers and authors we offer our sincere thanks, and we hope we see you in the field for Atlas 2!
This project would not have been possible without Wayne Petersen and Roger Meservey. They were responsible for finishing the hardcopy edition of Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas 1. They created a beautiful book, one that will stand as an important benchmark in the ornithological literature. Without their work, this edition would not have been possible. Thank You Wayne and Roger.