It has been clear for some years that the second edition was in need of reprinting or replacement. So many changes in the province's birdlife have been documented since that edition, which contains records to the end of 1969, that it would have been a disservice to have merely reprinted the book. However, a complete rewriting would entail much further research on published material, on scattered museum collections, on data in the Maritimes Nest Records Scheme (filed with the Canadian Wildlife Service, Sackville, New Brunswick) and on material from the Co-operative Breeding Bird Surveys carried out in Nova Scotia since 1966 (see Erskine, 1978). Furthermore, the newly launched Maritimes Breeding Bird Atlas, to occupy hundreds of participants between 1986 and 1991, will undoubtedly expand our knowledge of the occurrence, distribution and abundance of breeding birds in Nova Scotia.
Fortunately, the wide and deep experience and knowledge of Robie Tufts is still a firm foundation for any account of the province's birds. Therefore our mandate for revision was more modest. The Nova Scotia Bird Society was asked by the Nova Scotia Museum to update those sections of the second edition on the status of occurrence of each species, using records accumulated and published by the society over the years. To do this, the current sub-editors of the seasonal bird reports in the society's periodical, Nova Scotia Birds (published since 1957, formerly as the Newsletter of the society), were asked to initiate revisions for birds for which they are responsible in that periodical. Charles R.K. Allen undertook the loons, grebes and waterfowl, Richard G.B. Brown the seabirds, J. Shirley Cohrs the passerines from flycatchers to starling, Phyllis R. Dobson the remaining passerines, Ian A. McLaren the herons and relatives, diurnal raptors, gallinaceous birds and the doves through woodpeckers, and Francis P. Spalding the shorebirds. I was asked to coordinate and standardize these efforts.
During the work it became clear that other changes were in order, some of which are explained in the Introduction. Many nomenclatural changes had to be made from the most recent Check-list of North American Birds (American Ornithologists' Union 1983). Geographical distributions of many species have changed or become better known in years. Some comments in the Remarks sections of the second edition are no longer and others had to be added. The Introduction was completely rewritten to reflect changed perceptions about birds, their environments and bird study.
It has been our aim in this third edition to preserve the organization and flavour of the previous editions. Robie Tufts' writing continues to enliven what would otherwise be a drier, more technical work. We have retained his first-person accounts in the sections on Breeding (which have not otherwise been modified essentially unless changes in breeding status have occurred since 1969) and in the Remarks sections, where his observations and anecdotes on common species are particularly illuminating. Of course, the illustrations that graced the previous editions were indispensable as well.
All this has involved a team effort extending beyond the contributions of the above named sub-editors of Nova Scotia Birds. Debra Burleson and John Hennigar-Shuh of the Nova Scotia Museum have been responsible for liaison among the various groups and individuals involved in the project. Fulton Lavender subdued the massive amount of material from the Nova Scotia Bird Society's records onto easily managed file cards. Our copy editor, Douglas Beall, has skilfully fished out ambiguities, obscurities, redundancies and infelicities. Fred Scott of the Nova Scotia Museum also cast a critical eye on technical and literary matters. Tony Crouch and Bonnie Bairn of the Information Division of the Department of Government Services have made significant contributions to this project. We have had excellent word processing through numerous revisions by Barbara Calwell. Steven Slip designed this edition, and Elizabeth Eve and Dan Sergeant of Nimbus Publishing shepherded the book to its final published form. Finally, we must all be grateful to those who over the years have supplied their observations on birds in Nova Scotia. Some contributors were singled out for acknowledgements in previous editions, but their ranks have swelled greatly in more recent years. Many are named in the sections on Status, Breeding and Remarks as authorities for unusual occurrences or noteworthy observations.
We hope that readers or, more precisely, users of this book will be pleased with our collective effort.
Ian A. McLaren Halifax, Nova Scotia April 21, 1986
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