Aves de México, RT Peterson, EL Chalif

Tags: Mexico, Edward Chalif, Mexico City, Editorial Diana, Jose Luis Ramirez, field marks, the Natural History Museum, Belize, Guatemala, conservation organization, Andres Sada, publications, field birder, a field guide to the birds of Mexico, Western Birds, Roger Tory Peterson, Mexican bird, Mexican birds, American Museum, Chalif, American tropics, Mario Ramos
Content: TheMexicanfieldguideisnowin Spanish Roger Tory Peterson
"Edward Chalif preparedthe first draft, but theprospectof painting so many species staggeredme... Я would have to do them all myself." RogerToryPeterson/EdwardL. Chalif AVES DE MEXICO Guiade Campo Coverof the newSpanisheditionof Avesde MexicoGuia de Campo,illustratingtheKeel-billedToucan(top)andtheEmeraM Toucanet(below).
'AYNEYAAGJRUoSA,SBTO the time I put the first edition .of A FieM Guide to Western Birds in my publishers'hands, Edward Chalif, who had birded with me in the West, suggestedthat a field guide to the birds of Mexico, using my schematic system, was much needed.Why not do onetogether?He hadalreadyprobedthe delightsof the Mexican avifauna, I had not. Eddie was a remarkable man. Born in Russia,he was smuggledout in a marketbasketwhile still a baby. His father had been the imperial balletmaster--Nijinski's ballet-master.As a young man in this country, Eddie tried ballet, and even danced with Pavlova, but being short of stature, ballet was not his fort& Instead he turned to ballroom dancingand in his two large schoolshe taught literally thousandsof privilegedyoungpeople in northernNew Jerseyand Philadelphia the art of the ballroom. His wife, Margaret, had been one of his pupils and later an instructor. Although dancing was his profession, birding took over his leisure time. He became hooked on birds as a Boy Scout. Attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, he later became influential in theaffairsof thatorganization. Our involvement in the armed serv- ices during the next severalyears drove out all thoughtsof a Mexican bird guide,and it wasnot until World War I1 was behind us that we talked about it again. The task of dealing with an avifauna of more than 1000 speciesseemedoverwhelming,and I felt I couldattemptit only if another artistor two would help. Edward Chalif made a number of subsequentexpeditions.I took part in someof themsoasto acquaintmyself withasmanybirdsaspossible(I eventually had field experiencewith more than 900 of the 1000+ speciesfound in Mexico). Chalif preparedthe first draft of the text, but the prospectof painting so many speciesstaggered me. We approached George Sutton who already had painted many portraits of Mexican birds, and he tenta-
AmericaBnirdsW, inter1, 989
RogerToryPeterso(nleft)andEdwardL. Chalif(right),withtwoofR.T.P5 original colorplatesin thebackgrounbde, forethepublicatioonfA FieldGuideto MexicanBirds in 1973.
tivelyagreedto takepart. Soona·rward, becauseof an overloadedwork schedulehe was reluctantly forced to withdraw. We next tried Don Eckel- berry,who wasbecomingincreasingly intriguedby thebirdsof the American tropics and who painted them brilliantly. He said"yes",then aftersome realisticsecondthoughts,"no".It was evident I would have to do them all myself. Inasmuch as so many years had elapsedsinceChalif preparedthe first
draft of the text and so much new information had surfaced while I was paintingthe colorplatesi,t fell to me to preparethe final revisions.These were checkedagainby Chalif before we submitted them to the fine-tooth scrutinyof severalof our colleagues, notably Eugene Eisenmann of the American Museum of Natural His- tory. As chairman of the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list Committee, which planned to include all of Middle America in the next
Plate 17 in Aves de Mexico (Plate 4 in the English edition) illustratingthecolorfuland brilliant largebirdsofprey.
check-list,he had an up-to-the-minute
knowledge of publications, records,
range extensionsand taxonomic decisionsasthey affectedMexican birds.
He also had the specimentrays of the
American Museum at hand to exam-
ine when necessary.
The book wasintended basicallyfor
American birders who already had
oneor both of the otherfieldguides--
East and West. To encompass more
than 1000 speciesin a book of field
guidesize,we wereforcedby the eco-
nomicsof publishingto make drastic
cuts. With few exceptions. all birds
alreadyillustratedin the North Amer-
ican field guideswere not illustrated. However, their occurrencein Mexico
wasgivenbriefly,aswell asa oneqine memo on their field marks. The field
birder in Mexico really needed all
three books to cover everything ade-
quately. When the World Wildlife Fund de-
cided to sponsor a spanish edition
therewasno recoursebut to getevery-
thinginto a singlebook,albeita thick one (670 pages),that would still fit the
Now, after several years of hard workbysomeof Mexico'stopbirders, notably Hector Ceballos-Lascurain
and Mario Ramos, we have a com-
plete,singlevolumebird guide,trans-
lated into Spanishwith supplemental
plates and text excerpted from the
easternandwesternfieldguides.It has
87 platesasagainst48 in the previous book and includesnot only Mexico
but also Guatemala, Belize and E1 Salvador.
On December 6, 1989, we held a
celebration at the Natural History
Museum in Mexico City and the
book, publishedby Editorial Diana,
wasformally introducedby its Presi-
dent, Jose Luis Ramirez, to a select
Mexican audience. Andres Sada, a
noted Mexican birder, and President
of PRONATURA, the most impor-
tant conservation organization in
Mexico, then spoke.My own Spanish
is minimal, so my remarks from the
podiumweretranslatedby HectorCeballos who has an impeccable com-
mand of both languages.
The followingday it wasgoodto get
into the high mountainssouthwestof Mexico City whereI couldteacquaint
myself with Bumblebee Humming-
birds, Red Warblers, and the like. I
only wish Eddie Chalif could have
been there.
Volume43, Number5

RT Peterson, EL Chalif

File: aves-de-mxico.pdf
Title: The Mexican field guide is now in Spanish
Author: RT Peterson, EL Chalif
Author: Roger Tory Peterson
Published: Tue Jun 2 15:47:37 2009
Pages: 2
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