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Bird Talk Magazine sings swan song, ruffles readers' feathers

by Kevin Ferguson | Off-Ramp®

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An Amazon Parrot stands atop a vintage issue of Bird Talk.The 39 year old parrot--named Cracker--is owned by Bird Talk columnist Susan Chamberlain. Susan Chamberlain

After 30 years in businesses, Southern California based Bird Talk Magazine is printing their last ever issue. It's one of the only magazines of its kind in the world--devoted to birds and bird owners alike.

Bowtie Inc, the magazine's parent company, announced last month that Bird Talk's September issue would be its last. Bird Talk's content will shift to Bird Channel--the magazine's website.

Susan Chamberlain? has written for Bird Talk magazine for 28 years--almost as long as the magazine has been around. She when she found out about the magazine's plans to fold--she wasn't surprised--the magazine has struggled with readership and advertising revenue for some time now. But the news still hurt. "It's like losing and old friend. I've made a lot of friends through writing for Bird Talk."

Loyal readers were hurt, too. Especially when they found out Bowtie planned to send subscribers issues of Dog Fancy in the future:

Chamberlain--who's also a board member of the Long Island Parrot Society--says the magazine was a point of pride in her community. Many bird owners delighted in seeing their parrot or conure in an issue of Bird Talk.

Bird Talk's final issue is adorned with an African Gray parrot. Holding a copy, Chamberlain points out an article on bird health, how to trim wings safely. There's no mention that this issue will be the magazine's last.

Chamberlain, who also runs a bird supply store online, says now that Bird Talk has ended, she'll continue writing for the magazine's website when she can. Bowtie Incorporated still plans to publish Birds USA, an annual publication.

But Chamberlain says she thinks the demand hasn't gone away. "I think that despite the internet, people do like to have something to hold in their hands," she says. "It's been a very enriching experience--and I will miss it."

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