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Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America (4th Ed.), edited by Guy Baldassarre

Fern Davies

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Common Eider (Somateria mollissima) drake in flight. Credit: Rainbirder, Flickr
Source: http://wildlifemanag...icles&Itemid=54

This fourth edition will be a tribute to the late Guy Baldassarre.

To be released in early Fall next year, the fourth edition’s contribution to the scientific literature and waterfowl conservation will be an important part of his legacy.

In 2009, the Wildlife Management Institute (WMI), in conjunction with new publisher Johns Hopkins Press (JHP), approached Guy about taking on the enormous and onerous task of a fourth edition of the famed Ducks, Geese and Swans of North America (DG&S), initially written by Francis H. Kortright and first published in 1942. That first edition went through more than a dozen printings before a substantially revised edition was prepared in 1976 by “Mr. Waterfowl,” Frank C. Bellrose. The second edition sold more than 500,000 copies, but was deemed substantially outdated only a few years later. A third edition was completed by Dr. Bellrose in 1981, and the work’s popularity continued. In the mid-1990s, WMI invited Bellrose to begin a fourth edition, which Frank readily agreed to do, even though his health was declining. Despite substantial investment in a new edition, the effort faltered, particularly after Dr. Bellrose’s death in 2005. Repeated and intensive efforts by Frank’s assistants to complete the task came to naught when the accumulated data were reviewed critically but fairly by experts within the waterfowl management community.

WMI and JHP refused to abandon the project. Eventually, because of Guy’s capabilities and credentials, he was offered the authorship of the fourth edition and license to revise and restructure the book’s content and illustrations. Understanding fully the time commitment involved, Guy took but a few days to agree to the task. He began work almost immediately and what he produced in the way of new material was all but staggering.
“I was astounded by the thoroughness of Guy’s research on the individual species of waterfowl and the speed with which he completed initial drafts of the edition’s various sections,” said Richard McCabe, retired WMI Executive Vice President. “And, those drafts were remarkably well organized and composed.”

Guy’s health waxed and waned throughout the time of his work on DG&S, but he managed to continue to produce quality copy and an optimistic outlook for the new edition.
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