Meet the Thompson Family

Bill Thompson, III

BT3 is the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher’s Digest and its many booklets and newsletters. He’s also the author of the best-selling books Bird Watching for Dummies, The Young Birder’s Guide, and Identifying and Feeding Birds. He is the lead author of Identify Yourself: Birding’s 50 Most Common ID Challenges. Before he joined the BWD staff in 1988, Bill was a senior account executive at a New York City advertising/PR agency. A musician in his off-duty hours, his favorite bird is the red-headed woodpecker.

Elsa E. Thompson

Elsa’s nickname is “Catbird” and like the catbird, she is always talking or singing. She is one of BWD’s two founding publishers. It was her interest in birds that led the family into bird watching. Elsa helps BWD maintain its commitment to customer service, but her real role is as the BWD office den mother. Her favorite bird is the Carolina wren.

Bill Thompson, Jr.

A former newsman, college teacher and administrator, Bill co-founded Bird Watcher’s Digest in 1978 with wife Elsa. It was Bill’s desire to “be his own boss” that was the catalyst for the start of BWD. On January 25, 2011, Bill died after a short illness. BWD would not exist if it weren’t for Bill’s talent and determination. His favorite bird was the sora, a secretive marshland rail.

Andy Thompson

Andy is BWD’s co-publisher and director of sales. Prior to joining BWD in 1990, he worked in a Washington, D.C., think tank. In his free time Andy enjoys composing music, golfing, and speaking Spanish. His favorite bird is the prairie warbler.

Laura Thompson Fulton

Laura serves as Bird Watcher’s Digest’s marketing director. She has worked in a variety of fields, including customer service, marketing, and international travel. After unexpectedly finding a winter flock in her backyard pines, her favorite bird is the whitewinged crossbill.

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About Us

Bird Watcher’s Digest, a bimonthly magazine for birders, was founded in Marietta, Ohio, in 1978 by Elsa and Bill Thompson, Jr. BWD also publishes Watching Backyard Birds for backyard birders. Over the decades, BWD has expanded to include other modes and channels of content creation and distribution: websites, videos, podcasts, blogs, booklets, print and e-books, birding gear, and events, most notably the Midwest Birding Symposium, BWD Reader Rendezvous, and the American Birding Expo.

Client Testimonials

Bird Watcher's Digest and the Space Coast Birding and Wildlife Festival has enjoyed a  long-time working partnership. Both organizations experienced phenomenal growth while making the appropriate internal and external changes to compete in the world of birding and nature-based activities. The Thompson family and BWD staff are mentors who best promote your event or product. Each customer receives the same caring service whether first or long time advertisers.

Neta Harris

Celestron is proud to team with organizations like Bird Watcher’s Digest. Advertising and sponsorship efforts are integrated smoothly and our participation at their events like the recent American Birding Expo in Columbus, Ohio allow us to build our relationships with people in the outdoor enthusiast community.

Michelle Meskill

BWD has been a part of our promotional plan for several years. The team and Thompson family are wonderful partners, the readers are dedicated birders. BWD should be considered for the media plan of any brand, service or venue that needs to reach this target audience in a trusted, welcoming environment.

Bill Wilson

Our experience working with BWD is multifaceted. BWD is professional and trustworthy. We find them friendly and loyal. They know the birding business and have a strong following. Our advertising with BWD enhances our image and produces sales. BWD is a family business like ours, which we know works best with birders.

Keith Hackland

The BWD team makes things happen in a big way. Working with Bill, Dawn, Kyle, Mollee and the whole crew at the American Birding Expo was fantastic. As we've come to expect, the event flowed smoothly and seamlessly throughout. We're already looking forward to the next one!

George L. Armistead
Events Coordinator / American Birding Association

Its been fantastic working with the professional team at The Bird Watchers’ Digest and we appreciate their help in promoting us to their readership and fans.

Adam Riley

We know when the magazine lands in people’s hands because our phone rings! And it’s been that way from the first ad over a decade ago. That makes me feel old.

Geoff Heeter

Working with the BWD team has been great for our company, and we are pleased to see their magazine and online presence going from strength to strength. We are loyal fans of BWD!

Leon Marais
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