Chuck Hagner

Freelance editor and writer with expertise in natural history, science, and finance

United States

Author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin (Scott & Nix, Nov. 2019) and two other books about birds and bird watching. Successful appeal and annual report writer.

Former editor-in-chief of BirdWatching Magazine and former staff writer and editor at Time-Life Books. Recent clients include the World Bank, Scott & Nix, Princeton University Press, and others.

Contact: [email protected]



Princeton University Press
Velvet Ants of North America

Another copyeditor started editing this field guide, and I was happy to complete the job. Written by Kevin Williams, Aaron D. Pan, and Joseph S. Wilson, the book describes nearly 460 species in the family Mutillidae found in the United States and Canada.

Princeton University Press
Birds of China

It's always a treat to work on a book about a place you're curious about but can only hope to visit someday. I worked closely with a team of translators while editing this manuscript. The heavily illustrated 688-page guide is part of the Princeton Field Guides series. Nearly 1,500 bird species are covered.

ABA and Scott & Nix
American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Ontario

I edited the manuscript for this field guide, written by Chris Earley, biologist and education coordinator at the University of Guelph Arboretum. He describes no fewer than 310 bird species that have been recorded in Canada's second largest and most populous province.

Princeton University Press
Common Bees of Western North America

Having read Princeton's guide to eastern bees, I was happy also to cold-read this companion volume, on western bees. Written by Olivia Messinger Carril and Joseph S. Wilson, the 416-page book covers more than 200 species, focusing on those bees that are found in urban environments, specialize on unique plants, or are especially distinctive in appearance.

G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion
Implementation Guide for the G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion

For the World Bank, I edited this important 82-page guide to implementing the G20 High-Level Principles for Digital Financial Inclusion. The principles guide countries around the world as they rapidly adopt digital technologies to increase inclusion. The guide was prepared by the staff of the Better Than Cash Alliance, Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Princeton University Press
Spiders of North America

I edited the manuscript of this beautiful addition to the Princeton Field Guide series. Written by expert Sarah Rose, the book describes more than 500 of the most common and interesting spiders found in North America.

ABA and Scott & Nix
American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Maine

I thoroughly enjoyed editing this field guide, written with considerable wit by conservationist and writer Nick Lund. The book describes 265 bird species and many of the country's best birding destinations.

World Bank Group
Central Bank Digital Currency: A Payments Perspective

I edited this exhaustive guidance note, in which the World Bank publishes a decision-making framework that central banks and other public authorities around the world can employ as they investigate using digital currencies as instruments to strengthen or modernize their national payment systems.

Princeton University Press
Common Bees of Eastern North America

I was honored to cold-read this beautiful 288-page volume by Olivia Messinger Carril and Joseph S. Wilson, a welcome addition to Princeton's field guide series and the first species-level photographic field guide to the bees seen most commonly in the eastern United States and Canada.

ABA and Scott & Nix
American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Hawai'i

I was delighted to have the opportunity to edit the manuscript of this informative and beautiful new field guide by Helen and André F. Raine, about islands I've read so much about and so want to visit. The book is the latest addition to the series that includes my field guide to birds of Wisconsin, published in November 2019.

Princeton University Press
Dinosaur Facts and Figures

I enjoyed copyediting this illustrated book about Tyrannosaurus rex and all the other theropod dinosaurs that ruled our planet for millions of years.

Princeton University Press
Gulls Simplified

I cold-read this unique photographic field guide to North America's gulls from Pete Dunne and Kevin Karlson. In true Pete style, it provides a comparative approach to identification that concentrates on the size, structure, and basic plumage features. Gone are the often-confusing plumage details found in traditional guides.

Princeton University Press
Birds of Central America

I was honored to cold-read this beautiful book by Andrew C. Vallely and Dale Dyer, the first comprehensive field guide to the avifauna of the entire region, including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory
2018 Annual Report

It was pleasure to compile this annual report for the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory (now the Lake Michigan Bird Observatory), which at the time was the only Wisconsin organization conducting both offshore and near-shore waterbird monitoring and the only full-time bird observatory on Lake Michigan.

Princeton University Press
Amazing Arachnids

If you've ever come across an interesting spider, tick, or scorpion out west, you'll enjoy this book. I can recommend it because I cold-read it.

Global Environment Facility
Program Evaluation of the Special Climate Change Fund

Editing this evaluation of the Special Climate Change Fund by the Independent Evaluation Office of the Global Environment Facility, Washington, D.C., was absorbing and fascinating.

Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory
2017 Annual Report

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory was founded in 2010 to conduct coordinated research, monitoring, and education that advances the conservation of birds and bats in Wisconsin and throughout the Western Great Lakes Region.

Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory
2016 Annual Report

The Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory was founded in 2010 to conduct coordinated research, monitoring, and education that advances the conservation of birds and bats in Wisconsin and throughout the Western Great Lakes Region.


Review of Finale, by D. T. Max

My review of D. T. Max's collection of the transcripts of conversations he had with the late composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim.

ABA and Scott & Nix
American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin

I wrote this 368-page book, the latest in the ABA's popular and growing series of state guides. It tells how to identify and where to find all 262 of Wisconsin’s regularly occurring species, plus dozens of birds that appear only casually or rarely -- 299 birds in all. Well-known professional bird and nature photographer Brian E. Small provided more than 470 large color photos.

ABA Blog
A Stillness Beneath the Waves

A review by Charles Hagner The Death and Life of the Great Lakes, by Dan Egan W.W. Norton, 2017 364 pages, hardcover I have driven around its southern end more times than I can recall. I've traced its contours from the windows of jet planes. And I've crossed it by ferry.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Good Birders Still Don't Wear White

I contributed the essay "Why I'm a Patch Birder" to this collection. I tell how the birds I spotted on weekly birdwatching trips helped change a community's view of a neglected local park.

Exploring Portugal

Southern Portugal is a great place for birders from the New World to discover the birds of the Old.

Year in review 2016: The 50 most important stories about birds and birders

What a year 2016 was! Bald Eagles made history. A Spix's Macaw was sighted in the wild. Birding in Cuba became significantly easier. And participants in the Great Backyard Bird Count and Global Big Day set records, while a Dutch birder broke Noah Strycker's world Big Year mark.

Make room, New Caledonian Crow! Hawaiian Crow uses tools, too!

Tool use is extremely rare in the animal kingdom. According to estimates, the behavior has been documented in less than one percent of all known genera, and in an even smaller percentage of species. Among the few birds that use tools is New Caledonian Crow, which can be found only on a Pacific archipelago located 750 miles east of Australia.

Six photos show how to recognize young Bald Eagles

A regal-looking Bald Eagle appears on the cover of our October 2016, on sale now at Barnes & Noble and other newsstands. We chose the species to call attention to Joe Trezza's feature story about Vito and Linda, New York City's history-making Bald Eagle pair.

Five Peregrine Falcon nests worth watching this spring

No, the warblers and grosbeaks haven't arrived yet - at least not here in southeastern Wisconsin - but spring is in full swing, and we've gathered five webcam pictures to prove it. They show Peregrine Falcons that are already sitting on eggs in Evanston, Bowling Green, Baltimore, Omaha, and Milwaukee.

Shooting works: Spotted Owl numbers increase after Barred Owls are removed

Two studies have deepened the ethical dilemma faced by biologists tasked with saving the controversial, threatened Northern Spotted Owl. The first, an analysis of data collected between 1985 and 2013 at 11 study areas in northern California, Oregon, and Washington, indicates that federal listing in 1990 and reductions in timber harvests have failed to halt the subspecies' decline, calculated to be four percent annually.

Year in review: The 50 most important stories about birds and birdwatchers of 2015

The Big Year listing record was broken - no, shattered. Kirtland's Warblers in Wisconsin and Peregrine Falcons in Florida set records, while counters in Duluth tallied 90,000 birds. In a single day. Zapata Rail was finally spotted, a long-lost hummingbird was photographed, and a parrot once thought extinct was tagged.

Far-flying Blackpoll Warbler crosses continent before crossing ocean

We sure have learned a lot about tiny Blackpoll Warbler recently. First came irrefutable evidence, provided by the revolutionary tracking devices known as light-level geolocators, that the warbler flies nonstop over the Atlantic Ocean from New England and eastern Canada to South America each fall.

Study: Insect-eating birds decline where bee-killing neonicotinoids are present

A new study has linked neonicotinoids, the best-selling insecticides in the world, to declining populations of insect-eating birds. Researchers in the Netherlands combed through the results of years of local water-quality measurements and breeding-bird surveys and then compared concentrations of imidacloprid, the most widely used neonicotinoid, with population trends for 15 Old World songbirds that either depend on insects during the breeding season or eat nothing but insects year-round.

Seabirds by Sail

For intimate views of puffins, shearwaters, and other birds, nothing beats a cruise on a historic schooner.

Subarctic Treasure

Sparkling new, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre wows birders while minimizing their impact.

Cabin Life
Hidden in Plain Sight

Beautiful, powerful Great Horned Owl may be easier to see than you think.

The Company We've Kept

For 25 years, an impressive cast of heroes and geniuses have been exploring and expanding the birder’s world.

Michigan's Hawk Mountain

Why a mountain on Michigan's northernmost peninsula may be the best place in the country to watch northbound hawks in spring.

Birder's World
The Middle of It All

Located at the midpoint of a flyway and between two great refuges, Great Bend, Kansas, is the perfect place to shake a case of the winter blues.

Houghton Mifflin
Good Birders Don't Wear White

The biggest names in birding dispense advice to birders of every level, on topics ranging from feeding birds to fishing to pelagic birding.

Stackpole Books
Guide to Ducks and Geese

This straightforward guide will help you put a name to every duck or goose you'll find in North America.

Stackpole Books
Wings of Spring

How birds migrate, select a mate, choose a nest site, and raise young, portrayed in words and pictures. Winner, Design and Artistic Merit, National Outdoor Book Awards, 2006.

Nature Conservancy
Finding Treasure in a Frozen Land

How cold is 12 degrees below zero? I can tell you. Twelve below is about as far away from spring as I've ever been. And it's precisely how cold it was in early March, when I set out on snowshoes to find birds in northeastern Minnesota.

Birder's World
Frequent Flyers

Millions of migrating Western Sandpipers make Alaska’s Copper River Delta a birding hotspot without equal.