Bill Thompson IIIIn loving memory and in honor of our dear friend...

Some people leave a lasting impact and just one encounter can influence us for the rest of our lives, in the best of ways.
Bill Thompson III embarked on his biggest journey while cradled in the love of those dearest to him. Please keep his loved ones in your thoughts as they go through this difficult time.
As a dear member of our Festival family since the beginning years, our hearts are heavy with loss as he is immediately missed and equally full for having known him. If only we all could be so blessed to live and die as he.
Bill had a natural and resounding gift for creating and sharing great experiences. His legacy includes enhancing countless lives with his fun loving, storytelling, guitar playing, singing, bird watching, field trip guiding, teaching, laughing, smiling, big personality with a passionate heart and life-loving spirit.
His legacy cannot be measured as it was freely gifted to all, throughout his life. Absolute and without conditions.
As we consider how to honor and remember him, each in our own way, I think of lifer dances, 100 bird species in a seven hour West Virginia outing, #FlatWilliam, and his bucket list.
You may have heard of "Flat William," a get-well-soon portrait of Bill made by a kindergarten class. Flat William was printed and photographed on various birding trips to brighten Bill's days. If you'd like to continue the adventures of Flat William in celebration of Bill's life, print the image here and take it with you the next time you go birding, then share it with the world as Bill shared his life, with the hashtag #flatwilliam.

Collectively, we can complete Bill's bucket list on his behalf:
* Visit Hawaii.
* Bird in Australia.
* Hit a home run over the fence.
* Drink a beer while shooting hoops with Barack Obama.
* Jam with Wilco. link
* See a Gyrfalcon.
* Record another Rain Crows’ CD. (listen here)
* Hold a big music jam in Whipple, Ohio.
* Swim in the ocean - any ocean, any time.
* Drive north with the spring migration from the Gulf to the boreal bogs.

Read Bill's obituary in the Marietta Times.

Download and print a full size, full resolution Flat William: #flatwilliam

Bill is the editor and co-publisher of Bird Watcher's Digest, the magazine founded by his parents more than 30 years ago, in 1978. He is the author of numerous books about birds and nature, including, most recently Feeding and Identifying Birds and The Young Birder's Guide to Birds of Eastern North America, both part of the Peterson Field Guide Series from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing. Bill has led birding trips all across North America and has spoken or performed at more than 100 birding and nature festivals worldwide. He has watched birds in more than 25 countries and on five continents.

Bill writes a blog called “Bill of the Birds;” he also creates and hosts a podcast called “This Birding Life” which is available as a free download on the Bird Watcher’s Digest website and in the podcasts section of the iTunes store.

In 2008 Bill was awarded a Service Citizen Award from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for his contributions in making the National Wildlife Refuge system more bird and birder-friendly. He was also awarded the Robert Ridgley Award for Excellence in Ornithological Publications from the American Birding Association.

In 2009 he was nominated for a "Heart of Green" award by for his work in fighting Nature Deficit Disorder by helping introduce kids to bird watching.

Born in Pella, Iowa, Bill encountered his spark bird there at the age of 8, when a snowy owl flew into the Thompson family's front yard. His favorite bird is the Red-headed Woodpecker.

To learn more about Bill, go to his blog billofthebirds.blogspot and This Birding Life podcast - podcasts