The Bird kicked off its very first issue with a blistering “obituary” for Ralph McGill, the editor of the morning daily, The Atlanta Constitution. McGill was widely admired as a reasonable, mildly liberal voice in the South. The staffers of The Bird, however, had a very different viewpoint. In his opening article, Don Speicher pointedly asks the question, “What’s it all about Ralphie?” And Tom Coffin puts it this way in his inaugural column: “On one day peace demonstrators may be attacked by such men as Ralph McGill…who next day very rationally determines that the use of nuclear weapons in Vietnam may well become the only ‘reasonable’ and ‘responsible’ course for us to pursue! Insane? Obscene? And American.”
Throughout the Vietnam War years, The Bird unflinchingly criticized US policy and involvement and held up the individuals and organizations who were working to stop the war. One of the services offered by the paper was dissemination of information on planned protests, marches, teach-ins, and other activist opportunities. Its reporting on the movement provided the local community of activists with a sense of community, a sense that they were not alone.