PRBO Observer Tribute to Rich Stallcup

| March 15, 2013 | 0 Comments

During the years of 2005 and 2006 when I was living in California and working for PRBO Conservation Science (formally the Point Reyes Bird Observatory), I had the great privilege of getting to know and birding alongside Rich Stallcup, perhaps one of the greatest birders the State of California ever had. Rich was actually one of the co-founders of the bird observatory and helped shape it into what it is today. Unfortunately, Rich passed away during the end of 2012, and while my outings in the field with Rich were few during my two years out west, his impression lasts with me to this day as they certainly do for countless others.

In fact, it was the pelagic trip that Rich lead out of Bodega Bay, CA that produced my life Parkinson’s Petrel with the individual  bird we saw becoming the official North American 1st Record! He was just that kind of magical birder that produced those kinds of birds. This is something he had done countless times- a birder on a different level. But beyond those amazing moments afield which solidified him in the world of birding was something else, something even I can’t describe with just a few years of knowing him. I hope that the tribute linked below from PRBO Conservation Science can do what I can not, and can help inspire countless others that Rich has yes to touch.

Kenn Kaufman once described Rich as the Pirate of Point Pinos. Whever he is, we wish him calm seas with lots of birds.

PRBO Observer LINK.

Here are two photos taken during my time in CA showing Rich doing what he loved most- observing each and every bird because it was the first time he ever saw THAT bird, and educating new birders (always with a smile!).

Rich 2

Rich 1

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Chad Witko has been an avid birder and all-around naturalist since the age of 3. Graduating from SUNY-ESF in Syracuse, NY with his B.S. in Environmental and Forest Biology (2003), Chad has worked on avian conservation projects across the United States. Ranging from New England (Atlantic Puffin research in Maine and grassland bird work in Massachusetts) to the Mid-Atlantic (Semipalmated Sandpiper research on the Delaware Bay) to California (riparian and coastal scrub passerines), Chad has worked extensively throughout North America and across avian taxa. Chad is currently pursuing his M.S. degree as a graduate student at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. Current research interests include the distribution of bird species across New Hampshire and North America. Residing in Wilton, NH with his wife, Lauryn, Chad continues to bring a holistic approach to birding while pursuing his interests of wildlife photography, nature tour guiding (eventually), and Chat Happens. For more information on Chad, please view his Bio page!

Category: Essays

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