By Mike Lynes, GGAS Executive Director
Amidst the excitement of the Oakland Christmas Bird Count on Sunday, we were saddened to hear news that Rich Stallcup had passed away from leukemia the previous evening.
Rich was one of the leaders of Bay Area birding and ornithology — helping found the Point Reyes Bird Observatory and educating countless fledgling birders and naturalists through the years.
I had the privilege of meeting Rich when I worked at the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, the organization that Rich helped found in the late 1960s and that he contributed to throughout his life. Rich was always generous with his time and knowledge and enjoyed educating a new generation of naturalists and birders. Many of us starting out as biologists at PRBO benefited immensely from his guidance and example.
Oakland count compiler Dave Quady opened the CBC dinner on Sunday night with a tribute to Rich. Dave noted that Rich’s life was dedicated to enjoying birds and sharing that joy with others. Getting outside for bird walks and Christmas Bird Counts — and sharing those experiences with new people — are perhaps the greatest ways we can carry on his legacy. Everyone in the room then stood for a moment of applause and honor to Rich.
GGAS board member John Muir “Jack” Laws posted this personal note about Rich on PRBO’s memorial page:
While I was working on my Sierra field guide, I visited Rich with a pile of illustrations. He patiently went through them with me pointing out the subtlest corrections and suggested changes. As he did his stories began to flow as drawings triggered memories and anecdotes. He shared his knowledge, encouragement, and joy. Rich was deeply committed to conservation. I think that came from his love of nature that was regularly refreshed with time in the field. He fostered that love and stewardship in many of his students. We will miss you dear friend.
We at Golden Gate Audubon are extremely saddened by Rich’s loss, and we extend our condolences to his family and friends.
If you would like to share your memories of Rich, please visit PRBO’s memorial web page at http://data.prbo.org/tools/guestbook/RichStallcup.html .