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DVOC Main Page > Our Members > Al Kronschnable

Al Kronschnable

Fellow of the DVOC
Life Member

Al Kronschnable

This comment, and the "20 Questions" below, originally appeared in Larus

"Next year (2006) Al will become a 50-year member of the Club. He has been a regular on our annual Long Island/Montauk weekend trip for the last dozen years, and this past December traveled to Antarctica. Al was DVOC's Field Trip Leader--and a member of Council--back in the '60s. For many years Al was de facto leader of a gaggle of members known as "the Mayfair Mafia"; they would all eat at Al's place and then come to club meetings. Al learned his cooking in the Army, and remains the best food/drink logistics man in the club. His jokes are legendary, insulting, but (as jokes go) pretty clean" – Chris Walters



What got you started birding?
In 1945 when I became an eagle scout I needed the bird study merit badge. After I joined the DVOC I found out many of our members were eagle scouts and because of their bird study badge, I got interested in birding

How and when did you join DVOC?
I first attended the DVOC in November of 1955 and became a member in March 1956 when Bob Sehl sponsored me. I had meet Bob Sehl in 1948 when I was at Camp Hart on Treasure Island and he was the councilor for the Bird Study Merit Badge.

Did any older birder influence you?
Ed Weyl (President 1947-49). He started me birding at Treasure Island. He showed me Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Louisiana Waterthrush, Cerulean Warbler among other birds.

What has the DVOC meant to you?
Most of my life my friends came from either scouting or the DVOC.

What is your ABA life list?
Between lumping and splitting around 715. I never considered myself a good birder; I just traveled with people who were.

What new ‘life bird’ discoveries impressed you the most?
The bird I worked hardest for was the Connecticut Warbler. Phil Street found it for me in the Dry Tortugas but it took me over 3 hours to locate it in a buttonwood tree.

Where outside the USA have you birded and what is your world life list?
All of South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Canada, Iceland and some of Europe. I do not keep a life list. I do not even keep trip lists. I just like to look at birds.

Who are and were your most frequent birding companions?
Bob Sehl, Harold Jackson, Ron Logon, John LaVia, Dick Bell, Bill Tucker, Frank Windfelder and Alan Brady. The first for are no longer with us.

What trip sticks out the most for you and why?
Tikal. Not only were the birds beautiful, but the building of the temples was amazing. Also we made the trip in “Rocky’s” airplane. Armand “Rocky” LeRoche was not a member but an acquaintance who had access to a DC-3.(editor’s note: this 30 year old DC-3 airplane was owned by the Revyuk Foundation and was available only to non-profit scientific groups, such as.…DVOC)

Tell us about any field trips you did on “Rocky’s” airplane?
Our first trip was to Churchill. On this trip while flying over Manitoba we saw the most beautiful Aurora Borealis. Our second trip was to St. Louis, Texas and Big Bend. The third trip was to Belize and the last to was Alaska. All trip’s in Rock’s airplane were memorable. I cannot confirm this, but I understood that Rock’s airplane was given to the Smithsonian Institute.

Is there any place in particular that you have not been to that you would like to visit?
Not really. I’m not as spry as I used to be and it’s getting difficult to get around.

To support your birding addiction what sort of jobs / work have you done?
I built well over 200 birdhouses. I have a small workshop and on trash day while I’m driving around, if I see any lumber thrown out I pick it up. This keeps the cost down.

What positions have you held at DVOC and when?
Field Trip Chairman around 1960-1965 and on Council around 1966-1970

What advise would you give a new birder?
Get a good pair of binoculars and if you decide to stay birding, get a good scope.

What have been your most enjoyable birding destinations and why?
Any trip in Rocky’s airplane. It was nice to have your own transportation and be able to go wherever you want.

You are a master of storyteller. You have had your share of funny birding stories. What’s your favorite story that you can share with us? Keep it clean!
To tell a story it has to fit in with the occasion and sometimes it’s very difficult especially with Windfelder interrupting you 2 or 3 times before you can get to the punch line.

What if any other bird related organizations have you been a part of?
The Bucks County Audubon Society and the Pennypack Bird Club

What kind of bird records do you keep?
None. (that was easy)

Favorite Delaware Valley bird (feathered kind)?
I really do not have a favorite bird. Like I said earlier I just enjoy all birds.

Favorite Delaware Valley birding location?
Tullytown and Warner Lakes. This is where I first started birding and got so many birds, like Red Phalarope and Red-necked Grebe on the lakes, great gulls on the landfill and Saw-whet, Long-eared and Short-eared Owls in and around the woods .

What other interest do you have?
None. At present I am really retired.

What optics do you own and use?
I have a Zeiss 8x56 glass (good night vision) and Bausch & Lomb scope.

Which other DVOC’ers stand out in your memory?
So many over the years, but to say – Bob Sehl, Ernest Choate, Phil Street and Alan Brady

What has been the biggest change in bird life since you joined the DVOC?
When I started birding in the 1950’s you had to go to the Pocomoke to see Mockingbirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Grosbeaks, Boat-tailed Grackles and Chuck-wills-widows. Today they can be found in the Delaware Valley and Cape May.

Are there any changes you would like to see DVOC institute?
No. I think all programs in the DVOC are excellent and well organized.

What advice would you give present and future DVOC officers?
Keep up the good work

Which DVOC field trips have you enjoyed the most and why?
Pocomoke in the spring and New England in the winter, because no matter how bad the weather, the birding was always good.


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