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
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”
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
What have been your most enjoyable birding destinations
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
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
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
No. I think all programs in the DVOC are excellent and well organized.
What advice would you give present and future
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.