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A few of the many writings about Rich by friends, students, colleagues


Photo courtesy Stephanie de Moe.
While I was quartered at Petaluma I had the opportunity to see beyond the natural historian side of Rich to appreciate his deep understanding of ornithological and ecological science, and his unique combination of respect and disdain for current modes of scientific thinking—respect for the objectivity and open-mindedness, and disdain for the too-frequent coldness that submerges the emotional side of our relationship with nature. His was a unique perspective.—John Wiens, PhD, PRBO Chief Scientist.
Photo courtesy Jules Evens.

With Rich, birding was a nearly mystical experience. He had the soul of a poet, the mind of a scientist, and the spirituality of a shaman. This is not a combination of talents often found in a birder. Rich’s influence went well beyond just identifying birds. He became a part of the flow of life itself, part of the essence of what animates the natural world, and he understood that world from that very unique perspective. He could crawl around inside the mind of a bird and see it as a shaman would see it. Placed in that context, the ability to identify birds isn’t really very important; it is rather clinical. Rich could lead you to a higher purpose through birding—an understanding of your spirit.—Jon Winter, ornithologist and colleague. Adapted from a 1993 field journal entry.
Photo courtesy Webb Johnson.

Rich worked with the Gulf of the Farallones Beach Watch project, a citizen science coastal monitoring program, for 20 years. He became a friend, teacher, and mentor to more than 300 trained volunteers. Far beyond teaching the names of species, he encouraged people to see the extraordinary in the “ordinary.” Instead of leaving us with just a list of species, he aimed to have people take those species into our hearts. A walk with Rich broadened anyone’s understanding of our local birds and ecosystems, but he was uniquely able to open hearts and minds, as well—effecting positive change in the world.—Kirsten Lindquist, Ecosystem Monitoring Manager, Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Association.
Photo courtesy Scot Hein.

To say that Rich Stallcup had a massive influence on birding and natural history in the great state of California would be a huge understatement. Everyone knew him, everyone had learned from him. But his influence spread far, far beyond the boundaries of California. For me Rich’s knowledge, which was extraordinary, was overshadowed by his wisdom. He truly was wise in his approach to birds, nature, and people. Endlessly reveling in the joy of nature, endlessly patient and generous with beginners, he inspired everyone to greater awareness and kindness. Thousands of people now are undoubtedly sharing stories and smiling at memories of a man who lived so passionately and gave so much.—Kenn Kaufman, naturalist, field guide author, and artist.
Drawing by Keith Hansen.

Rich Stallcup—trail blazer, companion, brother of the field, and defender of the ignored, be it crake, snake, or the creatures unseen—Keith Hansen, birder and artist.