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Rich Stallcup 1944 - 2012

Fern Davies

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A California birder and conservation advocate died Saturday due to complications with leukemia, according to a release. He was 68.

Rich Stallcup helped establish Point Reyes Bird Observatory nearly 48 years ago, according to the release. Since then, the mission of the group has expanded, though it still maintains the Point Reyes field station. The group later became PRBO Conservation Science, a nonprofit that advocates for the conservation of birds and other wildlife.


Rich Stallcup, who died at 68, was inspired by nature from a young age. Photo courtesy of PRBO Conservation Science.

Stallcup served as president of Western Field Ornithologists and as a member of the California Bird Records Committee. He was also a prolific writer, publishing peer-reviewed scientific articles, seven books on birds and 89 pieces for PRBO's quarterly journal The Observer.

At the same time, he led more than 1,000 of the organization's trips and tours.

"Rich's style of leading [an] outing wasn't just, or even primarily, about bird identification," wrote David Loeb, publisher of Bay Naturemagazine, on his publication's website. "He would get you to look at the whole habitat from a bird's perspective and think about what resources were available and what sort of bird might exploit them and how."

The American Birding Association bestowed Stallcup with the Ludlow Griscom Award in 2002 for outstanding contributions to American ornithology.

"Rich cared about nature since he was a child -- he was essentially born with the passion and his father also took him on bird walks," Melissa Pitkin, PRBO education and outreach director, said over email. She added that Stallcup "had a magical gift that was truly inherent."

PRBO has an online guest book where visitors can share their memories of Stallcup. The group also plans to hold a public tribute to Stallcup at its annual Bird-a-thon dinner Jan. 26.

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