Dear Muffy,A signed Roger Tory Peterson print? How I envy you that treasure. But to have known Peterson himself, and to have gone birding with him? An inestimable privilege. It's like Browning's poem "Memorabilia"--"Ah, did you once see Shelley plain?/And did he stop and speak to you?" I was out birding today and saw a sandpiper I couldn't quite identify, even with the Sibley guide I had with me. Once back at home, my old Peterson's guide--the first guide I ever bought, nearly thirty years ago--told me what I needed to know. Happy Birthday to THE father of birdwatching in America.Thanks for keeping his memory alive. P.S. With your passion for birding, you too must have loved Dick Davenport,the endearing gentleman ornithologist from the old "Doonesbury" strips. Any man who wears a straw boater to go birding must be a patron saint of The Daily Prep.
What wonderful photographs! I have several birding guides, but the one I always return to is my old Peterson, a gift from my grandfather when I was a child.
I met Mr. Peterson years ago, on the CT river marshland that is named for him now. I was scouting sites for duck blinds. He was very friendly and interested in what I was doing. I took him for another hunter - had no idea who he was until years later when someone in the A&P pointed him out to me.
We met Mr. Peterson in SE Texas about 30 years ago. He was in the area to do a Big Day, to see as many birds as possible in one day. He autographed our copy of his Texas bird guide, which combines in one volume the appropriate species from both his Eastern birds and Western birds guides. Unfortunately it's gotten quite raggedy, from use.
I was fortunate to have gone birding with Dr. Petersonin Texas, twice. I had a signed first editon of his 1934 book which I brought along, he signed it a second time in red, and added first edition, first printing. It is one ofmy real prizes in my birding collection. He was a kind, gentleman of the old school, and loved to astonish people with his audio birding abilities. I will never forgetthose trips, one in Rockport, one in the Valley.
Wow - what a nice surprise! It's unfortunate I didn't see this until now, but better late than never.Muffy, if I had known you had such fantastic photos of RTP (and his wife Barbara), I might have contacted you several years ago when I was getting my RTP bio ready for publication. I did end up with some very nice photos for the picture section, but the ones you've posted are unusually intimate.I hope you won't mind if I post a URL to my web site, devoted to my book, Birdwatcher: The Life of Roger Tory Peterson: http://www.petersonbird.com
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