Bill of the Birds talks about Roger Tory Peterson
On Wednesday Bill Thompson III spent the evening talking to many guest and members of the Roger Tory Peterson Institute (RTPI) in Jamestown, New York. B3 is the third author who has been invited to speak at the Distinguished Speaker Series at RTPI which was funded through the Johnson Foundation. He is best known as the editor and author of the magazine Bird Watchers Digest which was started by his father in the late 1970’s. He visited the institute to discuss his newest book called “All Things Reconsidered” which is a collection of essays written by the late Roger Tory Peterson.
During the “meet the author” reception; Bill told us some wonderful fun stories about himself as a kid becoming a birder. I will not get into too many details on how he had skipped school, ect… but I must admit that he had some wonderful roll models. I did love how his Grandmother insisted that when he was a little baby that his first words were “junco”!
During the lecture, Bill told us about how Roger Tory Peterson had been involved with the Bird Watchers Digest magazine since its very beginning. We learned about how his father confronted Roger in the mid 1980’s about doing an article for the magazine. Roger had thought about for a few minutes and ended up agreeing to do a column for the magazine (which continued up until his death in 1996). Bill went into wonderful discussion on how he was able to put this book together in honor of Roger Tory Petersons death 10 years ago. I strongly suggest you read this book to hear the whole story!!
I first had the opportunity to meet Bill Thompson III, from the American Online Birding chat room which I assisted in hosting from 1996 to 2001. Bill was one of the original people who assisted in getting this chat room established through AOL. Throughout the years, I had the opportunity to hear him and his wife speak at the Federation of New York State Birdclubs annual meeting (now called New York State Ornithological Association). My most memorable meeting of B3 and his family was at the Allegany Nature Pilgrimage here in Allegany State Park, New York – June of 2002.
I can’t remember if it was Bill or Julie (I think it was Julie because I remember the pet frog and bird story) but one of them was the main speaker under the big tent at Camp Allegany. What I do remember is Bill pulling out his guitar and the two started singing together. The most memorable part was that my 8 year old field assistant and I were invited to join their family out to France Brook road to do some birding. The kids (about the same age) had a great time identifying the numerous birds that we encountered and then found some cool insects together. This was a time period when I was really starting to learn my butterflies and Julie had pointed a few species out that I hadn’t learned yet. This will be a day that I will remember forever.
Even if you were unable to make it to the Roger Tory Peterson Institute to hear his talk, you can still learn from him at his Birding Blog at Bill of the Birds. His wife is also an remarkable blogger at Julie Zickefoose’s blog. I would like to thank Linda O. for first introducing me to their blog after the Scott Weidensaul’s talk. I knew that I had to add them to my RSS feeds ASAP and I know that you will equally enjoy their blog sites.