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Bill of the Birds talks about Roger Tory Peterson

What is a B3 Talk without music

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”!

Linda O and B3 Bill Thompson III with one of his first bird books

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.

Common Ringlet Dreamy Duskywing

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.

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14 responses

  1. AmatureNaturalist

    Hey Mon@arch,

    Another wonderful piece. I will definately check back and look into their blogs tomorrow. It will give me something to look forward to at work.

    I am short on time tonight as I have to be up at 5 am for work.

    6 December 2006 at 11:24 pm

  2. Di (dreamscapepictures)

    Sounds like a memorable evening Tom, It sounds like a lively and fun time.

    6 December 2006 at 11:28 pm

  3. Thanks Am Naturalist! They have wonderful birding blog that I check every day!
    Di – it was such a wonderful evening and as you can guess, Bill is such a kind/wonderful person! I didn’t add it into the blog but he did a wonderful comment when he autographed my book.

    6 December 2006 at 11:44 pm

  4. BT3

    Tom:
    Great to reconnect last night at RTPI and thanks for all of your kind words in your post. W. NY has a real vibrant birding community due in a large part ot dedicated folks like you, Linda, and the RTPI staff.
    Hope to see you again soon–BT3

    7 December 2006 at 7:00 am

  5. Thanks Bill! It was wonderful you were able to spend some time with everyone last night!! (hope the snow we got doesn’t keep you from returning to RTPI)!! Your a wonderful person and honored to have you comment in my blog!

    7 December 2006 at 7:38 am

  6. Marg

    Sounds like another great evening there Tom-you are making me jealous! 😀

    Had quite the adventure yesterday, I now have extracted an Eastern Rosella from the net-bet you haven’t done that-LOL!

    7 December 2006 at 8:11 am

  7. I saw your blog last night Marg and no doubt your one up on me!! I bet those Rosella’s have one heck of a bite! I should have posted it but Kenn Kaufman is being scheduled to talk in the spring!

    7 December 2006 at 8:51 am

  8. I visit often and love your website.
    Merry Christmas to you and all the boids!
    Becca

    7 December 2006 at 9:55 am

  9. Dear Tom,

    Thank you so much for the pictures from the most recent known sighting of BT3. Watching the snow come down and worrying him home. Thank goodness for cell phones.
    You’re sweet to tout our blog to your readers. Marg, I have painted Adelaide rosellas for a commission for a transplanted Aussie. They can’t be much fun to get in the net, ouch!
    Keep up the fine work, Tom!
    Julie

    7 December 2006 at 10:10 am

  10. Ric McArthur

    Wish I could have made the trip, but that just wasn’t practical.
    Your post gives me an idea of what missed.

    Rondeau Ric

    7 December 2006 at 11:01 am

  11. Becca – thanks for visiting and I just love your photostream! Merry Christmas to you also!
    Julie – thanks for visiting and thanks for sharing B3 with everyone at the institute last night! Wish could have joined him; we would have loved to also hear you sing! I am sure that Bill will be taking him time with the snow coming down! Next visit; be sure to get him down in the summer months so we can work in some birding on the trip!
    Ric – understand and maybe another time you can make it down! RTPI gets great speakers all the time and if anything, you should join the institute to keep updated on what is going on!

    7 December 2006 at 3:16 pm

  12. Great write-up! I wish I lived closer to the RTPI! Do they ever show footage from “Wild America” there?

    7 December 2006 at 4:43 pm

  13. AmatureNaturalist

    Mon@rch,

    Finally had the chance to check out the Blogs in your story. They are great! I added Bill of the Birds to my blogroll. There is SO much great information in everyone’s blogs. I am loving it, I am getting to the point where I spend more time reading than posting on my own site…lol…just hard to stay informed. But very fun trying;)

    7 December 2006 at 8:01 pm

  14. Thanks Patrick! I have never seen any of the Wild America footage but I do know that all his notes, equipment, ect.. is being archived there.
    Thanks Am Naturalist! There are so many sites out there and that is what is so great about blogs!

    7 December 2006 at 10:22 pm

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