Positions and Achievements
President: 1995, 1994
Fellow of the DVOC
I began birding as a Boy Scout, working for ‘Birding’ merit badge in 1944, when my Scoutmaster was the only other birder any where in the area. In the spring we would bird early most mornings for a couple of hours until he had to be at work and I had to go to school. We could bird right around my home town, Sellersville, PA by walking to a dozen ‘birdy’ locations, most of which are now lost to development. After high school I lost eight years of birding when I went away to school, took up golf, got married and started a family and a career in law. I never knew any other birders until I met Joe Pearson, the patron saint of Upper Bucks County birding and the first field trip leader for Bucks County Audubon, who had just moved into Sellersville. I then got re-involved.
My birding really took off, both figuratively and literally, when I started going on long distance trips to such exotic places as Cape May, Newburyport, and ultimately to Churchill, Manitoba, with Rick Mellon Nature Tours, before he was married and settled down. I learned much, and saw some birds too.
For about twenty years, from the early 70’s until 1992, I organized and led many birding trips for Bucks County Audubon, (and occasionally for DVOC and DOS), including day trips, week-end trips and every year at least one week long trip to some hot birding location in North America. The cumulative total of species, encountered by several regular participants on those trips, exceeded 650 ABA area species. My favorite birding buddy in those years, particularly on pelagic trips, was my brother, Bob Rufe.
More recently, since 1990, my constant birding companion has been my wife, Jewel, and we have done some international birding; much Florida birding from our winter retirement condo in Fort Pierce where we lead one or two trips a year for St. Lucie County Audubon Society; some revisiting favorite spots on trips west to visit our daughter in California; and the occasional chase for new life birds such as the Crimson-collared and Yellow Grosbeaks, Yellow-faced Grassquit and Western Reef Heron. In 2005, after serving as compiler for the Upper Bucks PA Christmas Bird Count for thirty years, I turned that role over to Bill Etter and the next generation, but continue to participate in the count. Bucks County Audubon, DVOC, St. Lucie County Audubon, and now the new Bucks County Birders are all wonderful organizations for new birders to get started and learn all about our great sport. I’ve often wondered where my life might have gone if I had such an organization available to me when I started out in 1944.
Bob Billings Award