by Sally Blanchard

If you don't know the name Roger Tory Peterson, he was the best known and most respected American ornithologist and popular Birdman. He was an author, illustrator, and photography of many publications about birds from all over the world. He was also recognized as a highly accomplished bird and wildlife artist. He was the innovator of the bird field guide that made it possible to easily look up birds, with illustrations, range maps, and descriptions. He gave birdwatchers a chance to read about the habitats and behaviors of the birds they loved the most.

In the late 1970s, I exhibited my Rare Hardwood Inlay Bird Sculptures at an Audubon conference at Rocky Mountain National Park. The highlight of the event for me was meeting Roger Tory Peterson and getting to spend some time talking with him at some length about my unique bird sculptures. He spent a great deal of time examining and commenting to me about them. I was delighted that he was so impressed with them.

A few years later, I was bird watching with a friend in southeastern Arizona. We had gotten up quite early in the morning and were coming back from our long walk. We saw a small group of people coming towards us on the path and as they got closer, I realized that Roger Tory Peterson was in the group. He smiled at me in recognition and said to his friends that I did wonderful bird sculptures. It virtually blew me away that he recognized me and my friend who was not really a bird watcher had heard of Roger Tory Peterson ... perhaps because of me and she was also impressed. He asked me if I had seen any new or interesting birds. I had and said, "Yes, I saw a "suffer buried fry crotcher" and turned a strange color of red. With a smile on his face, Mr. Peterson calmly remarked, "I don't believe I've seen one of those." It was actually the first time I had seen a Sulfur-bellied flycatcher. 




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